Science & technology
Himalayan glaciers will soon be history
Publish Date: Mar 31, 2014
Himalayan glaciers will soon be history
The Himalayan glaciers are fast melting away
  • mail
  • img

PARIS, - The UN climate panel on Monday said Himalayan glaciers, whose meltwater is vital for hundreds of millions of people, could lose between half and two-thirds of their mass by 2100.

The estimate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revisits a blunder in its last overview that tarnished the group's reputation when it warned the glaciers could vanish by 2035.

In a massive Fifth Assessment Report on climate impacts released in Yokohama, Japan, the IPCC said Himalayan glaciers would shrink by 45 percent by 2100, if Earth's average surface temperature rose by 1.8 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Under a far warmer scenario of 3.7 C (6.66 F), the reduction would be 68 percent.

The benchmark year -- the starting point from which these reductions are calculated -- is 2006.

The two estimates derive from the average of 14 computer simulations in a scientific study published in 2013, the IPCC said.

"It is virtually certain that these projections are more reliable than an earlier erroneous assessment (in 2007)... of complete disappearance by 2035," the report said.

In 2007, the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report provided a political jolt on climate change, warning of the risk to weather systems from heat-trapping fossil-fuel emissions.

The report helped the IPCC win a co-share of the Nobel Peace Prize and gave momentum to the ultimately unsuccessful effort to forge a world climate pact in Copenhagen in 2009.

But the IPCC's reputation was hurt when several mistakes came to light.

One was that the Himalayan glaciers could be lost by 2035 if warming continued unabated -- an assessment later traced to a magazine article, and which the panel acknowledged as erroneous in January 2010.

It also erred in judging how much of The Netherlands lies below sea level.

The errors were seized upon by climate sceptics as evidence that the IPCC was flawed or biased.

An independent probe, ordered by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, instructed the IPCC to carry out reforms but did not dispute the report's core findings.

The two warming scenarios used in the 2013 study are the so-called RCP4.5, a middle-of-the-road simulation which sees an average hike of 1.8 C in a range of 1.1-2.6 C; and RCP8.5, at the top end of predicted warming, which sees an increase of 3.7 C in a range of 2.6 to 4.8 C.

UN members have set a target of 2 C maximum warming over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

Many scientists say that on current trends, the planet could be on track for a catastrophic 4 C.



The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
PlayStation 4 console sales top 30 million
Sony on Wednesday announced that PlayStation 4 video game consoles have sold at a furious pace, topping 30 million units worldwide....
Google gets 348,085
Since a top European court ruled people have a right to be forgotten online, Google has received 348,085 requests for tidbits to vanish from search results....
Japan rocket launches its first commercial satellite
A Japanese rocket lifted off Tuesday and successfully put the national space programme's first commercial satellite into orbit, officials said, as Tokyo tries to enter a business dominated by European and Russian companies....
US scientists work to breed malaria-free mosquitos
US researchers have carried out genetic tweaks to malaria-carrying mosquitos so their offspring feature genes that block the parasite which causes the disease, opening the way to eradicating it....
Virtual reality app brings crisis zones closer to home
Bombed-out buildings tower overhead, and rubble is piled high in the deserted streets of Syria's onetime economic hub Aleppo. Gunshots can be heard in the distance....
Virtual reality app brings crisis zones closer to home
Bombed-out buildings tower overhead, and rubble is piled high in the deserted streets of Syria's onetime economic hub Aleppo. Gunshots can be heard in the distance....
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter