Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Melting of Glaciers


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Factors contributing to the melting of glaciers

Mains level: Paper 3- Glaciers melting rapidly

Glaciers shrinking faster than before

  • A new study by ETH Zurich and University of Toulouse researchers finds that the world’s glaciers are shrinking at a faster rate than before.
  •  If the trend continues this will put the densely-populated parts of Asia at risk of flood and water shortages.
  • The study found the world’s ice fields lost 298 gigatons of ice per year from 2015 to 2019, a 30% increase in the rate of retreat compared with the previous five years.
  • Glaciers in Alaska, the Alps and Iceland are among those disappearing at the fastest pace.
  • The scientists used images from a special camera aboard NASA’s Terra satellite, which has circled the Earth every 100 minutes since its launch in 1999.


  • The situation in the Himalayas is particularly worrying.
  • Swathes of India and Bangladesh could face water stress during dry periods when major rivers like the Ganges and Indus are mainly fed by glacial runoff.
  • Glaciers typically accumulate ice in the winter, but a warming climate means summer melting has outstripped those gains and caused a net loss of ice in mountain regions.
  • The melting in turn contributes to global warming and indirectly accelerates sea level rise, raising the risk of flooding faced by coastal communities.

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