According to a landmark report, with serious consequences for almost 2 billion people, At least a third of the huge ice fields in Asia’s towering mountain chain are doomed to melt due to climate change.
At least 36% of the ice fields will disappear by 2100 even if carbon emissions are reduced dramatically and governments across the world succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement, the report said.
The mountain ranges and the Himalayans are a critical source of water for the 250 million people who live in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya, or HKH, region. It runs from Afghanistan to Myanmar and is the planet’s “third pole”, harbouring more ice than anywhere outside the Arctic and Antarctica.
A few glaciers in Afghanistan and Pakistan are stable and a few are even gaining ice, most probably due to the cloud cover that shields the sun and changed winds that bring more snow.
But Wester warned that even these ice fields would start melting with as the planet warms even more.
It involved more than 350 researchers and policy experts, 185 organisations, 210 authors, 20 review editors and 125 external reviewers.