Study: Asia’s glaciers face massive melt from global warming

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In this May 20, 2015 file photo, a Kashmiri nomad tends to his herd of sheep and goats as he crosses a glacier near Dubgan, 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Srinagar, India. Scientists say a third of the ice stored in Asia's glaciers will be lost by the end of the century even if global warming stays below 1.5 degrees Celsius. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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In this Feb. 22, 2016 file photo, international trekkers pass through a glacier at the Mount Everest base camp, Nepal. Scientists say a third of the ice stored in Asia's glaciers will be lost by the end of the century even if global warming stays below 1.5 degrees Celsius. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa, file)
Updated 13 September 2017
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Study: Asia’s glaciers face massive melt from global warming

BERLIN: Scientists say one-third of the ice stored in Asia’s glaciers will be lost by the end of the century even if the world manages to meet its ambitious goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, affecting water supplies for millions of people on the continent.
In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers in the Netherlands also examined what would happen if average global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. They concluded that almost two-thirds of the ice in Asia’s glaciers could vanish, if no effort is made to curb climate change.
“In regions where glacier melt water is an important part of the river flow, the retreating glaciers can become a problem,” Philip Kraaijenbrink, a University of Utrecht geographer who led the study, said.
“There are many people living in basins that have their rivers originating in Asia’s high mountains, such as the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra,” Kraaijenbrink said. “In these basins, the river water is used for irrigation of cropland, drinking water and for hydropower dams.”
The 1.5-degree target was set at the international climate conference in Paris two years ago, but experts say it would require a massive shift to the world economy.
In total, the researchers compared 110 climate simulations and found that high mountain glaciers in Asia tended to experience greater levels of warming than the global average. All glaciers analyzed already are losing mass except those in the Kunlun Mountains of western China.
Taking into account the effect on melting levels of rubble covering some of the glaciers, they concluded that the amount of ice lost from Asian glaciers is almost proportional to the amount of warming they experience, though with some regional variations.
“Even if temperatures stabilize at their current level, mass loss will continue for decades to come until a new equilibrium is reached,” the researchers said.
Kraaijenbrink acknowledged that a scenario in which global warming remains under 1.5 degrees Celsius is optimistic.
“We are aware that more extreme, business-as-usual scenarios are possibly a more likely future,” he said.
In a comment published along with the study, J. Graham Cogley of Trent University in Canada said the researchers’ glacier model “has some innovative features that might raise eyebrows among glaciologists, but it is difficult to find fault with it as a pioneering effort.”
“The authors have shown that achieving the 1.5 Celsius target will conserve a substantial fraction of Asia’s water resources and that, if we fail in this regard, we will pay in direct proportion to the extent of the failure,” Cogley said.


British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

Updated 5 min 14 sec ago
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British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

  • The MP of the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship
  • Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians

A prominent British politician has called for Asma Assad, the British wife of the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, to be stripped of her UK citizenship. 

The foreign affairs spokesman of the centrist party, the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship after her social media posts in support of her husband’s regime.

 “The first lady of Syria has acted not as a private citizen but as a spokesperson for the Syrian presidency... Boris Johnson has urged other countries to do more about Syria, but the British government could say to Asma Assad, either stop using your position to defend barbaric acts, or be stripped of your citizenship,” Brake was cited by British daily the Guardian as saying.  

Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians.

She posted a message saying: “The presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic affirms that what America has done is an irresponsible act that only reflects a short-sightedness, a narrow horizon, a political and military blindness to reality and a naive pursuit of a frenzied false propaganda campaign.”

Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi, also joined the call to revoke her British nationality, calling Asma “very much part of the propaganda machine that is committing war crimes.”

Asma was born and raised in London to Syrian parents and left the UK in 2000 to live in Syria where she married Assad.