Global Warming – Effect on Himalayas
For a layman, the simplest definition of Global Warming would be that ‘increase in the average temperature of the earth.’ Over the last century this increase has been fiercely rapid and extremely hazardous. Reason being, the effects of global warming is starkly visible on the high-altitude areas of the earth which are mainly the snow covered peaks.
Enjoying the title of the worlds largest mountain ranges, homing the mighty K2 and the Kanchenjunga(world’s highest peaks), the Himalayan ranges rightfully justify its meaning an ‘abode of snow’. But the consequences of global warming are quite apparent on this abode of snow. Rapid industrialization has lead to release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the air. These gases hold the heat within the earth’s atmosphere keeping it warm.
When the green house effect stretches beyond the optimistic limit which means there is more heat than required in the atmosphere, the snow from the poles starts melting. This in turn results into drastic changes in the lifestyles of people living in and the surrounding areas of Himalayan Treks.
The Himalayas play an extensive role in shaping the lives and cultures of South Asia. According to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairies and Fisheries almost half of humans and livestock in India live on one-third of landscape within 500km of the Himalayan Range. If the predictions are to be believed, the snow melt in the mountains will be so massive that it shall result into more than a million people dying, food starvation will be rampant and there will be an increase in land slides resulting into the land areas to become uninhabitable.
The global warming directly affects 6 countries including Pakistan, Nepal, India, China, Bhutan and Afghanistan as the Himalayan Mountain peaks linger over them. The rivers like The Yangtze, the Bhramaputra and the Ganges glide over the Himalayan ranges and the total sewerage gulf houses over 1.3 billion people.
According to Somini Sengupta, a New York Times journalist, “The mountain chains forbids the western winter disruptions that arise from Iran from blowing further which leads to the snow fall in Kashmir, downpour in several parts of Northern India and Punjab. Despite of obstructing the chilling northern winds, some part of these winds still blow in the Brahmaputra valley as a result of which there is a noticeable decrease in the temperature of Bangladesh and northeast Indian states . This also leads to North- east monsoon in these regions. As a result, the image of peaks of Himalayas is affected by the jet stream. The strong rush of western winds that blow through Everest create an acquainted plume of snow flurries swirling from the peak and noticeable from a considerable distance. ”
Due to constant rise in the earth’s temperature and severe varying of climatic conditions The Himalayan Range comes under vigorous scrutiny by scientists and environmentalists from all over the world. Many believe that the global warming continues with the same rate, soon the Himalayan glaciers will decay declining from the existing 500000 km to 100000 km by the year 2030.
It is interesting to observe that water which is considered to be the elixir of life will prove life threatening as it will create an imbalance in the food chains and life styles. The melting of snow from the Himalayas will prove to be extremely perilous as it will attribute to major part of the land becoming improper for any kind of use.
Global warming on the Himalayas has degraded conditions for many species, coastal areas and poor people. The Gangotri Glacier, which is the originating point of the Ganges has receded by 2000m over a span of 200 years. If this glacier retreats at such speeding rate it is not too long before it disappears completely from the face of the earth. If the speculations of the Ganges running dry come true, a humongous variety of species will become extinct. An up to date study discovered the fact that the average temperature of air rose by 2.2 degrees C in the North-west ranges of the Himalayas in the past 2 decades, a rate significantly higher as compared to the average rate for past 100 years.
Study of climatic conditions and the changes in them due to global warming have been the purpose of many scientists for quiet sometime now. These scientists are ardent believers of nature’s balance and are striving hard to discover as much as they can about the Himalayan glacial movements and spread awareness about its ill effects. Their predictions are an insight into what humans should be ready for as the snow abode turns into a thawed hydrosphere.
Educating youngsters and spreading awareness among as many people as possible about using the natural resources wisely is an effective way to re-instate the importance of synchronization in nature which is on the verge of getting lost.
Road to extinction!!!
Here are a few interesting predictions published in the official website of Chinese Government which discusses the effects of melting of Himalayas:
- Humanity will survive, hundreds of millions, maybe billions of people may not if the worst scenarios happens.
- Over the last three decades there has been a discernible influence on many physical and biological systems as a consequence of global warming.
- If there is a degree Celsius rise in the average world’s temperature, between 400 million and 1.7 billion extra people cannot get enough water, some infectious diseases and allergenic pollens rise, and some amphibians go extinct.
- On the plus side, by 2020 the world’s food supply, especially in northern areas, could increase.
- Add another 1.8 degrees and as many as 2 billion people could be without water and about 20 percent to 30 percent of the world’s species near extinction. Gradually people shall start dying because of malnutrition, disease, heat waves, floods and droughts all caused by global warming.
- It is a threat to the existence of human race in case the worst circumstances occur.
- For the past three decades , the global warming has a recognizable influence on several biological and physical systems.
- Around 400 million to 1.7 billion people won’t get sufficient water in case the average temperature of the world increases by one degree Celsius. Some of the amphibians will become extinct and people will be prone to allergies and infectious diseases.
- On the positive side, the food supply of the world could increase particularly in northern areas.
- If there is a rise in the temperature of the world by another 1.8 degrees, over 2 billion people will be deprived of water and 20-30 % species of flora and fauna will come to extinction. This will gradually result in the death of people due to droughts, floods, heat waves, diseases and malnutrition.
Owing to global heating, one reckons that it’s not long before the inhabitant parts of world will drown under water one day.
An alarming state for the living.. The harbingers of the planet’s extinction are on. The Himalayas are melting…