In a recent study on ice thickness of glaciers, it has come to notice that glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayas might contain 27% less ice than previously suggested. Hindu Kush may also lose half of its present-day glacier area by 2060 only. The source of this warning is the international study done on world’s glaciers published in journal Nature Geoscience.
The irony is that the Himalayas are often tagged as the ‘water towers of Asia’ because of the huge amount of water locked in the form of ice in thousands of glaciers there.
Concerns relating to climate change have often put a question mark on future water availability from these glaciers. In the previous study, focus was on the shrinkage of total glacier area, which estimated ice thickness and its distribution for projecting future changes and the availability of freshwater from the glaciers.
Whereas, in the new study, researchers used a combination of five thickness estimation models to provide an estimate for the ice thickness distribution of 215,000 glaciers outside the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
The study concluded that High Mountain Asia hosts nearly about 27% less glacier ice as suggested earlier. Thus, implying the fact that region would lose half of its present-day glacier area by 2060 which was earlier to decline by 2070.
To examine the same, Digital Elevation Models have been used to predict ice thickness from satellite imagery on the basis of topography of glaciers. Dr. Ankur Pandit, Welingkar Institute of Management, Development and Research, Mumbai said that by applying different models to each glacier, the uncertainties in estimating thickness could be reduced.
Image Credit: India Today
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