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Venezuela may lose all its glaciers


Why is it in the news?

  • According to the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), Venezuela’s last remaining glacier in the Andes, Humboldt (or La Corona), has shrunk to a size that no longer qualifies it as a glacier.
  • This marks Venezuela as the first nation potentially losing all its glaciers.
·        Glacier: A glacier is an accumulation of ice and snow that slowly flows over land.

·        ICCI: Collaborates with governments and organizations to preserve the Earth’s cryosphere, which includes snow and ice on land, ice caps and glaciers, permafrost and sea ice.

Glacier

A glacier is an accumulation of ice and snow that slowly flows over land.

Causes of Glacier Melting

  • Increasing global temperatures contribute significantly to the rapid melting of glaciers.
  • Elevated ocean temperatures accelerate ice melt from below.

Impacts of Glacier Melting

  • Sea Level Rise: NASA estimates that if all glaciers and ice sheets melted, global sea levels would rise by over 60 meters, causing increased coastal erosion and elevated storm surges.
  • Biodiversity Loss: Walruses are losing their habitats, and polar bears are spending more time on land, leading to more conflicts with humans.
  • Disasters: There will be an increase in the frequency of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in regions like the Himalayas.
  • Other Impacts: Reduced water availability in rivers such as the Ganges and negative effects on economic activities like fishing and navigation.

Steps Taken to Protect Glaciers:

Global Initiatives

  • Hindu Kush Himalayan Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP) by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
  • UNESCO: World Glacier Monitoring Services.
  • International Year of Glacier Preservation: Declared for 2025 by the United Nations.

National Efforts in India

  • National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem: Part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), launched in 2008.
  • Research Station ‘Himansh’: Established in the Chandra basin, Himachal Pradesh, in 2016.

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