From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Hindu Kush Himalayas
Mains level : Melting of glaciers
Up to two billion people in southeast Asia can face food and water shortages even as the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) mountain ranges lose up to two-thirds of its ice by 2100, a United Nations-backed research flagged.
Hindu Kush Himalayas
- The HKH region, often referred to as the ‘Third Pole’, is spread over 3,500 square kilometers across eight countries including India, Nepal, and China.
- The range forms the western section of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region (HKH) and is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram, and the Himalayas.
- It divides the valley of the Amu Darya (the ancient Oxus) to the north from the Indus River valley to the south.
- It contains the world’s third-largest storage of frozen water after the Antarctica and Arctic.
- Over 240 million people live in the region’s mountains; 1.7 billion live in the river basins downstream, while food grown in these basins reaches three billion people.
- HKH region continues to warm through 21st century even if the world was able to limit global warming at the agreed 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- Another study published in 2019 on the ice thickness of glaciers had estimated that glaciers in the HKH may contain 27 percent less ice than previously suggested.
- The HKH region lies downwind from some of the most heavily polluted places on Earth. This threatens agriculture, climate as well as monsoon patterns.