MOUNTAIN glaciers in Asia are melting at a rate that could eventually threaten water supplies, irrigation or hydropower for 20 percent to 25 percent of the world’s population: that is according to the latest United Nations Environment Program report.
Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute puts it this way, “The melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau will deprive the Indus, Ganges, Yangtze and Yellow rivers of the ice melt that sustains their flow during the dry season and the irrigation systems that depend on them.”
But according to Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, it’s a case of cognitive dissonance. He explains:
“In other words the supply of melt water from the melting glaciers is threatened by the melting of the glaciers. This is correct in that if the glaciers melt completely there will be no more melt water from the glaciers.
“What if the glaciers were not melting due to a colder climate? Then where would the irrigation water come from? How about if the glaciers were advancing 100 meters per year toward the villages that need the melt water for irrigation?
“How does the logic of this situation escape these bright minds?
“It snows every winter in the Himalayas. When the snow melts it fills the rivers. Where there is net melting of the glaciers this adds additional water to the rivers.
“But they can’t have it both ways. If they want to have continued melt water from the glaciers then the glaciers must continue to melt.
“Seeing that the glaciers are finite in size this would eventually result in no glacier, and reliance on annual snow melt.”
Notes and Links
Read more from Patrick Moore, Greenspirit Strategies Ltd., at www.greenspirit.com
The UNEP report is ‘2009 Climate Change Science Compendium 2009’ which can be downloaded at http://en.cop15.dk/files/pdf/compendium2009.pdf [4MB] .
The report is summarized in the newsletter at http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2193
Read Lester Brown at http://www.earth-policy.org/index.php?/plan_b_updates/2009/update82
The image of Bhutan glaciers melting is from http://pnb.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Glacial_lakes,_Bhutan.jpg . Thanks Wikipedia.
And more on glacial lakes here: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/en/imgdata/topics/2008/tp080402.html
And so much more on melting glaciers at google:
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Himalayan glaciers ‘melting fast’
14 Mar 2005 … Melting Himalayan glaciers could lead to catastrophic water shortages, a conservation group warns.
Himalayan Glacier – Glaciers of Himalayas – Himalayas Famous Glaciers
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Himalayan Glaciers Seem to Be Growing: Discovery News
5 May 2009 … In the Western Himalayas, a group of some 230 glaciers are bucking the global warming trend. They’re growing.