Shrinking Asian glaciers could lead to massive water shortages

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With asian glaciers facing a massive melt by the end of the century, millions of people are at risk of water shortages — and it’s all thanks to global warming.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the high mountains of Asia lie in a region surrounding the Tibetan plateau, and contains the largest store of permanent ice outside the North and South poles.

Meltwater feeds into major rivers like the Indus, Yangtze, and Mekong and are used for drinking, hydroelectric power, and irrigation.

Reuters reports that researchers from Utrecht University predict that Asian high mountain glaciers will lose a third of their mass by 2100 if the global temperature rises 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If temperatures increase 3.5, 4, or 6 degrees, losses could reach 49, 51, and 65%, respectively.

Glacial loss could affect the region’s water supply and lead to shortages. At the same time, accelerated melting could trigger intense flooding, especially when combined with climate change-induced heavy rains and super typhoons.

High-warming scenarios carry worse consequences, including massive sea-level rise, floods, droughts, loss of species, and even disease.

The only way to avoid such a dismal future is by minimizing global temperature rise, and for that, we need to double, even triple efforts to combat climate change.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Ice store in Asian high mountains
2. Meltwater feeds into river systems, used for drinking, farming, electricity
3. Asian glaciers to lose a third of their mass in 2100 if global temps rise by 1.5
4. Water shortages, potentially catastrophic flooding

VOICEOVER (in English):

“The high mountains of Asia lie in a region surrounding the Tibetan plateau, and contains the largest store of permanent ice outside the North and South poles.”

“Meltwater feeds into major rivers like the Indus, Yangtze, and Mekong and are used for drinking, hydroelectric power, and irrigation.”

“Scientists predict that Asian high mountain glaciers will lose a third of their mass by 2100 if the global temperature rises 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If temperatures increase 3.5, 4, or 6 degrees, losses could reach 49, 51, and 65%, respectively.”

“Glacial loss could affect the region’s water supply and lead to shortages. At the same time, accelerated melting could trigger intense flooding, especially when combined with climate change-induced heavy rains and super typhoons.”

SOURCES:
Reuters, AFP (via South China Morning Post)
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asia-climate-water/millions-at-risk-of-water-shortages-as-asian-glaciers-melt-study-idUSKCN1BP2EB
http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/2111086/asias-glaciers-will-melt-sharply-global-warming-centurys-end-climate-study