October 13, 2009
Melting Glaciers Threaten India And Pakistan’s Water Supply
Increasing winter temperatures are causing the Himalayan glaciers in Kashmir to melt at an "alarming" rate, harming water supplies to areas of India and Pakistan, says a new study.
The Kolahoi glacier, the biggest in the province, has melted by one square mile in the last three decades, said the research offered at an international workshop on climate change in Srinagar.
Himalayan glaciers connect to Asia's nine biggest rivers that pour into China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The Kolahoi glacier has shrunk 0.031 square miles in only one year, "which is an alarming speed", wrote Shakil Ramsoo, associate professor of geology at Kashmir University.
"Other small Kashmir glaciers are also shrinking and the main reason is that the winter temperature in Kashmir is rising," noted the study.
The amount of snowfall in Kashmir, called the "Switzerland of the East", has obviously declined.
Regardless of infrequent snowfall, the failure of snow to freeze and compact itself into stronger crystals has aided in a quicker meltdown, experts note.
"If you talk about Kashmir and you look at the statistics of climate change, it is melting faster here than any other place in the world," Sally Dotre, a professional from Cambridge University, said to AFP.
"And that's going to have a dramatic effect in Kashmir and Pakistan, because it is already affecting water levels," she added.
River levels have decreased drastically by two-thirds in only 40 years.
Rajeev Upadhay, an Indian geologist who specializes in glaciers, feels that the research is important.
"The study confirms the general trend that about 90% of all Himalayan glaciers are receding. Some glaciers are receding at an alarming rate of 44-45 yards per year," said Upadhay to the Associated Press.
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