Most of Bhutan’s glaciers could disappear

Bhutan is proud to have white gold (rivers and streams) in the country from which it generates hydroelectric power and make income for its country. However, the most likely scenario could be it would expect not in distant future. The nations gushing resource could be in danger and it was based on the findings of Brigham Young University’s professor, Summer Rupper, in her publication, Geophysical letters.

According to findings, amount of water coming from glaciers could drop by 30 percent. Precisely, her findings also indicated that within next few years, Bhutan’s glacier would vanish by 10 percent. Apparently, local glacial researchers said that, it might result to water resource depletion in the country in times to come.

Hydro-met services director Karma Tshering, who did the study in collaboration, said that Bhutan should now look out for adaption measures. Moreover, he stressed that, how the glaciers are responding to climate change and not only glacial melts are due to climate change but also there are numerous climatic factors, like wind, humidity, precipitation and evaporation.

The research was conducted through glacier mass balance model and it was close to realistic. Mass balance, he explained, was an annual basis of study on how much ice was lost because of melt and how much was gained because of snow. “Snowfall rates in Bhutan would have to be almost doubled to avoid glacier retreat,” he said. “But that is impossible.” The study also indicated that, even if the climate remains steady, Bhutan’s glaciers is likely to shrink.

A news release from Brigham Young University stated that instead of doubling the snowfall rate, warmer temperatures led to rainfall. “If glaciers continue to lose more water than gained, the combination of more rain and more glacial melt increases the probability of flooding — which can be devastating to neighboring villages,” it stated.

Karma Tshering also said that, Professor Rupper’s research indicated that, in long run due to rise in temperature by one degree Celsius, glaciers would shrink by 25 percent. Gradually, there would be drop by 65 percent in annual water melt. He said the study helped Bhutan in terms of finding out what sort of glacier mass balance were in effect in Bhutan Himalayas, how much rivers and streams were fed by glaciers and whether there would be problems in water resources in future.

Bhutan should come out with other alternative measures to overcome such natural disaster and should prepare perceptively before anything happens.


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