Bring out the relationship between the shrinking Himalayan glaciers and the symptoms of climate change in the Indian sub-continent.

Published: January 17, 2015

The Himalayan glaciers are shrinking at an alarming rate of 0.50% annually, and are expected to shrink by 45% by 2100, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. The shrinking Himalayas are symptomatic of the adverse effects of the global warming caused by the climate change in the Indian subcontinent.

The Himalayan glaciers are vulnerable to climate change and can set off a series of events that can all affect the countries in the Indian subcontinent. For example, the preliminary reports of a study funded by the USAID have showed that glaciers supply 5% and 30% of the water in the Ganges and Indus respectively. Thus, the melting of the glaciers could impact the levels of water flowing through the major rivers of the Indian subcontinent. This, in turn, could impact the livelihoods of the millions of people living on the Gangetic plains etc. and adversely impact agriculture in these regions. Of all this could eventually lead to lessening food security and put the millions of people in the sub-continent at risk of food shortages. The IPCC report also states that climate change could severely impact the production of rice and maize in India. Also, it is estimated that the agricultural loss due to climate change will amount to over $7 billion by 2030, and will affect the income of 10% of the population.

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