If the Himalayan glacier did melt how would that affect the water supply in India?



  1. 0 Votes

    Let’s talk: The World’s Natural Water Cycles.

    Water evaporates from lakes and rivers. Plants “transpire” water that adds to the moisture in the air. But most of the water in the air was just evaporated from the ocean. No problem.

    That atmospheric water does all kinds of interesting things. Among them are rain, snow, sleet, hail. That’s when water for various reasons falls out of the atmosphere. Some places water falls, it’s absorbed by plants or the ground. Other places it goes into snow packs. If it’s cold enough those snow packs will not completely melt in summer, and so there’s always going to be snow cover.

    All very well and good. But water is HEAVY. Especially when it’s been collecting for 1,000s of years. When that frozen water starts slipping slowly down a valley, its called a glacier. Ah-ha! If you think of it as a very slowly flowing frozen river, then you get a perpective on your question.

    A glacier is just a reservior of water. A lot of that water has been there for 100 or even 1,000s of years. If the water in the Himalayas all came down on India at once, it would be a bad thing. That’s not going to happen, but what is going to happen with global warming is that the glaciers will get smaller or even disappear. Fast enough to make a difference to people on the planes of India? Nope. There’s so much rain in India already it would probably not be noticed.

    So what’s the big deal? People use vanishing glaciers as a measure of how messed up the planet is getting. Whether a glacier is big or small doesn’t make much difference, except maybe to the few people living in the very extremes of the mountains. They may find their convenient winter water reserviors have vanished, and are no longer available in the summer, as they melt. That could actually make some few places uninhabitable. But more likely, with climate change, they’d get more rain, less cruel winters, and overall they might come out ahead. 

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