Washington: Melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled since the start of the 21st century due to rising temperatures, losing over a vertical foot and half of ice each year and potentially threatening water supply for hundreds of millions of people in countries including India, a study has found.
The analysis, spanning 40 years of satellite observations across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, is the latest and perhaps most convincing indication that climate change is eating the Himalayas’ glaciers, researchers said.
It indicates that glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000 — double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000. “This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting over this time interval, and why,” said Joshua Maurer, a PhD candidate at Columbia University in the US.
While not specifically calculated in the study, the glaciers may have lost as much as a quarter of their enormous mass over the last four decades, said Maurer, lead author of the study published in the journal Science Advances. Currently harbouring some 600 billion tonnes of ice, the Himalayas are sometimes called the earth’s “Third Pole.”