UN more cautious on Himalayan ice

Published On: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 | Source: NRNA IRELAND

The UN climate panel on Monday said Himalayan glaciers, whose meltwater is vital for hundreds of millions of people, could lose between half and two-thirds of their mass by 2100. The estimate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revisits a blunder in its last overview that tarnished the group's reputation when it warned the glaciers could vanish by 2035.

In a massive Fifth Assessment Report on climate impacts released in Yokohama, Japan, the IPCC said Himalayan glaciers would shrink by 45 percent by 2100, if Earth's average surface temperature rose by 1.8 degrees Celsius. Under a far warmer scenario of 3.7 C (6.66 F), the reduction would be 68 percent. The benchmark year—the starting point from which these reductions are calculated—is 2006. The two estimates derive from the average of 14 computer simulations in a scientific study published in 2013, the IPCC said. In 2007, the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report provided a political jolt on climate change, warning of the risk to weather systems from heat-trapping fossil-fuel emissions.