Third Pole Area

What is Important?
UPSC perspective:
Mains:Objectives, significance and climate change issues 

Why in News?

Scientists conducting research in the third pole area have warned of disturbing global warming trends, and how, if they continue, they could affect the lives of 1.3 billion people. The glacier has lost 60% of its mass and shrunk 250 m since 1982.


*The Himalayas, which we Indians have considered invincible and unconquerable, have been noticeably impacted by climate change.

* The greater Himalayan region, called “ the roof of the world”, contains the most extensive and rugged high alti tude areas on earth. 

*These are the largest areas covered by glaciers and permafrost outside the Polar regions and the area is now being called the Third Pole.

*The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region spans an area of more than 4.3 million square kilometres in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. 

*The Third Pole contains the world’s highest mountains, including all 14 peaks above 8,000 metres, is the source of 10 major rivers, and forms a formidable global ecological buffer.

Adverse impact

*China and India are the two leading producers of rice in the world with most of the harvest coming from the Ganges basin, and the Yangtze and Yellow River basins. 
*But with the spectre of climate change, the Stern report (2006) has said, “China’s human development could face a major U-turn by mid century unless urgent measures are taken to ‘climate proof’ development results.”


*The Third Pole region has enormous socioeconomic and cultural diversity; it is home to many different ethnic communities speaking more than 600 languages and many more dialects.

* It is endowed with rich natural resources and contains all or part of four global biodiversity hotspots. 

*The mountain resources provide a wide range of ecosystem services and the basis for the livelihoods to the 210 million people living in the region, as well as indirectly to the 1.3 billion people -- one fifth of the worlds’ population -- living in the downstream river basins. 

*More than 3 billion people benefit from the food and energy produced in these river basins that have their origin in the mountains. 

Climate change issues 

*Climate change has become a major concern in the Third Pole. Mountain systems are particularly sensitive to climate change and the Third Pole region is home to some of the people most vulnerable to these changes in the world. Changes in the river systems and their basins have impacted directly on the wellbeing of millions of people.
*The rate of warming in the Third Pole region is significantly higher than the global average, and the rate is higher at higher altitude, suggesting a greater vulnerability of the cryosphere environment to climate change. This trend is expected to continue.
*Climate change projections suggest that all areas of South Asia are likely to warm by at least 1°C by the end of the century, while in some areas the warming could be as high as 3.5-4°C. The life and livelihoods of the people in the Third Pole region is challenged due to climate change, and the stability and prosperity of the region affected by the Third Pole is at risk, which will have implications for all of Asia and for the world.
*However, there is still little knowledge of this situation, and its potential implications, outside the immediate vicinity; a special effort is needed to raise awareness of the fragility of the mountain social-ecological system.
Third Pole Area Third Pole Area Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on October 22, 2018 Rating: 5

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