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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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By Reclaimer77 on 6/11/2010 10:55:05 PM , Rating: -1
Climate Change research is a huge pile of money just waiting to be grabbed. It pays for itself. I suppose now you'll tell me scientists are pure as driven snow and would NEVER stoop so low as to support a theory to get paid? Oops, Climategate. Oh that's right, it didn't happen. I forgot. It only showed that the people themselves were tainted, biased, and had bad ethics. But the work they did was absolutely SOLID! Riiiight...

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

You seem to be very hung up on majorities. Are you a very insecure person? So if a "majority" of scientist agree on something, it's true. If a "majority" of raters disagree with me, I'm an extremist paid Daily Tech mole?

I think it's really sad we can't have a debate without you resorting to this cheap attempt at undermining my credibility. Although that's typical of people from your side of the argument. I think for someone as outspoken as me, a 1.75 lifetime rating ain't too shabby. Considering how far Left most of the readership is.

Extremist? Well that's just another indication how far Left you are. That you would view a Conservative as "extremist". Lower taxes, personal accountability, smaller government, strong military, anti-socialism.. WOW, you're right man. I might as well strap a bomb to my chest I'm so extreme. I'm really out there! lmao...

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.

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.

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.

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
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
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
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.

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