Skip to content

George Monbiot, Guardian 27 January 2000

The Himalayan glaciers are retreating so fast that the rivers may dry up in the summer by 2040. The results, if that happens, will be catastrophic.

Dr Bob Bradnock, geographer,  Letter to the Guardian, 4 February 2000

Sadly, in seeking to make easy points about global warming [Monbiot] has got his “facts” wrong. Glaciers contribute virtually nothing to the flow of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus rivers, which depend primarily on monsoon rain and to a much lesser extent on snow melt (not glacier melt).

There has been no long term decline in precipitation in the Himalaya. The idea that the glaciers are retreating so fast that the rivers may dry up by the summer of 2040 displays an embarrassing ignorance of the normal hydrological cycle of all these rivers, whose low flow period is in the winter, and which in summer continue to pour water down from the Himalaya.

George Monbiot, The Guardian, 29 July 2009

India is finally lumbering into action on climate change.

Though this country is likely to be hit harder than almost anywhere else by the climate crash, not least because its food production is largely dependent on meltwater from Himalayan glaciers, which are rapidly retreating, it has almost been a point of pride in India not to respond to the requests of richer nations to limit its emissions.

Scientific American today

A growing number of studies based on satellite data and stream chemistry analyses have found that far less surface water comes from glacier melt than previously assumed. In Peru’s Rio Santa, which drains the Cordilleras Blanca mountain range, glacier contribution appears to be between 10 and 20 percent. In the eastern Himalayas, it is less than 5 percent.

“There has been a lot of misinformation and confusion about it,” said Peter Gleick, co-director of the California-based Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security. “

Yes, indeed.