Mains Paper 1: Geography | Changes in critical geographical features including water-bodies & ice-caps
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Hindukush Range
Mains level: Impact of global warming on Himalayas
- Two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers, the world’s “Third Pole”, could melt by 2100 if global emissions are not reduced, scientists warned in a major new study.
Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment
- The ‘Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment’ is released by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
- It provides insights into changes affecting one of the greatest mountain systems in the world.
- At least a third of the ice in the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush will melt down this century as temperatures rise, disrupting river flows vital for growing crops from China to India.
- And even if the “most ambitious” Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5° C is achieved, one-third of the glaciers would go, says the report.
Findings of the report
- Even if efforts are made to limit global warming to 1.5̊C by the end of the Century, the Hindu Kush Himalaya will warm by around 1.8 ̊C, the report has found.
- The warming will at least be 0.7 ̊C higher in the northwest Himalaya and Karakoram region.
- The HKH will warm more than the global mean and more rapidly at higher elevations.
- Even the most ambitious goal set by the Paris Agreement to limit global warming would lead to a 2.1 spike in temperature in the HKH region leading to melting of one-third of the region’s glaciers.
- It also points out that the Tibetan Plateau, Central Himalayan Range and Karakoram will warm more than the HKH average.
About Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH)
- HKH region covers 3500 kms across eight countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
- It is the source of ten major river basins including the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus in India.
- Two billion people are dependent on the HKH for their water needs across Asia.
- Glaciers in the HKH region are a critical water source for some 250 million people in the mountains as well as to 1.65 billion others in the river valleys below.