A Third of Himalayan Ice Caps Will Melt Due to Climate Change

Monday 4th February 2019 | Jake

The Himalayan mounain chain will lose 36% of its ice fields in the next 80 years, regardless of any counter-measures taken, according to a report led by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Without any action whatsoever, the mountain chain stands to lose two-thirds of its ice fields.

The startling discovery has disastrous ramifications, affecting about 2 billion people. The ice fields in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya section of the range are a vital water source for the roughly 250 million people who call the region home. Meanwhile, an estimated 1.65 billion people depend heavily on the rivers that flow from the mountain range. Water flows from the Himalayas into India, China, Pakistan and numerous neighbouring countries.

The Himilayan range is often referred to as Earth’s third pole, as it holds more ice than anywwhere else outside the Arctic and Antarctic. The Himalayas has lost 15% of the ice it stores since the 1970s. The projected loss of 36% in the next 80 years is extremely optimistic, says the report. The report’s lead, Philippus Wester of ICIMOD, wants the region to have more attention, labelling the findings of the report “the climate crisis you haven’t heard of.”