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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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RE: More theories...
By Director on 6/11/2010 6:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yup the whole global warming scam goes back to a 1973 U.N. document ( which blueprints a way for a global currency and global government based on a 'global issue' such as OMG! The sky is falling!

'Overpopulation' is simply a eugenicist lie, you could fit the whole current population of the Earth into Australia and each person would have about 600 square meters of land, enough for a home and self-sufficient garden and you'd still have half of Queensland AND the rest of the world left over. So while overpopulation will (I guess?) become a problem one day, that day is not here yet. The eugenicists didn't go away after Hitler's demise, they just changed their names and/or went underground. The real problem, as usual, is humanity itself. Our greed, selfishness and megalomania is what it is causing ALL of our problems.

As for the article itself, big deal, societies have always had to relocate due to environmental change or some kind of natural disaster, nothing new there.

The tell in all of this though is that the solution of your evil overlords is to tax you more. Taxing you more won't stop Co2 (even it that was a problem)it will simply prolong your slavery.

As soon as my spaceship is ready I'm outta here.

RE: More theories...
By Noya on 6/11/2010 9:47:10 PM , Rating: 1
The eugenicists didn't go away after Hitler's demise, they just changed their names and/or went underground.

What's wrong with eugenics?

We (humans) apply it to nearly every plant and animal we consume and also to pets. Natural selection of the human race hasn't happened in quite some time. Watch the movie "Idiocracy" for a laugh.

RE: More theories...
By Director on 6/11/2010 11:13:29 PM , Rating: 2
Idiocracy was the BEST film of 2007, it's only flaw was it supposed to be 500 years in the future but in reality it's only about 10. ;P

And we don't practice eugenics on plants and animals, we just destroy them outright. ;(

But hey, as ling as the rich get richer I guess...

RE: More theories...
By BikeDude on 6/13/2010 3:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
'Overpopulation' is simply a eugenicist lie, you could fit the whole current population of the Earth into Australia and each person would have about 600 square meters of land


Would that be 600 m^2 of fertile soil, or mostly the dry desert sand that makes up quite a bit of Australia?

Are you a vegan? I'm not. I much prefer eating beef. That habit seems to require quite a lot of gracing land.

I have a suspicion that if it was simple to find a patch of fertile soil where you can be self-reliant, most poor people would have done so already. In the past, many have tried. In Africa large groups of people have moved as the desert of Sahara spread. Ironically they tend to move to a patch of fertile soil, chop down all the vegetation so they can grow their own stuff, and then the desert spreads a bit more because all the trees are gone.

Yes... We'd all fit on the continent of Australia... Where do you plan on getting the water from? I've heard water is a requirement for growing things. As the temperature climbs, that water seems to evaporate from glaciers and most of it ends up in the sea.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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