Biggest Global Glaciers Going Down Fast: The Himalayas

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 20 June 2019



Wasting Himalayan Glacial Ice
Wasting of Changri Nup Glacier in Himalayas, Joshua Maurer.
Changri Nup Glacier, one of the hundreds studied by the researchers. Much of it is covered by rocky debris. The peak of Mt. Everest is in the background at left. Joshua Maurer.


Biggest Global Glaciers Going Down

Melting of Himalayan Glaciers has Doubled in Recent Years,
Earth Institute at Columbia University, June 19, 2019.

Main Points

2000 to Present
Losing a Foot of Ice per Year
Himalayan glaciers in, "...India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, indicates that glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000..."

Thaw Accelerating
"...double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000."

Major Threat to Billions
"...potentially threatening water supplies for hundreds of millions of people downstream across much of Asia." (See, "Disappearing Buffer," below.)

"Some 800 million people depend in part on seasonal runoff from Himalayan glaciers for irrigation, hydropower and drinking water."

Massive Recent Ice Loss
"...the glaciers may have lost as much as a quarter of their enormous mass over the last four decades."

Substantially Gone by 2100
"...other recent studies have suggested that the glaciers are wasting, including one this year projecting that up to two-thirds of the current ice cover could be gone by 2100."

Master Study
"The new study synthesizes data from across the region, stretching from early satellite observations to the present. The synthesis indicates that the melting is consistent in time and space, and that rising temperatures are to blame."

Declassified Spy Photos
"Many of the 20th-century observations came from recently declassified photographic images taken by U.S. spy satellites."

1975 to 2000
"...glaciers across the region lost an average of about 0.25 meters (10 inches) of ice each year in the face of slight warming."

2000 to Present
"...the loss accelerated to about half a meter (20 inches) annually. Recent yearly losses have averaged about 8 billion tons of water, or the equivalent 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools."

Massive Low Elevation Ice Losses
"...melting has been concentrated mainly at lower elevations, where some ice surfaces are losing as much as 5 meters (16 feet) a year."

Soot, Precipitation, & Mostly Warming
"...both soot and precipitation are factors, but due to the region's huge size and extreme topography, the effects are highly variable from place to place. Overall...temperature is the overarching force."

A Losing Proposition
"...yearly runoff is now about 1.6 times greater than if the glaciers were replenished at the same rate they were melting."

More Now, then MUCH Less Later...
"...accelerated melting appears so far to be swelling runoff during warm seasons, but scientists project that this will taper off within decades as the glaciers lose mass. This, they say, will eventually lead to water shortages."

More Threats
Gully Washers & Climber Corpses
"...meltwater lakes are building rapidly behind natural dams of rocky debris; these are threatening downstream communities with potentially destructive and deadly outburst floods. Even on Mount Everest, long-lost corpses of climbers who failed to return are emerging from melting ice and snow along trails.



China vs. Southeast Asia


Water War Risk Rising on the Mekong,
Asia Times, October 16, 2019.

Mekong River Dams
 China holds the keys to the waters of Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Graphic by International Rivers.
China holds the keys to river flows critical to Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Graphic by International Rivers.


Upcoming Research

Explanations of Thawing Processes

With Video

The Water Future of Earth's 'Third Pole,'
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, June 26, 2019.

"...the glaciers will be 35 to 75% smaller in volume by 2100 due to rapid melting."



Recent Glacier Research

Himalayan Glaciers

June 2019
Asia's Departing Glaciers Provide(d) a Now Disappearing Buffer against Drought Times

March 2018
Global Warming Avalanches: Here Comes the Himalayan Ice


Mountain Glaciers

June 2019
2019: Earth's Mountain Glaciers Breaking Down Rapidly, Feeding 10 Inches Sea Level Rise by 2100

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


Glaciers Generally

April 2019
A Glacial Scorecard Since 1961

March 2018
Killing the Planet: End of Cold, Glaciers are Crashing

May 2019
Globe's Greatest Glaciers Going Away Quick

Nov 2017
Climate Change Reshaping Alpine Wildflower Communities


Arctic Glaciers

April 2019
ECO-CRASHING NEWS: Comprehensive Arctic Warming Underway


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


Antarctic Glaciers

May 2019
Rapid Degradation of West Antarctic Ice Underway

Jan 2019
Once Thought Invincible, East Antarctic Ice Now seen as Vulnerable




Bottom Line

All the world's glaciers, everywhere, are melting very rapidly.




News of Oceans, Ice, Water, & Fish

June 2019 Trail News








Nature News


Climate Destruction News



Bee News

Bear News

Spider Forum

Bird News

Small Mammals

Frogs and Reptiles

Butterfly News


Health and Fitness

Mountain Safety

Mosquito News

Female Trail

High Sierra History


Astro-Phys, Space, & Science News

High Sierra Geology News

Fish, Oceans, & Water News






climate change, Himalayan, glaciers, recent, accelerated, acceleration, thaw, melt, melting, spy photos, doubled


Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system

Latest News: RSS FEED

Syndicate content

Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

We offer valuable Trail Guide, Skills, Weather, News and Analysis.

My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

If you feel these efforts are valuable, I'm cordially inviting you to support them, here:



I am currently working towards publishing the completed guide between Tahoe & Yosemite as an e-book, while converting this "blog" to a fine magazine format. You will like the results! Help Tahoe to Whitney reach its potential!


Why Support Tahoe to Whitney?
Mission Statement