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Glacier Lakes Swollen by Global Warming Threaten Millions

Glacier Lakes Swollen by Global Warming Threaten Millions
Glacier Lakes Swollen by Global Warming Threaten Millions. Credit: PsamatheM / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications warns that catastrophic flooding from glacier lakes formed by the effects of climate change threatens millions of people around the world.

According to the findings of the research, there are over 9 million people who reside in the area that is at risk of being flooded by probable glacial lake outburst floods. The bulk of these people lives in four countries: India, Pakistan, China, and Peru.

Glacier lakes posing threat due to blockage

Glacier lakes are especially hazardous because, in most cases, they are blocked by ice or silt comprised of loose rock and other debris. The accumulation of water, followed by its release through these obstacles, might result in catastrophic floods farther downstream.

Over the course of the previous century, this kind of flooding has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in addition to the damage to towns, infrastructure, and animals.

The study found that the number of lakes formed from glaciers worldwide has increased by 50% in the past 30 years due to global warming. Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius since preindustrial times. However high-mountain regions have warmed at twice that pace.

Caroline Taylor, the author of the report and a doctoral student at Newcastle University, England said, “It’s not the areas with the largest number or most rapidly growing lakes that are most dangerous. Instead, it is the number of people, their proximity to a glacial lake, and, importantly, their ability to cope with a flood that determines the potential danger.”

Flooding in Pakistan due to climate change

Pakistan is home to 7000 glaciers spread throughout the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalaya mountain ranges. This past summer, persistent rains followed by a two-month heatwave caused glaciers in northern Pakistan to melt.

It resulted in raging torrents that destroyed thousands of kilometers of roads and railway tracks. It also destroyed bridges and washed away entire villages. The melting of the glaciers was caused by the melting of glaciers, which was caused by the melting of glaciers.

The solution to looking out for

The research emphasizes how urgently it is necessary for national and international organizations to take action in order to reduce the threats that are presented by glacial lake outburst floods.

This may involve the installation of early warning systems, the consistent monitoring of glacial lakes, and the building of protective measures like dams and barriers in order to avoid or lessen the effects of floods.

Stephan Harrison, an expert on the Impact of Climate Change at the University of Exeter said, “It’s an important paper.” He further said, “It alerts policymakers to the likely impact of future climate change.”

As the consequences of climate change continue to become more severe, it is more important than ever that we take the measures that are required to safeguard communities and stop the future destruction of life and property.

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