Melting of the Himalayan Glaciers has doubled since 2000, spy satellite images reveal. The accelerated rate will have a devastating effect on almost 1 billion human lives
A compilation of declassified US spy satellite images from the 1970s and contemporary data was used by scientists to showcase a four-decade-long record of ice loss in the Himalayan Glaciers.
Close to 8 billion tonnes of ice has been lost across a 2000km mountain chain in the Himalayan region, indicating grave devastation in the years to come.
Glaciers situated at lesser altitudes have been witnessing an annual shrinkage of 5 meters. The study confirms man-caused global warming as the primary cause of paced up melting.
Close to 1 billion people depend on the Himalayan glaciers for their everyday water supply. The Himalayan rivers cater to a majority share of water needs in India, Pakistan, and China.
Columbia University researcher Joshua Maurer, who led the study, asserted, “This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting since 1975, and why.”
The research used recent satellite images coupled with those from the 1970s to study changes across 650 Himalayan glaciers.
Findings indicate; glacier surfaces sank 8.6 inches/year, on average, between 1975 and 2000. This went up to 16.9 inches/year, on average, between 2000 and 2016.
Head of an earlier study, Philippus Wester from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development said, “It’s the climate crisis you haven’t heard of.”
Reaffirming the new study, Wester said, “Increasingly uncertain and irregular water supplies will impact the 1 billion people living downstream from the Himalaya Mountains in South Asia.”