The Shrinking of Himalayan Glaciers

Glacier melt is the main water resource

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There are approximately 15,000 glaciers in the Himalayas. Each summer, these glaciers release meltwater into the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra Rivers. Approximately 500 million people depend upon water from these three rivers.

These glaciers, like others in the world, are at risk of melting due to increasing temperatures and erratic weather patterns. Glaciers depend on heavy precipitation to replenish ice on an annual basis. If these glaciers melt, many people dependent on them will be flooded during winter and experience drought during summer.


High rate of glacier melt

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At current rates of global warming, the Himalayan glaciers could shrink rapidly.

The 1956 photograph of the Imja glacier, then one of the largest glaciers at an altitude of around 5,000m, shows a layer of thick ice with small meltwater ponds. In 2007, much of the glacier had melted into a vast but stunning blue lake. The 30-kilometre Gangotri glacier is also steadily retreating.