Jk Glacier Melting Poses Risk to Water Supply and Biodiversity, Expert Cautions

Jk Glacier Melting Poses Risk to Water Supply and Biodiversity, Expert Cautions
Jk Glacier Melting Poses Risk to Water Supply and Biodiversity, Expert Cautions
Jk Glacier Melting Poses Risk to Water Supply and Biodiversity, Expert Cautions
Jk Glacier Melting Poses Risk to Water Supply and Biodiversity, Expert Cautions

Jk Glacier Melting Poses Risk to Water Supply and Biodiversity, Expert Cautions

Jk Glacier Melting Poses Risk to Water Supply and Biodiversity, Expert Cautions

Glacial Meltdown Threatens Himalayan Water Supply

The Melting of Glaciers in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh Poses a Serious Threat to Water Resources

Melting glaciers in the Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh regions have the potential to disrupt the delicate water supply balance in the Himalayas, putting at risk the livelihoods of countless communities dependent on these vital water sources. A prominent earth scientist and glaciology expert, Shakeel Ahmad Romshoo, has issued a stark warning about the dire consequences of this glacial meltdown. Studies reveal that these glaciers have already diminished by 25 percent over the past six decades, and projections indicate that a further 48 percent may disappear by the end of the century, even with moderate climate change.

Precious Glacial Resources for J&K and Ladakh

Understanding the Significance of Glaciers in the Region Romshoo, who currently serves as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kashmir, highlights the immense value of the glaciers in Jammu and Kashmir. He describes the region’s approximately 18,000 glaciers, some of which, like the Siachen glacier, stretch up to 65 kilometers in length and boast massive thicknesses of 500 to 600 meters. These glaciers play a pivotal role in the water supply for agriculture, hydrology, and livelihoods.

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Alarming Impact of Climate Change

Climate Change Factors and Their Consequences Under the pressing threat of climate change and rising temperatures, these glaciers are rapidly melting. Romshoo underscores that this transformation also leads to a shift from snowfall to rainfall, with severe consequences for water availability. While traditional water requirements peak in June when rice transplantation is undertaken, the changing climate is disrupting this timing, resulting in excess water during unneeded months.

Glacial Decline and Urgent Solutions

Urgent Need for Action and Potential Solutions Studies conducted by the University of Kashmir demonstrate a 25 percent loss in glacier mass over the last five to six decades. The projections for the end of this century under different climate change scenarios are alarming, with the worst-case scenario predicting a 68 percent loss. Romshoo emphasizes the immediate need for storage projects to secure water reserves for critical periods.

These glaciers are not only crucial water reservoirs but also host diverse microbial communities that are now under threat. Furthermore, Romshoo points out that rising temperatures in the Himalayas are causing shifts in tree lines, enabling vegetation growth in previously inhospitable areas. The adverse impacts extend beyond water scarcity and agricultural disruption to affect biodiversity and the ecosystem of this vulnerable region.

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