Thursday, April 12, 2012

52 glacial lakes in Himalayas termed dangerous

Dawn (Pakistan): At least 52 glacial lakes in Gilgit and Astore districts have been identified as ‘potentially dangerous’ by a project sponsored by the European Union and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project report titled “Managing climate risks in the Himalayas: A community-centric approach” says that in the sub-basins of Swat, Chitral, Gilgit, Hunza, Shigar, Shyok, upper Indus, Shingo, Astore and Jhelum (covering the Hindukush Himalayan region) there are 5,218 glaciers with 2,420 glacial lakes.

The report says the Hindukush Himalayan (HKH) region is “one of the most glacierised regions of the world” and monitoring of the size of the glacial lakes there has revealed that quite a few of them are expanding at an alarming rate due to accelerated glacier retreat and melting associated with climate change. Work under the project was also carried out in Bhutan, India and Nepal.

...The report also says the HKH region is one of the most hazard-prone regions of the world because of its susceptibility to earthquakes, landslides, floods, droughts, wildfires and cloudbursts.

The physical and socio-economic characteristics of the Himalayan region combined with changing risk factors such as environmental and climate change, population growth and economic globalisation have rendered the region highly vulnerable, according to the report....

A lake near Manang, Nepal, shot by Liran Ben Yehuda, public domain

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