Fighting Climate Change In The Shadow Of Mount Everest
Formed in the shadow of Mount Everest, the turquoise depths of Nepal's Imja glacial lake would be a breathtaking miracle of nature to behold -- were they not a portent of catastrophic floods.
Everest, Nepal, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Dec, 2018 ) :Formed in the shadow of Mount Everest, the turquoise depths of Nepal's Imja glacial lake would be a breathtaking miracle of nature to behold -- were they not a portent of catastrophic floods.
Scientists warn that as climate change causes Himalayan glaciers to melt at an alarming rate, lakes like Imja could swell further and eventually collapse, triggering a terrifying deluge in Nepal, an impoverished nation at the mercy of a warming planet.
Those tasked with staving off disaster fear a 'glacial lake outburst flood' -- sending torrents of water, mud and rock hurtling downstream -- could reach as far as Nepal's densely populated southern plains, wiping out roads, vital energy projects and entire villages in its path.
"The risk is getting bigger," said Arun Bhakta Shrestha, a climate scientist from the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.
"These valleys are getting more populated, and infrastructure is developing rapidly." Hundreds of these lakes have appeared out of nowhere in the Himalayas in recent decades. A 2014 survey found one quarter of Nepal's glaciers shrunk between 1977 and 2010, leaving behind 1,466 lakes.
Twenty-one have been identified as potentially dangerous and Nepal is racing to stay a step ahead of disaster, as global warming reshapes its mountain geography.
"As a small country, there is little we can do to stop what is happening to our glaciers," said Rishi Ram Sharma, the director general at Nepal's department of hydrology and meteorology.
"But we have to do what we can do to adapt and protect our people."