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Artificial Glaciers May Combat Glacial Melting in the Himalayas

Nov 27, 2016 05:07 AM EST
Himalayan Mountains
The Himalayan Mountains is a source of life for farmers and livestock in Nepal and India.

(Photo : Getty Images)

A scientist has engineered a way to possibly solve the problems of glacial melting in the Himalayas through artificial glacier towers called an ice stupa. The continuous glacial melting in the Himalayas has created a problem regarding water sources being scarce, which farms and wildlife strongly depend on.

For the past decades, the Himalayan Mountains have experienced the side effects of the changing global climate. It has been recorded that glaciers from the mountains have been continuously melting and new glacial formations have been retreating farther from their original place. The yearly melting of the glaciers from the mountains provides a water source for irrigation of farms and vegetation at the foot of the mountains. The further retreat of the glaciers has been creating an imbalance in the Hydrologic cycle within the region.

As the glaciers retreat farther away, water scarcity is experienced by the locals living in the area. Sonam Wangchuk, a scientist and an engineer, has found a way to create frozen ice towers to provide meltwater for animals and farms during spring. These ice stupas are mount-like structures which are created from a pipe vertically placed to shoot out water which would be frozen into a mound.

An ice tower prototype has been formed for testing and has successfully brought about 150,000 liters of water, enough to irrigate crops and tree saplings in the area. According to reports, Wangchuk is expected to build roughly twenty more of these ice stupas across the region to help alleviate water scarcity, empowering the locals. Future ice towers will be made from stream water, which will be transported kilometers from the region through pipeline systems.

This innovation has started to be a recognized innovation worldwide. Wangchuk has even been invited for talks and a test drive on possibly creating these for Switzerland in the future as glaciers from the Alps have also been recorded to be retreating alarmingly. 

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