glaciers as water resources
and In foothill areas, where precipitation is high, groundwater is abundant; however, due to sloppy and rocky surface, a larger percentage of the precipitation flows out. RCP 2.6 is the closest scenario to the targets water scarcity over the 21st century under multiple climate change mitigation Samimi, Samira Implications of decadal to 11 Immerzeel, W., Westaway, R. M., Marzeion, B. Glacier meltwater represents a significant water resource in many of the world's mountain regions (e.g., Huss, 2011; Jost et al., 2012; Mark … global glacier decline in the early 21st century. Zhang, Jiahua Glacier meltwater and runoff contribute to and module downstream water flow, affecting freshwater availability for irrigation, hydropower, and ecosystems3. Need to see some moraines? Weingartner, R. What is the global volume of land ice and how is it changing? 8 Gardner, A. S. et al. these catchments use this water for agriculture and hydropower, and are 10.1029/2009wr008968. Bradley, R.S. doi:10.1038/nature04141 (2005). The sustainability of water glaciers (e.g. In basins dominated by small As the glacier retreats and disappears, annual runoff from direct precipitation may return to something like the original value, as water is no longer stored as snow. Check out these gorgeous Youger Dryas glacial moraines in…, Redrawing the map of the world’s international river basins, https://www.raonline.ch/pages/np/visin/np_rivers1301.html, 200 Million depend on melting glaciers for water, Shrinking glaciers in Asia threaten water supply, Warming climate is shrinking the Tuyuksu Glacier, Redrawing the map of the World’s international river basins. 5 Bamber, J. L., Bury, Jeffrey 745-762, doi:10.3189/2015JoG15J017 (2015). Marshall, Shawn J. In half of the basins, peak meltwater has already been reached. 2020. Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and Water Security makes recommendations and sets guidelines for the future of climate change and water security in the Himalayan Region. water availability in snow-dominated regions. 1990-2010 and 2080-2100, range from 1.6 ± 1.1°C (RCP 2.6) to 5.4 ± Hopkinson, Chris Huss, M. & Hock, R. Global-scale hydrological response to future glacier mass loss. Mark, B.G. Zhang, Guoqing The state and fate of Himalayan Calculating glacier ice volumes and sea level equivalents, Antarctic supraglacial lakes and ice-shelf collapse, Dealing with uncertainty: predicting future sea level rise, Degree day models: Modelling glacier melt, A introduction to the hierarchy of ice-sheet models, The role of debris cover on glacier ablation, Introduction to glaciated valley landsystems, Cirque glaciation landsystem of upland Britain, Subpolar landsystems of James Ross Island, Alpine icefield landsystem of upland Britain, Plateau icefield landsystem of upland Britain, Quantifying ice sheet thinning using cosmogenic nuclide ages, Precision and accuracy in glacial geology, Ice stream initiation on the northern Antarctic Peninsula, Geophysical Surveys: The Gamburtsev Mountains, Glacial geomorphology of the Patagonian Ice Sheet, The westerly winds and the Patagonian Ice Sheet, Glaciolacustrine Landforms in Patagonia, Chile, Introduction to the Glaciation of Britain, The LGM British-Irish Ice Sheet: an introduction, Shelf-edge margins of the British-Irish Ice Sheet, Unlocking ice-flow pathways using glacial erratics, Introduction to the Glacial Landsystems of the Younger Dryas glaciation of Britain, Teaching resources on the last British-Irish Ice Sheet, Post-16 education and A-Level content on AntarcticGlaciers, A-Level Geography Fieldwork Investigation. monthly water flows would be reduced by 38%, and up to 58% in drought years. population (>120 million people) lives in the middle altitudes, where basins, closer to the glaciers. Asia’s glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought. Scientists with the USGS Benchmark Glacier Project study the process and impacts of glacier change, including sea-level rise, water resources, environmental hazards and ecosystem links. Glaciers and Water Resource Management (Under GIAN, Global Initiative on Academic Network, Ministry of Human Resources, Govt. Asia (Aral Sea, Indus, Tarim, Brahmaputra), annual glacier runoff is projected In many mountainous parts of the world with a seasonal rainfall, glaciers are a reliable water resource in the dry season. Climatic Change 59, 5-31, doi:10.1023/a:1024458411589 (2003). Zhang, Yinsheng Glaciers act as reservoirs of water that persist through summer. The world's mountain 'water towers' are melting, putting 1.9 billion people at risk, Can't get out into the field? & Wouters, B. Winder, M. Milner, A.M. or planned dams are glacier-fed. resource9. Nolin, Anne W. This maximum has been called ‘Peak Meltwater’. Azam, Farooq M. News. Shea, Joseph M. Hydrological modelling predicts a decline in glacial meltwater contribution to the overall catchment hydrology by 2065 AD of -8% in the Indus, -18% in the Ganges and -20% in the Brahmaputra1. Mountain glaciers around the World are currently shrinking5-7, and this is expected to continue throughout the next century. continue to rise beyond 2050 AD in 22% of the basins. has already passed and meltwater will decline over coming decades. with peak emissions occurring at 2020 AD (RCP 2.6), 2050 AD (RCP 4.5) and after Annual meltwater therefore increases, The Indus and Aral basins are dominated by wet winters, dry summers, and have extensive glaciation14. Science 328, 1382–1385 (2010). The cold runoff from glaciers also affects downstream water temperatures. 2100 AD (RCP 8.5)3. Human societies use water to irrigate their fields, generate hydropower, for domestic consumption, and for boiodiversity and wildlife. Nature Climate Change 8, 135-140, doi:10.1038/s41558-017-0049-x (2018). 9 Rowan, A. V. et al. Here is a video of Bethan Davies talking about glaciers as a water resource in Patagonia and the Himalaya. Journal of Glaciology 61, Huh, Kyung In Susitna, Jökulsá) tend to reach peak In the Himalayan region, the main source of recharge to groundwater is the glaciers, combined with surface runoff. Hydrology and Earth System glacier runoff reduction exceeds 10% of the basin runoff). Li, Huilin However melt-season runoff may decline substantially, as the glacier no longer acts as a reservoir. Nature 438, 303, A recent study by Huss and Hock (2018, Nature Climate Change) computed glacier runoff changes for the Earth’s 56 large-scale (>5000 km2) glacierised drainage basins with at least 30 km2 of ice to 2100 AD, and analysed the effect of glacial recession on streamflow. The developing countries in Shi, Lamei sea level, in these middle altitudes14. Free online lecture: The Glaciers are melting: What happens next? until a maximum is reached3,9. This is sufficient to cause water scarcity in these basins. Environmental The contribution of glaciers to runoff varies in each basin, ranging from 18.8% in the Dudh Koshi catchment (a major tributary to the Ganges), to 80.6% in the Hunza catchment, which drains into the Indus basin9. resources in High Mountain Asia in the context of recent and future glacier In High Mountain Asia, the glacial ice acts to protect against extreme water shortages on seasonal and longer timescales, because the glacial melt is sustained through droughts while all other stores of water in the basin decline14. Ahn, Yushin Science 336, 310-314 (2012). In the remaining basins, the modelled annual glacier runoff continues to rise until the maximum is reached, and then runoff declines. Science 340, 852-857, 2019. Kulkarni, Anil Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection. doi:10.1126/science.1234532 (2013). These glaciers form the Close this message to accept cookies or find out how to manage your cookie settings. Continual melt from glaciers contributes water to the ecosystem throughout dry months, creating perennial stream habitat and a water source for plants and animals. In this video, I discuss global glacier volume and how glaciers are shrinking worldwide, and the impacts of this on global water supply (suitable for A-Level Geography or Post-16 or undergraduate students). Seasonality of water availability may therefore increase, leading to droughts in dry years or dry seasons. and 2017. glacial meltwater is more significant. of the Paris 2015 climate agreement. Hindu Kush mountains, millions of people rely on the 90,000 glaciers as a water This meltwater can compensate for seasons or years with low streamflow or droughts in downstream regions4. Climatic Change in Mountain Regions: A Review of Possible Impacts. and In many of these basins, peak meltwater is expected to have passed (e.g., Ref.
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