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Wheat crops in India  (Source: NY Times)
Populations around the Himalayas at risk

recent study in the journal Science shows that the shrinkage of glaciers will cause a lack in water sources for crops, ultimately leading to food shortages for approximately 60 million people living near the Himalayas. This study is one of the first to observe the effect melting glaciers have on the Himalayan river basins, and could possibly further provoke the existing debate that climate change will destroy river basins located mostly in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, China and Bhutan.

Dutch scientists Marc Bierkens, Walter Immerzee and Ludovicus Van Beek – who conducted the study and wrote in the journal -- concluded that basins around the Himalayas such as the Indus, Ganges and Brahamaputra depend on the melting glaciers to water their crops, and could see a 19.6 percent decline in their water supply by 2050. 

"We estimate that the food security of 4.5 percent of the total population will be threatened as a result of reduced water availability," the researchers wrote. "The strong need for prioritizing adaptation options and further increasing water productivity is therefore eminent."

This new study largely contrasts the U.N. report in 2007, where the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that hundreds of millions of people were in danger from the receding glaciers. According to the scientists, the reason for the "discrepancy" is that only some basins in this area depend on the glaciers. Others, such as China's Yellow River basin, obtain their water from rainfall and are expected to see a 9.5 percent increase in water supply due to the changing climate altering the pattern of monsoons. 

"We show that it's only certain areas that will be affected," said Bierkens. "The amount of people affected is still large. Every person is one too many but it's much less than was first anticipated."

In addition, the U.N. report included other errors such as the Himalayas disappearing by 2035, when actual data indicates that this will happen by 2350. Client change skeptics attacked this inaccuracy, which in fact, was just a mistake in transposing the numbers. 

Most scientists agree that "glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate as temperatures increase," and that the reason is related to the higher "atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide." Evidence for this appears in the considerable losses seen in glaciers across the Andes, Alaska, the Alps and several other ranges. According to researchers in the United States and Europe, "more than 90 percent of glaciers worldwide are in retreat."

Researchers who did not take part in the study, such as Zhongqin Li, director of the Tianshan Glaciological Station in China, noted that the scientists performing the study disregarded many other basins in central Asia and northwest China which will be affected by the glacial losses. Other glacial experts and scientists warned that "uncertainties and lack of data for the region makes it difficult to say what will happen in the next few decades to the water supply." While many researchers are skeptical of exact numbers in the study, they do agree that there should be a concern for those living in the glacial-dependent basins due to climate change. In addition, problems like pollution, overpopulation and poverty are added stress to the situation.

"The paper teaches us that there's a lot of uncertainty in the future water supply of Asia and within the realm of plausibility are scenarios that may give us concern," said Casey Brown, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Massachusetts. 

"At present, we know that water concerns are already a certainty - the large and growing populations and high dependence on irrigated agriculture which makes the region vulnerable to present climate variability. 

"This paper is additional motivation to address these present concerns through wise investments in better management of water resources in the region, which for me means forecasts, incentives, efficiency."



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Reclaimer77 on 6/11/2010 4:14:22 PM , Rating: -1
With a headline like that, I thought for SURE it was a Mick article. Man.. I must be getting rusty.

Anyway, the idea is absurd of course. Dense C02 INCREASES plant growth. Climate change is a myth. And, also, we're paying people NOT to grow we have so much food production capacity. More food is wasted than you could believe.

Food shortage? Absurd idea. Utter propagandist fearmongering.


RE: Locally grown produce, organic, anti-GMO, etc.
By raf11 on 6/11/2010 7:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that a very small fraction of people that are making the argument that climate change is a myth today, wouldn't be doing so if the idea wasn't fueled by a political party/ideology. Much in the same way that I believe a fraction of a percent of people would be making the argument that evolution is a myth, if it wasn't fueled by an underlying religious belief.

It seems people will often dismiss factual information to fit their personal beliefs, instead of modifying their personal beliefs to align with factual information.


RE: Locally grown produce, organic, anti-GMO, etc.
By raf11 on 6/11/2010 10:44:40 PM , Rating: 3
I was referring to man-made climate change.

My girlfriend's grandfather is a die-hard republican (Disclaimer: I have nothing against those who are conservative, just pointing out how this opinion exists mostly within a specific party) - he commonly opposes the idea of man-made climate change, and uses different references concerning Al Gore this and that as if it eliminates the entire consensus of the scientific community for the last 20 years. A common political tactic is to demonize a single entity that holds the same view, and then paint the entire body that holds that view as being the same. It doesn't logically make sense.

quote:
Only a blockhead would actually claim that proponents of this theory aren't the ones with the political ideological agenda.


Even if a political party was using climate change as a giant wealth redistribution scheme (Which is a point I don't necessarily agree with) - how can you ignore the consensus of the scientific community, of all the universities, experts, etc - and favor the opinion of those who are aligned with your own political beliefs (Who are not authorities on the subject)?

With your nearly 3,700+ posts and outspoken and extremist view, I'm starting to think you are hired by DailyTech to increase ad revenue. Since your provocative comments incur further posts, this increases page views and thus ad revenue. Otherwise, I don't see why you would spend so much time spreading your opinion when the majority of users don't agree with you (As displayed with your average down-rating) and you have been repeatedly proven wrong. Why spend all this time on DailyTech posting, for nothing?


RE: Locally grown produce, organic, anti-GMO, etc.
By raf11 on 6/11/2010 11:12:58 PM , Rating: 3
This will be my last reply to you, as I realize any attempt to counter anything you say is pointless, and just a waste of time.

quote:
So if a "majority" of scientist agree on something, it's true.


If that something happens to be their field, and it's based on studied facts and testing, then yes, exactly. At least until legitimate evidence from the science community proves otherwise. I don't even see how you could argue against that.

quote:
If a "majority" of raters disagree with me, I'm an extremist paid Daily Tech mole?


No, the above was suggested because day in and day out you argue with posters and are continually proven wrong. When they prove you wrong, you label it "leftist" and disagree with it usually solely based on the fact that anyone who doesn't agree with you must be on the left (even several times in your last post). The fact that I don't believe a person could do this all day, every day without being paid for it is why I made that suggestion. If you aren't receiving some type of compensation for it, then that truly makes the situation entirely more pathetic.

quote:
You seem to be very hung up on majorities. Are you a very insecure person?


Funny, since you several times try to convince yourself that you are in the majority with your views when it supports your argument, which is why I pointed it out.

Quote from you on 5/17
quote:
The country IS "far right". It was founded on "far right" principles. And the majority of the country when polled, identify themselves as "far right".


And here is just one of the many posts from you that displays your extremism, from 5/28
quote:
Or maybe I should support the idea. That way when the rest of us finally snap from paying taxes for everyone else's EV car, it will be really easy to identify the enemy. Simply drag anyone out of an EV you find, kicking and screaming, and put a bullet in their face .


By ShaolinSoccer on 6/12/2010 12:03:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Climate Change research is a huge pile of money just waiting to be grabbed. It pays for itself.


lol I remember an article in Parade about "hot jobs" and one was 'anything to do with global warming'...

just wanted to throw that out there...


By AEvangel on 6/14/2010 1:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
You also have to remember back in the 70's it was the idea of Global cooling and their was this myth of a huge overwhelming majority of scientist in favor of that theory as well.

Personally, I would rather have global warming since that is much less of an overall threat to humanity then Global cooling since the last time we had a global cooling some 20k years ago everything north of Africa and Mexico was under ice.

I agree with climate change you have to be an idiot not to, I just don't believe in the man made concept since this is the latest fad of the scientific community(who love the grant $$ to do these studies) to come along.


By shin0bi272 on 6/12/2010 3:33:30 AM , Rating: 3
Actually in the US belief in man made global warming is down to 20% of the population according to a poll I saw about 3 months ago. Once the scientist that worked for the UN came out and admitted that the emails that were hacked were true and that there had been no appreciable warming since 1995 the belief in it sort of dropped out. Still hasnt stopped people from pushing a "green economy" or "going green" despite the laws of physics and thermodynamics and the economics of scale there are still zealots out there pushing for it... Barry Obama being one of them.


By Reclaimer77 on 6/12/2010 6:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. Raf believes that scientific majority = population majority. So good luck convincing him that most American's actually CAN make their own opinions on something once they are informed enough about it.

Climategate opened our eyes, and confirmed a lot of suspicions. These aren't good men and women just doing a job. These are people HIGHLY motivated to push an agenda.

Now the media and several sources, based on East Anglia's own laughable "investigation", would like you to believe the "science was solid" but the people doing the science were flawed. I mean, honestly, who's buying that??


By just4U on 6/13/2010 12:03:46 AM , Rating: 2
The beauty of the internet. The masses in western civilization have more information at their fingertips then world leaders and thinkers of less then 100 years ago.

Regardless, the scientific majority only appears to agree on the fact that the world is warming up. Jury seems to be out on cause and effect. Or even if such warming will hurt us or be benifitial. Afterall, warming trends have meant massive growth for our planet in the past.


By BikeDude on 6/13/2010 2:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
AFAICT, almost every generation in human history have had one (or more) prophecy of doom. We all yearn to be the logical conclusion to a long history, so we celebrate rapture, ragnarok, y2k, 2012 and whatnot because surely our generation is the one that makes a difference. We're important, and that means the world must end now.

The hypothesis of man-made global warming fits neatly into the pattern of a good decent doomsday prophecy. Fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Meanwhile, our planet is already a very crowded place. We have resorted to all sorts of tricks to increase crop yields, slowly poisoning everyone of us (including animals). Heck, some of us have tried to fuel our cars on sugar canes, and immediately someone starts complaining that the price of wheat started climbing. The price of wheat hit a record low in the late 80s and the US, Russia and EU have all paid farmers to stop growing anything. Yet when the price starts to pick up slightly, people panic.

Seeing the whole picture is a difficult task. The simple truth is probably what someone summed up in the question "what is better? 10 millions starve now, or 3 billions 10 years from now?". The more people we save now, the more people will need saving down the road. The human population breed like rats, and the Catholic ban on birth control (and abortion for that matter) is not helping.

What science tells us is that Greenland is named Greenland for a reason. The vikings farmed a large portion of Greenland in locations that are still covered with a thick layer of ice. We are emerging from a mini-iceage, and our society is not set up for the kind of migrations our forefathers had to endure.

The CO2 taxation won't work. Without CO2 there would be no life on this planet. Rather than focus on particle emissions that cause real (and sometimes irreperable) damage, our politicians are singeling out the one emission that occur naturally. I am not impressed. Initially I had hoped that the Kyoto agreement would lead to at least some discussion about e.g. NOx emissions, but our elected leaders are acting like headless chickens.


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