At the top of the world a climate disaster is unfolding

Last Modified: Sat Jul 30 2016 00:48:47 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)
  • 1 billion
    lives could be disrupted based on inputs from a remote research station deep in the Himalayas. The station lies in the heart of a region called the Third Pole, an area that contains the largest area of frozen water outside of the North Pole and South Pole.
  • 10
    of Asia's largest rivers including the Yellow, the Yangzi, the Mekong, the Irrawaddy and the Ganges — depend on the Third Pole as the source of the water that flows in them and their fertile deltas.
  • 1.3 billion
    roughly, the number of people in China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan that depend on the glaciers at the Third Pole — and the glaciers are melting fast.
  • 10 years
    Number of years that Professor Qin Xiang, one of China's leading glaciologists, has been making the journey to the Third Pole and studying the region.
  • 30 years
    from now, water from the Third Pole will dramatically decrease to the point that will impact agriculture and life in the countires through the rivers flow according to Professor Qin Xiang.
  • 4,600 metres
    above sea level - location of the remote research station in what is known as the Tiger Valley in the Qilian Mountains. Professor Qin has been in charge of the Tiger Valley station since 2005.
  • 500
    + glaciers have completely disappeared, as the temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees in the area, more than double the global average. The biggest ones are retreating rapidly.
  • 2x
    The rate of melting of glaciers at the Third Pole in the last decade according to Professor Qin. The real worry is the melt will set off a chain of climate disasters like the recent epic floods in Pakistan and China, or unprecedented heatwaves in India, or increasing desertification across the region.