Millions of people are at risk of being underwater due to climate change, but not where you expect

(ORDO NEWS) — Glaciers are melting, putting the lives of millions of people around the world at risk of flash floods, according to a new study.

Most of these people live in India, Pakistan, Peru and China, where there are many glacial lakes and the population is vulnerable to climate disasters.

Glaciers are huge “rivers” of ice that have been formed from pressed snow for millions of years. They flow down the valleys very slowly and sometimes become so large that they form ice sheets that extend to the sea.

But as temperatures rise, glaciers are melting faster than scientists thought, and about half of the world’s 215,000 glaciers could disappear by the end of the century.

The effects can be felt much sooner. Just as warm seawater rising from the depths can melt ice sheets from below, meltwater that pools under glaciers on land can accelerate ice loss.

Where this runoff accumulates in depressions left by retreating ice, deep lakes and fast-flowing rivers can form, rising and falling as a result of continued ice loss.

A new study by climatologist Caroline Taylor of the University of Newcastle in the UK suggests that about 15 million people live downstream of a glacial lake that could erupt at any moment.

Predicting when a glacial lake will actually overflow is very difficult.

Glacial lake outburst floods often occur without prior warning, sweeping away communities in their path, killing hundreds if not thousands of people, and destroying any infrastructure in their path.

The path of destruction can stretch for hundreds of kilometers.

So Taylor and his colleagues assessed the risk that glacial lakes around the world pose to the people living below them.

The researchers collected information about the conditions of glacial lakes, which have been increasing in size, number and volume over the past three decades, as well as communities living downstream.

The analysis showed that the areas of greatest danger are not those with the largest, most numerous, or fastest growing glacial lakes, as might be expected.

Rather, the number of people in a region and their ability to cope with a disaster is central to their risk.

The population of the highlands of Asia is most at risk, as they live closest to glacial lakes. Pakistan and China are in the greatest danger.

In Pakistan, 2.1 million people live in close proximity to glacial lakes at risk of flooding – almost twice as many as in China.

China’s glacial lakes are larger and more numerous, so they can cause more damage to infrastructure.

Recently, the Himalayas have become a hotspot for research into the potential impacts of increasing glacial lakes.

The researchers also singled out the Andes mountains in South America, and especially Peru, which are the third most endangered, as another area of ​​concern.


Contact us: [email protected]

Our Standards, Terms of Use: Standard Terms And Conditions.