The contemporary sea level rise of around 11 inches could be “regardless of 21st-century climate pathways.” Greenland ice sheet melting is one of the largest sources for modern sea level rise, it said. Researchers said melting could be much worse, and raise sea levels by more than 2.5 feet, if the data from the high-melt year of 2012 was applied in perpetuity.
The Greenland ice sheet and glaciers are a huge part of the global ice ecosystem.
Melting glaciers contributed to floods in Pakistan
The global glaciers ice melting is also impacting South Asia, particularly the regional countries including Pakistan –probably the most, if the recent monsoon related floods impact is considered.
Ayesha Rascoe of the NPR recently spoke with University of Michigan-Dearborn Professor Ulrich Kamp about how glacial melt caused by climate change and changing monsoon patterns have caused flooding in Pakistan. He said he was very alarmed. “…over the last 35 years, there’s an accelerated loss of global glacier ice. So when we compare the period from 2000 to 2004 with the period of 2015 to 2019, we have 70 billion tons of ice that melted in this period every year more than it did in the earlier period.”
Kamp said the most impacted by this glacier loss would be first, of course, local communities. “So when we think about the entire Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Himalaya range, probably, you know, around a billion people in the area depend on the fresh water from the water towers…more or less directly. These are…population in Pakistan and in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh. So we are talking here about South Asia and Southwest Asia.”
Glaciers are the main source for freshwater. And fauna and flora depend directly on the meltwater from glaciers but also snow. Also, wetlands in high altitudes are very important as a freshwater resource for animals. These wetlands are directly fed by meltwater.
In Pakistan, over 7,200 glaciers that are in the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Himalaya in northern Pakistan are said to be melting.
The third pole, as the Himalayan region is called, supplies freshwater to more than a billion people east, west and south of it.
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According to Kamp, a yearly rhythm increase in volume during the winter months, mainly, and then lose ice mass during the snowmelt season has an impact. “The snowmelt season is a little bit ahead of the season when the summer monsoon…hits the mountains in Pakistan. So that’s also important. So you have different peaks now of the meltwater flow but also then rainfall…that feeds into the river systems. And usually, they are separated. So with climate change now, the monsoon, that is, of course, mainly responsible for the flooding. “We have on top of that now accelerated glacial melt. And, sometimes, it could happen that the meltwater peak and the monsoon peak actually are closer together. And that’s then, you know, a particularly high amount of water that goes through the entire stream system.”
The recent unusual rains in Pakistan have made more than 33 million people affected by the flooding –brought on by record monsoon rains amplified by climate change. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the humanitarian situation in the flood-ravaged country is expected to get worse.
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres is arriving on Sept 9 to review the devastations caused by the floods. “The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids”, he commented in his tweet.
Honorary contributors to DesPardes: Ajaz Ahmed, Ammar Jafri, Anwar Abbas, Arif Mirza, Aziz Ahmed, Bawar Tawfik, Dr. Razzak Ladha, G. R. Baloch, Jamil Usman, Jawed Ahmed, Ishaq Saqi, Khalid Sharif, Masroor Ali, Md. Ahmed, Md. Najibullah, Shahbaz Ali, Shahid Nayeem, Syed Hamza Gilani