Glacial%20melt%20in%20the%20Hindu%20Kush/%20Himalayas/%20Tibetan%20Plateau-%20A%20case%20study%20in%20the%20geopolitical%20and%20environmental%20security - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The temperature increase in the Himalayan region has been greater than the ... The resulting glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) can cause damage to life, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Glacial%20melt%20in%20the%20Hindu%20Kush/%20Himalayas/%20Tibetan%20Plateau-%20A%20case%20study%20in%20the%20geopolitical%20and%20environmental%20security

Glacial melt in the Hindu Kush/ Himalayas/
Tibetan Plateau- A case study in the geopolitical
and environmental security
IES - Climate Change Security at Copenhagen -
II The Contribution of the Global Security
Community to Success Brussels, 7 -8 October 2009
  • Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, ndc, psc (Retd)
  • President
  • Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security
    Studies (BIPSS)

(No Transcript)
Glacial melt---
  • The temperature increase in the Himalayan region
    has been greater than the global average of 0.74
    C over the last 100 years (IPCC 2007).
  • The higher the altitude the more rapid the
  • This ongoing rapid warming has a profound effect
    on the Himalayan environment.
  • Retreat of glacier tongues has led to the
    formation of glacial lakes.
  • The resulting glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF)
    can cause damage to life, property, forests,
    farms and infrastructure.

Glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas
The melting glaciers in the Himalayas
  • Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster
    than in any other parts of the world.
  • In Northwest China, 27 of the glacier area will
    decline by 2050 (equivalent to an ice volume of
    16,184 km3), as will 10 to 15 of the frozen soil
  • IPCC made a forecast that if current trends
    continue, 80 of Himalayan glaciers will be gone
    in 30 years recent estimates suggest this loss
    in 50 years.
  • The current trends of glacial melt suggest that
    the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra and other rivers
    across the northern Indian plain could likely
    become seasonal rivers in the near future.
  • Between 20 and 40 reduction of runoff per capita
    is likely by the end of 21st century in the NW
    provinces of China. 

Himalayan glaciers are shrinking more rapidly
than elsewhere
Source Dyurgerov and Meier 2005
Snow-cover change in the Himalayas
Snow-cover change in the Himalayas
Glacial melting in Tibetan Plateau
  • Glacier recession on the Tibetan Plateau has
    quickened, triggering a series of environmental
  • Winters are not as cold as before.
  • Warmer climate has sparked an onset of epidemic
  • Water in summer is no longer as clean as before.
  • Tibetan plateau is home to an expanse of glaciers
    measuring 59,425 square kilometers.
  • But now the glaciers are shrinking by 131 square
    kilometers yearly.

Rongbuk Glacier in Tibet
The melting glaciers impacts on water
  • As glaciers melt, river runoff will initially
    increase in winter or spring but will eventually
    decrease as a result of loss of ice resources
  • This is likely to be unfavourable for downstream
  • This could seriously affect half a billion people
    in the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya region and a quarter
    billion people in China who depend on glacial
    melt for their water supplies. 

High dependence of major South Asian countries on
transboundary surface water
River basins of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas
Experts Opine that--
  • Glacier change is an indicator of climate change
  • Regular monitoring of glaciers including mass
    balance is necessary
  • Monitoring of glacial lakes and adaptation and
    mitigation measures for potentially dangerous
    glacial lakes are required.
  • The development of a dynamic and regional
    database on glaciers and glacial lakes will
    greatly enhance the understanding of global and
    regional climate trends.
  • Regional cooperation is necessary for systematic
    research on snow and ice and water 

Impacts on Human Life
  • The most marginalized (mountain communities and
    ethnic minorities, etc.) and vulnerable groups
    will suffer the most from.
  • Impact on biodiversity and affect on peoples
    diet, nutritional status and nutrition related
    health problems.
  • Infectious diseases, particularly the insect
    vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue
    fever and Japanese encephalitis are sensitive to
    the impact of climate change.
  • Agriculture, particularly rain-fed agriculture is
    highly sensitive to climate change.
  • Increase in temperature may reduce the crop
    yield, particularly of cereal crops, and
    therefore cause food shortage.

Geopolitical and Environmental Security aspect
  • Conflict over possession of natural resource.
  • Socio-political and economic unrest.
  • Migration en masse.
  • Regional disintegration.
  • Inter and/ or Intra-state conflict.
  • Loss of biodiversity.
  • Loss of human habitat.
  • Extinction of species.
  • From Nuclear Winter to Carbon Summer.

Affects of global warming in Bangladesh
  • If nothing is done to curb emissions, sea levels
    could climb more than three feet.
  • 15 of Bangladesh could be under water if sea
    water rises 1 feet.
  • The mangrove forests of Sundarban islands, a
    world heritage site, the Bengal tiger and
    hundreds of bird species may disappear.
  • Tens of millions of Internally Displaced
  • Bangladeshs food supply is already threatened by
    flooding due to melting glaciers in some areas
    and droughts due to heat in others.
  • Environmental issues can also fuel violence and
    political unrest.

Sea Level Rise Worst Case Scenario
  • Need to reduce scientific uncertainty.
  • Reduce risk from seasonal and flash floods.
  • Support community-based adaptation and disaster
  • Need to promote regional co-operation in water
    resource management.
  • Need to do policy advocacy at national and
    regional levels. 

Thank you
Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security
Studies (BIPSS)
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