One-third of Asia’s glacier is expected to melt down by the end of this century, on the condition that the goal of keeping earth’s warming at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius is met. Otherwise, as huge as two-thirds of the glacier is anticipated to melt. These are based on a study conducted by scientists from Netherlands and recently published in the journal Nature.
The Asian glacier feeds many large rivers that are essential to daily lives of millions of inhabitants. “In regions where glacier melt water is an important part of the river flow, the retreating glaciers can become a problem.
There are many people living in basins that have their rivers originating in Asia’s high mountains, such as the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra. In these basins, the river water is used for irrigation of cropland, drinking water and for hydropower dams,” explains Philip Kraaijenbrink, a geographer from the University of Utrecht and leader of the research team.
The researchers compared over a hundred of climate simulations and observed that Asia’s mountain glaciers would experience a greater earth warming than the global average. In the study, they claim that even if the current temperatures are maintained, glacier melting would still continue in the coming decades until a new equilibrium is reached. Nevertheless, maintaining the earth’s warming at the targeted 1.5 degrees Celsius will enable saving a large portion of the glacier.