No wonder it is a tale of fiction and fantasy that states “Winter is Coming” where in reality the Earth is facing a serious crisis of perpetual scorching summers. With a steady rise in temperature over the last decade, the melting of the ice caps has aggravated since, leading to the rise in sea-level, a phenomenon that has been a global concern. And India with its snow-clad mountain ranges remains at the crossfire of this slow yet steady impending disaster.
What’s In It?
With global warming reaching its peak, recent researches show that it is not just the ice caps but these icy mountains pose a bigger and an immediate threat to civilization all over the world. Recent researches and publications revealed that more than 5000 lakes are susceptible to flooding in the Himalayan region alone given the rise in the global temperatures.
For a country like India with its agricultural economy, three northern rivers play a crucial role not just in shaping the finances but also our proximity of settlement to these river systems as well as our socio-cultural practices. The Ganges, The Brahmaputra and The Yamuna are the three major rivers that meander through over 400 million lives and settlement. Take the Brahmaputra for example. Even without an extreme snow-caps meltdown, Brahmaputra floods Assam and parts of Arunachal almost every year. Our seasonal monsoons have even flooded Bihar of late. Now add the aspect of higher discharge rate from the glaciers and these rivers will not only overflow but will create rampant havoc sinking most of the villages and cities on route to the Bay of Bengal.
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Polar ice melting is different from glaciers melting at the mountains in the sense that the latter offers a slope gradient which increases the velocity of the rivers, thereby creating devastating consequences once the river starts to flood as we have already seen a few years back in the parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. A reputed news agency stated that the University of Potsdam ran over 5.4 billion simulations where it clearly projects the danger the melting glaciers impose on the lakes in and around the Himalayas. As these lakes have the highest volume of water, the threat imposed by them is far greater. Top it off with a heavy population density around the said rivers, the danger of flooding increases by ten folds. When it comes to flooding did you know Venice Flooded With Highest Tide In 50 Years?
Yet another latent harmful effect of glacier meltdown is the fact that the white snow reflects most of the sunrays back to space thus reducing the overall effect of greenhouse phenomenon which is the main cause of heating up the earth. With the depletion of the “White” snows on these mountains, the sun rays rather than reflecting back to space are getting absorbed by the Earth even more. Thereby, further increasing the temperature and leading to warmer and hotter Earth, meaning more flooding and sinking of civilizations. As things stand currently, it is not a premonition of perils when one says Winter is Coming. Rather a hopeful prayer to save from what can be a life-threatening scenario for all of us. It’s quite shocking to know that the Smoke From Australian Bush Fires Has Turned New Zealand Glaciers Brown.
This article was contributed to Curly Tales by Alok Chakraborty. If you have an article or similar experience to share, do write to us on email@example.com