The future looks bleaker in terms of supplies, as it has been found that glaciers in Central Asia are shrinking faster than ever, which worries a good number of population who might be deprived of their main source of water in time.
Ice glaciers along the Tien Shan mountain’s range are quickly melting due to the ever growing temperature during the summers, caused by climate change. Since the 1960s, the constantly increasing temperatures have seen to a 27% decrease in their mass, losing an average of 5.4 billion tons of ice each year.
For the last 50 years, the numbers have grown more worrying, with the pace accelerating in the 1970s and 1980, which has brought grave concerns to the people of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, who are dependent on Tien Shan’s glaciers for water source.
According to glaciologist, Daniel Farinotti, from the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, the region sees to very dry and cold winters, that provide little snow at such heights on top of the mountain. Thus, most of its glaciers are growing during the summer, when more frozen precipitation can fall and freeze upon the summit.
However, global warming temperatures have seen to an alarming decrease, and it’s apparently not stopping there. If the growth remains at an average 3.6o Fahrenheit per year from 2021 to 2050, the glaciers stand at high risk of losing around 50% of their mass within the next 35 years. It would severely cut down on water supplies for the affected areas, which might spark the flame of conflict.
More than a billion people around the world get over half of their drinking water from melted snow and glacier ice, especially most in Asia and South America. Such a drastic decrease could potentially lead to severe consequences on the entire population, as they might soon become a resource to fight over among the arid regions of Central Asia.
Tian Shan, in particular, has seen its glaciers melting four times faster than the global average, and scientists are concerned that little else could be done, except continue the fight against global warming. It’s just one of the many around the world, which has seen significant loss with potentially damaging consequences.
The early 21st century has been deemed to have an unprecedented decline in glaciers, according to a study by World Glacier Monitoring Service, which not only places many animal species at risk, but might cause dangerous consequences to the human population as well, if problems persist as they have until now.