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Water resources under threat in the Himalayas

Aug 28, 2008 / alpMedia
Climate change is threatening the water reserves of East Asia. An estimated 50 percent of the water from the Himalayas comes from glaciers, permafrost zones and the snowmelt.
Hochland Himalaya Tibet
Image caption:
Tibetan Highland: soon dried out? BirgitH / PIXELIO
The Roof of the World provides the run-off for the seven biggest rivers in Asia, with a catchment that is home to more than a billion people.
In the Himalayas, the mean temperature is rising by 0.3 degrees every ten years. That is twice as fast as the global average. And the glaciers are melting at a far faster rate that hitherto assumed. In addition to local phenomena such as floods and mudflows, there is also an increasing risk of famine and military disputes over water resources and energy supplies. Climate change is also reflected in today's precipitation patterns: more intensive rain and snowfalls during the monsoon period are leading to more frequent flooding, while precipitation is lower than ever before in the dry periods, and agriculture above all is suffering from extreme droughts.
Sources: (en), (fr)