“Rising demand and climate crisis threaten entire mountain ecosystem, say scientists”
“A quarter of the world’s population are at risk of water supply problems as mountain glaciers, snow-packs and alpine lakes are run down by global heating and rising demand, according to an international study.
The first inventory of high-altitude sources finds the Indus is the most important and vulnerable “water tower” due to run-off from the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Ladakh, and Himalayan mountain ranges, which flow downstream to a densely populated and intensively irrigated basin in Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan.
The authors warn this vast water tower – a term they use to describe the role of water storage and supply that mountain ranges play to sustain environmental and human water demands downstream – is unlikely to sustain growing pressure by the middle of the century when temperatures are projected to rise by 1.9C (35.4F), rainfall to increase by less than 2%, but the population to grow by 50% and generate eight times more GDP.”
Jonathan Watts reports for the Guardian December 9, 2019.
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