SOURCE: Nepali Times

DATE: February 4, 2019

SNIP: While the global media’s attention is on the Greenland ice sheet, the Arctic and eastern Antarctica, a landmark report released this week shows that the Himalaya will face catastrophic meltdown during this century if there is no immediate effort to reduce the world’s carbon emissions.

[E]ven in the best-case scenario, the Himalayan mountains will lose more than one-third of their ice by the end of the century.

But that would happen only if global average temperatures can be capped at a 1.5oC increase above pre-industrial levels. Most scientists agree that target is unlikely to be met. If current emission trends continue, the world will actually be hotter by between 4.2-6.5oC by 2100 – in which case two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers will be gone.

Himalayan peaks are warming between 0.3 to 0.7oC faster than the global average, and the loss of Himalayan ice would have devastating consequences for 1.6 billion people living in the mountains and downstream countries. Climate models show that summer flow in the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and their snow-fed tributaries will actually rise till 2050 as the glaciers melt away, but will start decreasing after that because there will be no more ice left.