.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Global Warming: Himalayan Glaciers may disappear

Tim Johnson had this must-read piece at McClatchy last week:

KAROLA PASS, Tibet - The glaciers of the Himalayas store more ice than anywhere on Earth except for the polar regions and Alaska, and the steady flow of water from their melting icepacks fills seven of the mightiest rivers of Asia. Now, due to global warming and related changes in the monsoons and trade winds, the glaciers are retreating at a startling rate, and scientists say the ancient icepacks could nearly disappear within one or two generations.

Glacial runoff in the Himalayas is the largest source of freshwater for northern India, and provides more than half the water to its most important river, the Ganges. Glacial runoff also is the source of the headwaters for the Indus River in Pakistan, the Brahmaputra that flows through Bangladesh, the Mekong that descends through Southeast Asia, the Irrawaddy in Burma, and the Yellow and Yangtze rivers of China.

Scientists say 1.3 billion people reside in areas affected by glacial retreat, either in flood-prone areas or in locales that rely on year-round supplies of fresh water from glaciers rather than from the monsoon rainfall of only three or four months.

Don't miss the excellent accompanying slideshow by Bernardo de Niz or this article with time-lapse graphics by the European Space Agency.

Tags:

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home