Scientists have found that the massive glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at an unprecedented rate, with 10% of them gone since 1982. This will cause a rise in sea levels and could threaten millions of people who live near rivers that feed into these glaciers.
The “himalayan glaciers are melting at a furious rate” is a new study that has been released. The study shows that the Himalayan glaciers are melting at a faster rate than they have ever before.
Glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at an unprecedented pace, according to new study, with the enormous ice sheets shrinking 10 times faster in the last 40 years than they did in the preceding seven millennia.
According to the researchers, avalanches, floods, and other repercussions of accelerated ice loss endanger populations in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and threaten to disrupt agriculture for hundreds of millions of people throughout South Asia. Glacial ice loss in the Himalayas also adds to the danger of flooding and associated difficulties experienced by coastal populations across the globe, since water from melting glaciers contributes to sea-level rise.
“This portion of the planet is changing quicker than probably anybody thought,” said Jonathan Carrivick, a glaciologist at the University of Leeds and co-author of an article documenting the findings that was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Monday. “It’s not simply that the Himalayas are changing quickly; they’re changing quicker and faster.”
Large glaciers in New Zealand, Greenland, Patagonia, and other regions of the globe have been losing ice for decades. The latest research discovered that ice melting in the Himalayas is particularly fast. The researchers were unable to specify a cause, but highlighted that regional climatic variables such as changes in the South Asian monsoon may be involved.
The new discovery comes as scientists agree that ice loss from glaciers and polar ice sheets is driven by increasing global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use.
The Khumbu Glacier in the Himalayas may be seen in the distance, where ice loss is particularly fast, according to a recent research.
Duncan Quincey/University of Leeds photo
Human activity has been highlighted as a source of increasing global temperatures in several peer-reviewed scientific research. “Human impact is quite likely the dominant cause of the worldwide retreat of glaciers during the 1990s,” according to a study released in August by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Dr. Carrivick and his colleagues studied satellite photographs of over 15,000 glaciers in the area for evidence of the enormous ridges of rock and debris that glaciers leave behind as they grind their way down valleys for the new research. The scientists calculated the range of ice sheet coverage in prior millennia using the locations of these old glacial trails.
They then compared it to the current ice cover to calculate how much ice had been lost since the Little Ice Age, which occurred between 400 and 700 years ago. Between 390 and 586 cubic kilometers of ice are estimated to be there, enough to increase world sea levels by 0.92 to 1.38 millimeters, or one-twentieth of an inch.
Summer Rupper, a geography professor at the University of Utah, described the new research’s centuries-long record of Himalayan ice loss as “extremely essential.” According to her, the data will enable scientists in developing more precise predictions of glacier change and sea level rise in the following decades. “The sheer number of glaciers that they conducted this with,” she continued, distinguishes the current research from past studies.
Rising sea levels may cause soil erosion and imperil the structural integrity of roads and bridges, as well as power plants and other vital industrial infrastructure in coastal regions, in addition to flooding. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, about 40% of the population in the United States lives in coastal regions that are anticipated to be impacted by these changes in the future years.
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“There are many different components to sea level rise,” Dr. Rupper added, “but mountain glaciers have been the most major contributors historically and likely in the future decades.”
The Himalayan area might be particularly hard hit by ice loss.
Major rivers in the area are fed by meltwater from the region’s glaciers, which sustain India’s large northern agricultural belt. According to the experts, as the glaciers continue to retreat, the amount of water available for cultivation and drinking might drastically decrease. Avalanches may become more frequent when ice melts, making slopes more unstable.
“Our results imply that if mass loss is increasing, it only emphasizes the need of being able to reduce this on the ground,” Dr. Carrivick added.
According to a research published in January in the journal The Cryosphere, the Earth lost enough ice between 1994 and 2017 to cover the state of Michigan with a layer 100 meters thick.
According to several recent research, mountain glaciers are likely to melt altogether in certain locations by 2100.
Is climate change to blame for some storms, fires, and droughts? Climate specialists are now better equipped to supply answers because to a relatively young subject known as attribution science. Daniela Hernandez of the Wall Street Journal explains. Adele Morgan’s illustration
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Nidhi Subbaraman can be reached at [email protected]
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