A lake bursts its way through the Ghat (bank), destroying it. I know, it’s nothing unusual a story about the river and bank interactions. But, it did hit the headlines and the environmentalists’ concerns. It all happened high in the Himalayas. Such a story was rare there, when bank was destroyed in 1985. But, things are no more the same. There has been a tenfold jump in such catastrophes in the past two decades as a result of global warming, scientists reveal this last week. Himalayan glacier lakes are filling up with more and more melted ice and 24 of them are now poised to burst their banks in Bhutan, with a similar number at risk in Nepal. To add to the concerns, a report in Nature last week said that it is just the beginning.
Future disasters around the Himalayas will include ‘floods, droughts, land erosion, biodiversity loss and changes in rainfall and the monsoon’. Nepal’s Khumbu glacier is continuously witnessing the dramatic change in the roof of the world. Since their ascent, it has retreated three miles! Almost 95 per cent of Himalayan glaciers are also shrinking. This kind of ice loss has profound implications, not just for Nepal and Bhutan, but for surrounding nations, including China, India and Pakistan. Eventually, the Himalayan glaciers will shrink so much that their melt-waters will dry up, say scientists. And catastrophes like Ghat will die out.
Via: The Guardian