Research warns Himalayan glaciers melting at 'exceptional rate'
New research has warned over the accelerating melting of the Himalayan glaciers, which can have a massive impact on the lives of people in Asia. Amid climate change and related crises, this study highlights an alarming trend as it revealed that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking far more rapidly than glaciers in other parts of the world. The researchers described the shrinking as "exceptional."
The research, which was published in Scientific Reports, stated that over recent decades the Himalayan glaciers have lost ice "ten times more quickly" as compared to average since the last major glacier expansion 400-700 years ago, a period known as the 'Little Ice Age'.
The researchers calculated that the glaciers have lost around 40 per cent of their area and the release of water resulting from the melting of glaciers will increase the sea level.
Dr Jonathan Carrivick, who is the corresponding author and Deputy Head of the University of Leeds School of Geography, said, "Our findings clearly show that ice is now being lost from Himalayan glaciers at a rate that is at least ten times higher than the average rate over past centuries."
He added, "This acceleration in the rate of loss has only emerged within the last few decades, and coincides with human-induced climate change."
For those who don't know, the Himalayan mountain range is home to the world's third-largest amount of glacier ice, after Antarctica and the Arctic. Some even call it 'the Third Pole'.
However, the melting of glaciers has a significant impact on hundreds of millions of people who depend on Asia's major river systems for food and energy. These rivers include the Brahmaputra, Ganges and Indus.
Carrivick said: "While we must act urgently to reduce and mitigate the impact of human-made climate change on the glaciers and meltwater-fed rivers, the modelling of that impact on glaciers must also take account of the role of factors such as lakes and debris."