Record Glacier Melt Down Leads to Drought

By Stephen Leahywinter-melt-gatineau.jpg

Mar 17 (IPS) – Glaciers, the world’s freshwater towers, continue their record-breaking meltdown, a new U.N. report shows.

The average rate of thinning and melting more than doubled between 2004 and 2006, reports the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), a centre based at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

“The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight,” said Wilfried Haeberli, director of the WGMS.

The accelerated glacier meltdown is a clear indicator that climate change has taken hold and millions if not billions will be affected, warned Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

Glaciers feed the rivers that people are completely dependent on — 360 million on the Ganges in India and 388 million on the Yangtze in China alone. Reduced water or irregular water flows will make it more difficult to grow crops in these regions and other parts of the world. Rapidly melting glaciers also produce floods and raise sea levels. On average, there is one metre water of fresh water in every 1.1 metres of glacier ice. Continue reading