Climate change causes Himalayan glaciers to move. It can have disastrous consequences.
– The glaciers show a constant decrease in mass and area and changes in their seasonal patterns of movement. This can be directly linked to the rising temperature in the region.
112 glaciers have been analyzed in the mountain range using satellite imagery and temperature data combined with field observations to see how the glaciers are moving. They could link changes in seasonal temperatures to changes in the glaciers’ movement patterns and that they decreased in mass.
Using satellite imagery and temperature data, researchers were able to analyze the glaciers’ motion. Their study is the first to show how terrain and climate parameters such as temperature and snow affect the movement of the glaciers. Their findings may help to better understand the movement of the Himalayan glaciers and how they are affected by the future climate scenarios.
Many of the consequences of climate change are affecting glaciers. Rising temperatures due to global warming increase the melting of the glaciers which can cause movement. The movements can have disastrous consequences. For example, glacial lakes may erupt and create floods.
The Mediterranean Sea affects the Himalayas
In their study, researchers also discovered that the movements of the glaciers in the Himalayas are not only affected by the local temperature. The movements are also affected by moisture from the Mediterranean, which then moves east to finally land as rain or snow in the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent during the winter.
– It shows that climate change is a global phenomenon. It affects everything everywhere.
Changes in precipitation patterns affect glaciers as seasonal snowfalls add to the mass of glaciers which eventually leads to deformation and movement.
Big consequences for the local population
The area around the Himalayas is very densely populated. These are countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. If the glaciers disappear or decrease, then there will be disastrous consequences.
– It will affect the living conditions and water supply in the area, but also the industries that grow there depending on the water from the Himalayas. The meltwater from the glaciers provides almost 1.5 billion with drinking water.