Beyond the continually grim news from the north and south poles is the melting of the “third pole,” known as the Hindu Kush Himalaya region. Spreading over 2,000 miles across eight nations (from Afghanistan to Myanmar), these mountainous lands are home to the third-largest stores of ice on the planet and provide water to hundreds of millions of people.
Under the most optimistic conditions, a new report found that over a third of the ice will vanish by the century’s end. But under more extreme climate scenarios — wherein global climate efforts fail — two-thirds of these mighty glaciers could disappear, with overall ice losses of a whopping 90 percent.
“Glacier-wise, it’s not a great story,” Joseph Shea, one of the report’s lead authors and an assistant professor of environmental geomatics at the University of Northern British Columbia, said in an interview.