Shrinking ice: A potential meltdown for South Asia

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View of flooded Ganges Delta. Credit: World Bank

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate, Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC)

EUCC has been involved in the development of a 2015 World Bank report : Motivating Research on the Science Communications Front: A Report to the National Science Foundation Conveying the Nature and Impacts of Rapid Change in Ice-Dominated Earth Systems to Decision Makers and the Public (see link here http://geo-prose.com/pdfs/motivating_research_high.pdf). EUCC has been further involved in publishing on and publicizing impacts of the loss of polar ice on global water and oceans systems. Changes in ice in the Arctic, Antarctic and the Third Pole have consequences around the world.

In South Asia region, another ice-snow regime is under threat, and has the potential to trigger catastrophic economic and social consequences. The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region is widely called the Third Pole and in this ice-snow regime of the third pole are the origins of three mighty rivers – Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Indus that indirectly support over 700 million people across South Asia.

The ice and snow regime is among  fragile earth systems that will be impacted by a changing climate and the melting and disappearing of the three poles (the Antarctic, Arctic and high-altitude mountain glaciers) will in turn exacerbate sea level rise and extreme weather patterns.

Please read the blog http://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/shrinking-ice-potential-meltdown-south-asia and see the video and share with others.

 

World Bank Blog: Shrinking ice: A potential meltdown for South Asia

In mid-August, close to a 12.5 sq. km of chunk of ice separated from the Jacobshavn glacier in Greenland and tumbled down into the sea. The Jacobshavn is rumored to be the glacier that downed the Titanic. While the event was small compared to the huge ice chunk break-aways in the Antarctic, the spotlight was welcome. A few weeks back, Obama become the first US President to visit the Arctic.

Halfway across the globe, in the South Asia region, another ice-snow regime is under threat, and although less scrutinized by the media, has the potential to trigger catastrophic economic and social consequences.

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region is widely called the third pole and in this ice-snow regime of the third pole are the origins of three mighty rivers – Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Indus that indirectly support over 700 million people across South Asia.

The ice and snow regime is among the most fragile earth systems that will be impacted massively by a changing climate and the melting and disappearing of the three poles (the Antarctic, Arctic and high-altitude mountain glaciers) will in turn exacerbate sea level rise and extreme weather patterns.
The vulnerability of our planet’s ice and snow regime calls for combined and concerted efforts towards better understanding the rapid change being witnessed and the potential cascading impacts of these changes on other linked natural systems of our planet.

Last November, the World Bank’s South Asia Unit for Disaster Management and Climate Change, GSURR co-hosted the conference “Communicating the Science and Impacts of Fundamental Earth System Change: A Focus on Ice-Snow-Water” (report here.) Participants ranged from US and international scientists, government officials, media experts, and public and private sector representatives, all with a common goal to make climate change scientific discussions more accessible to the public.

Watch this video to learn how the shrinking of ice and snow environments will impact tomorrow’s world and require enormous adaptation efforts: 
Video How shrinking ice and snow environments will impact tomorrow’s world

Watch this video to learn how the shrinking of ice and snow environments will impact tomorrow’s world and require enormous adaptation efforts

https://www.facebook.com/WorldBankSouthAsia/videos/899449400125541/

Further Information: 

Blog  http://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/shrinking-ice-potential-meltdown-south-asia

Video https://www.facebook.com/WorldBankSouthAsia/videos/899449400125541/

2015 World Bank report : Motivating Research on the Science Communications Front: A Report to the National Science Foundation Conveying the Nature and Impacts of Rapid Change in Ice-Dominated Earth Systems to Decision Makers and the Public http://geo-prose.com/pdfs/motivating_research_high.pdf

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