I’m Melting… Or Am I?

When people are asked what the number one environmental issue is, what do you think they say? Endangered species? No.  Smog? No. The actual answer is climate change (or global warming, no matter how you say or want to say it).

Climate change is such a hot topic nowadays some natural wonders can’t even keep up with the heat, and believe me, they are way out of the kitchen. According to the National Academy of Science based in Washington, D.C., glaciers around the globe don’t know how to react to the constantly changing temperatures, especially in one of snow and ice’s favorite destinations: the Himalayan mountain range.

A new study suggests that glaciers in the eastern and central regions of the Himalayas are receding at hastened rates, similar to other glaciers in other regions of the world. The interesting part is that glaciers in the western Himalayan Mountains are staying constant and could possibly growing stronger and thicker.

This plays a large role in the region’s climate because the melting glaciers contribute to the region’s fresh water supply through rivers, lakes and streams. For right now, the retreating ice does not have an immediate effect because the region consistently relies on summer smowmelt and the rains in the monsoon season for its immediate supply. However if this continues, researchers propose that the thawing glaciers may cause a lack of fresh water availability over the next several decades to tens of central Asian countries.

Image Credit: Wired.com

Researchers also suggest that the melting glacier ice could be a key component of maintaining water security throughout times of drought; during the 2003 drought in Europe, extremely high water levels in the Danube River (caused by melted glacial ice) helped the region throughout its dry spell. The research team is suggesting a similar thing may happen in the Himalayan region over the next few decades.

So if your local glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, don’t fear, because they may be growing in another place in your area. And who knows? They could help you out in the long run too.

by Scott Sincoff

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