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Asia's Departing Glaciers Provide(d) a Now Disappearing Buffer against Drought Times

Asia's Departing Glaciers Provide(d) a Now Disappearing Buffer against Drought Times

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 31 May 2019



Glaciers Departing Rapidly Everywhere

Asia's Glaciers Provide Buffer against Drought,
British Antarctic Survey, May 29, 2019.


"...assess the contribution that Asia's high mountain glaciers make to relieving water stress in the region..."

"The high-mountain region of Asia, known as the Third Pole, encompasses the Himalayas, Karakoram, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Tien Shan, Kunlun Shan and Alai mountains and has 95,000 glaciers in total. About 800 million people are partly dependent on their meltwater."

Vital Drought-Time Water Supply
"...during droughts, glaciers become the largest supplier of water to some of Asia's major river basins. This melt-water is important for the people living downstream when the rains fail and water shortages are at their worst."

Massive Summertime Glacial Water Subsidy
"Each summer, glaciers release 36 cubic kilometres of water - equivalent to 14 million Olympic swimming pools - to these rivers. This is enough water to fulfil the basic needs of 221 million people, or most of the annual municipal and industrial needs of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan."

That Glacial  Cushion is Going Away
"This supply is unsustainable, though, because climate change is causing the region's glaciers to lose 1.6 times more water than they gain each year from new snowfall. "

High Confidence of Disaster
"Against a background of increasing drought-related water and food shortages and malnutrition, which have been predicted with high confidence for the coming decades, Asia's glaciers will play an increasingly important part in protecting downstream populations from drought-induced spikes in water stress--spikes that, without mitigating changes in the way water is stored and used, are the potential trigger for a sudden jump in the price of water that could be profoundly destabilising for this region."


Too bad the glaciers are going away...rapidly.


Bottom LIne

It's just a matter of time

We and Asia have the same problem, of diminishing water supply against already unsustainable, and yet still rapidly and irresponsibly growing populations. The difference between California and Asia is merely a matter of scale. Asia is watching its glacial, "buffer against drought," its high mountain glaciers, melting, as we here have been, are, and will be watching our Winter snowpack rapidly go away:

41% Sierra & Rocky Mountains Snow Pack Loss since ‘82

2018 Climate News: Radical Western Snopack Decline, 15 to 30% Average Loss

Sierra Snowpack Could Drop 79% by End of Century

We have still not yet reached Asia's unconscionable levels of population, poverty, and their ancient and traditional environmental destruction problems, but nonetheless, the ignorant among us are trying as hard as they can to, "catch up," to reach megacity heights of population, poverty, and environmental destruction here, as they already have there...


Related Research
The End of Cold, 2018: Tibet & Andes Glaciers are Going Away, so is their Water

Stealing Tibet, and the Tibetan Plain, which is the Mother of a series of major Southeast Asian Rivers that India, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam all depend on, has allowed China to build the dams necessary for them to take every bit of the water from these massive Himalayan Rivers draining through its territories, rivers that supply Vietnam, Burma, and India with significant amounts of their annual runoff water that is vitally crucial to each of these country's physical, as well as economic welfare.

And, China already has significant shortfalls of water now, and anticipates even greater shortfalls in the near future.
2018 Climate Change News: North China Plain Rapidly Becoming Uninhabitable

The Future of Greed
China will cut all these downstream countries off, when push comes to shove, and a drought reinforced by diminished glacial contributions will leave far less water in each of these vital rivers than these country's most fundamental  requirements, at which point they all agree to fight China for stealing what remains.


Critical Southeast Asian Rivers with Headwaters in Tibet/China





"China poses a severe security risk to its neighbors,"
From Forbes, May 3, 2017.


Recent Glacier Research

May 2019
Globe's Greatest Glaciers Going Away Quick

March 2018

Killing the Planet: End of Cold, Glaciers are Crashing


More Glacier Research

The End of Cold, 2018: Arctic Mountain Glaciers Melting Rapidly

Greenland Ice Sheet Melt 'Off the Charts' Compared with past Four Centuries

2019 Greenland Melting Expanding & Accelerating Rapidly

The Trend Continues: Everything Melting, Western USA, The End of Cold


More Glacier Research

Remote Petermann Glacier Uncorking Greenland Ice Once Thought Stable

Once Thought Invincible, East Antarctic Ice Now seen as Vulnerable

East Antarctic Breakdown: The Totten Glacier is Melting

Moderate warming could melt East Antarctic Ice Sheet


Future Trajectory of Global Warming

Climate Models Underestimating Scale of Change: Twice What Climate Models Predict?

Nature is Crashing Hard: More-severe climate model predictions could be the most accurate


Two Degrees Already Baked In


Sea Levels

Sea Level Ecosystems Destroyed

ECO-CRASH NEWS: The Oceans, Surf’s Up, and Rising to Record Levels



Melting Ice, Glaciers, & Ice Caps: Estimating Dates for Reaping the Whirlwind(s)

Two New Climate Analysis: Short Term, A New Form of Climate Analysis. Long Term: Crashing Through Tipping Points

Permafrost Too, is Going Away Rapidly.

Search Permafrost




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Asia, glaciers, global warming, Himalayas, Karakoram, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Tien Shan, Kunlun Shan, Alai, departing, melting


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