Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-8dvf2 Total loading time: 0.241 Render date: 2022-10-03T02:32:14.830Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

2 - Melting Glaciers, Threatened Livelihoods: Confronting Climate Change to Save the Third Pole

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2022

Swarnim Waglé
Affiliation:
UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, New York
Kanni Wignaraja
Affiliation:
UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, New York
Get access

Summary

INTRODUCTION

Earth's third largest storage of frozen water after Antarctica and the Arctic lies in the high mountains of Asia. This has prompted the region's nickname: the Third Pole. Centred on the Tibetan Plateau, this region contains every peak on Earth taller than 7,000 metres. The Himalayan arc flanks the region's south, starting from northern Myanmar in the east, spanning several thousand kilometres (km) to the southern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, the northern edge of northeast India, and across Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal and the western Himalayan states of India. Separated from the Western Himalaya by the arid Ladakh Valley, the Karakoram range extends north-westwards, connecting to the Hindu Kush Mountains on the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. Together these ranges form the Hindu Kush Karakoram Himalaya (HKH). The Hengduan and Quilian Mountains sit at the eastern side of the Tibetan Plateau, with the Kunlun on the northwest and north. The Pamir Mountains extend north from the Hindu Kush, shared by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Further north are the Tien Shan Mountains, shared by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and extending eastwards around the northern edge of the arid Tarim Basin. Figure 2.1 shows a map of High Mountain Asia and its sub-regions.

High Mountain Asia's frozen water, its cryosphere, is stored in several different forms, including in snowfields, glaciers, permafrost and seasonal ice on lakes and rivers. In 2015, glaciers covered almost 100,000 square km3 of High Mountain Asia, containing 3,000-4,700 cubic km of ice (Bolch et al., 2019), with just under half in the Himalaya and Karakoram (Nie et al., 2021). During winters, large parts of High Mountain Asia experience snowfall, while many lakes and high altitude stretches of rivers freeze. When glaciers retreat, vacated depressions often fill with water, forming glacial lakes. The exact number of glacial lakes is not firmly established, and varies in time; estimates range from 4,260 to 8,200 for the HKH region, including 1,466 to 2,323 lakes in Nepal alone (Bolch et al., 2019).

Type
Chapter
Information
The Great Upheaval
Resetting Development Policy and Institutions in the Asia-Pacific
, pp. 39 - 73
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×