Day 55 – Q 1. With the help of suitable examples, examine the pattern of losses of ice bodies in different parts of the world.

  • IASbaba
  • August 12, 2020
  • 0
GS 1, Indian Geography, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. With the help of suitable examples, examine the pattern of losses of ice bodies in different parts of the world.

उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की मदद से, दुनिया के विभिन्न हिस्सों में बर्फ निकायों के नुकसान के पैटर्न की जांच करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to put clear data about the pattern of losses of ice bodies in different parts of the world.


As a consequence of industrial revolution and technological developments aftermath the phenomenon of loss of ice bodies in different parts of the world has gained pace. The impact that this event is having on earth is really dangerous and is increasing every day.


Pattern of losses of ice bodies in different parts of the world:

Himalayan Region: Melting of glaciers

  • The Himalayas is considered as the Third Pole. Within it, the core area is known as the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region.
  • According to an international study on the world’s glaciers published in journal Nature Geo-science, glaciers are melting and receding at an alarming rate in the Himalayas and glaciers in the HKH might contain 27 per cent less ice than previously suggested.

Antarctica: Retreating of glaciers

  • Antarctica encompasses land, island and oceans south of 60° latitude. This region stores about 70% of the world’s fresh water in the form of snow and ice.
  • The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has confirmed that the region is one of the fastest warming regions of the planet. Over the past 50 years, it has warmed over 3°C.
  • The annual ice loss in the Antarctic region has increased at least six folds between 1979 and 2017.
  • 87% of glaciers along the West Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have retreated in the last 50 years with most of these showing accelerated retreats in the past 12 years.

Arctic and Antarctic region: Glaciers Melting from the Bottom

  • Glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice at alarming rates, and warmer air isn’t the only cause.
  • Scientists increasingly agree that warm ocean water is seeping beneath the ice and melting it from the bottom up.
  • Breaking of Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica and several smaller ice shelves in the Arctic are a result of global warming.

Ice mass loss in the Russian Arctic:

  • Ice mass loss in the Russian Arctic has nearly doubled over the last decade according to Cornell University research published in the journal Remote Sensing of Environment.
  • Glaciers there are shrinking by area and by height. We are seeing an increase in the recent speed of ice loss, when compared to the long-term ice-loss rate.

South America:

  • The 18,000-year-old Chacaltaya glacier in the Bolivian Andes disappeared. 
  • In Ecuador, an avalanche at the base of the Cayambe glacier occured. Also, an avalanche caused serious damage in the area of Pampa Linda.
  • These isolated avalanches confirm the trend towards the collapse of the Andean glaciers.

This kind of varied pattern of loss of ice bodies is being observed over the world. Global climate change has already brought about immediate observable effects on the planet. Glaciers have shrunk, ice is melting world wide – especially at the North and the South Poles. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic sea ice. Hence, this issue needs a serious attention to save our planet earth. 

Following necessary steps can be taken to contain the ice bodies loss: 

  • In order to stop the temperature from rising, the only solution is to cool the planet as advised by the scientists. For this, the world not only needs to slow down greenhouse gas emissions but also reverse them.
  • In this direction a step is taken  to prevent the severe effects of climate change, the UN signed the Paris agreement in 2016, an international treaty designed to keep the average global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels until greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
  • There are 1,98,000 glaciers in the world and India alone has about 9,000 of them. However, all of these glaciers are mostly unexplored. More detailed research is required to fully understand the state of glaciers and the risk their loss poses.


While immediate action is needed to save the earth, it is not too late to do something about it either. It may be important to revisit the commitments of global climate change before it is too late, as the changes that have already set in due to climate change might continue to cause damage for a several decades, even if solid measures are taken to contain the changes.

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