Global Warming Melting Himalayan Glaciers

May 19th, 2014 | By | Category: Climatic Changes in Himalayas, Glaciers

This is going to be immensely damning report about the impacts of the climate change in this part of the world. Global warming is melting Himalayan glaciers faster than anyone thought.

A latest study says that global warming is killing Himalayan glaciers. The report says that in Nepal it has destroyed as much as one fourth of the glaciers in the last thirty years alone between 1980 and 2010.

But this is a bit puzzling as so far nobody actually studied the area that was under glacier in the past and what is under glaciers now and comparing them.

Though there have been innumerable reports about the destruction to the glaciers not just in this part of the world, but elsewhere too, nonetheless it is amazing that how the researchers were able to quantify the magnitude of the loss to the glaciers in Himalayas on the Nepalese side.

Last year a report in Time magazine had also come with a damning report on the impact of global warning on Himalayan glaciers in Nepal. “The potential of a Himalayan tsunami is a hazard of global warming that has yet to be given much attention by outsiders…that there were some 20,000 glacial lakes in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, extending from Afghanistan to Burma. In some parts of the Himalayas, like the Dudh Koshi area in eastern Nepal, the melt rate is alarmingly high…Almost all the glaciers [in Dudh Koshi] are retreating at rates of 10 to 59 m annually…but the rate for some has accelerated during the last half-decade to 74 m annually”.

The latest report is far more alarming in nature than the Time magazine report last year. The report comes out with a very frightening conclusion that if the global warming is not taken care of immediately by the nations across the world, glaciers will melt sooner than later.  The study says that as much as almost 1,266 kilometer area that was earlier under glacier has melted. It says that this is about Nepal only and the area lost inside India is not included in this damning report.

The report shows the unprecedented destruction to the glaciers by global warming. If this report is to be believed, this means in the last thirty years alone from 1980 to 2010 the area under Himalayan glaciers has been reduced from 5,168 km to just 3902 km. The study was released following the conclusion of Conference on the Cryosphere of the Hindu Kush Himalaya: State of Knowledge. There are reasons to be apprehensive about the conclusion of this report and I am sure many experts are going to ask questions about its authenticity. But Samjwal Bajracharya, one of the authors of the report says that only Nepal cannot be held responsible for depleting Himalayan glaciers.



Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>

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