Sunday, December 31, 2006

Retreating glaciers threatening most of Asia

Army blamed for Siachen meltdown ... India's water resources may dwindle ... ‘Today Siachen is weeping, tomorrow the world will cry’ ... Glaciers are dying ... Melting glaciers have become a threat to major rivers

These articles are discussing retreating glaciers, with a focus today on those in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. This area accounts for nearly one quarter of China's landmass, stretches into the Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is home to the source of many big rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Bhramaputra and Ganges, giving it the nickname "water tower" of China.

The India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir is having an effect on these glaciers. The Army blamed for article above discusses how one study indicates it is military activity which is causing most of the retreat.

But taken in whole these articles paint a very scary picture for asia in general. Under threat are the river levels in these major river valleys, which are home to a couple billion people. “Siachen is weeping, tomorrow the world will cry,” .. indeed. These river valleys are the homeland to ancient civilizations, to high cultural and spiritual achievements, and to all those people.

Without water, or more accurately with less water, their land will be unable to feed these people.