Changes in glaciers in the world’s largest and highest mountain system may have the most immediate effects on nearly half of the world’s population, a University of Idaho glaciologist said here Thursday. Vladimir Aizen, a UI professor of glaciology, said changes in the flow of freshwater from 100,000 glaciers in the Central Asia Mountain System will affect nearly 2.5 billion people. He spoke at a media briefing organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science during its annual meeting in St. Louis. Rising temperatures are causing dramatic changes in the world’s glaciers, scientists studying ice fields in Greenland, Chile and Asia agreed during the briefing. Aizen said changes in water flow caused by climate change could have dramatic influence on water supplies. Better information is needed about both the record of past climate shifts stretching back 200,000 years recorded in Central Asia’s mountain glaciers, Aizen said. That data can guide future decisions and trillions of dollars of investment to build reservoirs or other means of coping with changing water regimes. Aizen said rising temperatures can be expected to narrow the time between the rivers’ annual peaks of runoff from rain and snow […]

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