With one-fifth of the world’s population relying on seasonal
Himalayan melting, the disappearance of the Third Pole is sending
Floods, droughts, wildfires, windstorms, water contamination and
illnesses plague the 1.3 billion people who live in the watersheds
directly supplied by glacial melt from the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH)
region. The waterways of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India,
Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan are endangered, and scientists are gaining a
bettter understanding of just how fast climate change is taking its
toll on the region.
As the Himalayan glaciers disappear, ten major Asian river
systems–the Amu Darya, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween,
Mekong, Yangtse, Yellow, and Tarim–are threatened. Twenty percent of the
world’s population faces a future of catastrophe, according to a report
released by University
College, Chinadialogue, and King’s College of London in May 2010.
Extreme glacial melt, seismic activity and extreme weather events are
already affecting the region’s rivers, lakes, wetlands and coasts. The
devastation is a warning sign of what’s to come.
Read feature articles, news briefs, photographs of one of the critical front lines in the global
battle against climate change and water scarcity.