Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Threat From Shrinking Glaciers

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The world's lagest body of ice outside the polar regions will disapper within 40 years if the current rate of melting continues, reports The Sunday Telegraph of London. A combination of rising global temperatures and the relatively low latitude of the Himalayas threatens the region's 15,000 glaciers. The Gangotri glacier, which is one of the sources of the Ganges River, has shrunk by almost one third if its length in the past 50 years.

Syed Hasnain, a scientist who monitors the glaciers, warns that if the current rate continues, "rivers such as the Ganges, the Indus and the Brahmaputra, which recieve about 70 to 80 per cent of their water from snow and glacial melt, will dry up." The result would be "an ecological disaster," he warns. Meantime, the risk of serious flooding grows. When glaciers shrink, lakes are formed that are surrounded by fragile walls of ice, boulders, and sand. As melting countinues, the walls brust, sending deavastating floods to he Valleys below.


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