WATCH BBC video, Himalayan glaciers under threat:
And the biggest question of all is When?
When will Himalayan glaciers all melt down and vanish?
The answer is: nobody knows. Depends on what happens with climate change, and with human greed. In 2007, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put out an extensive Assessment Report, running to 2,800 pages, which asserted that climate change is accelerating: ice is melting faster, glaciers are discharging ice to the sea faster, temperature is rising faster—and that humans are the principal driver of all this change.
Climate change skeptics attacked the report based on a number of small errors. One of these errors was that Asian glaciers would disappear by the year 2035. The source of the error was a transposition of numbers from 2350 to 2035. In other words, another 300-year reprieve for Himalayan glaciers—perhaps. But it's equally possible that the ice will disappear much sooner—if the last 300 years are any indication.
Henry Pollack, a key member of the IPCC, puts it this way:
"During the past three centuries, rapid population growth and the rise of industrial economies have pushed the relationship
between ice and people to a tipping point. Soon, for the first time in human history, we may live on a planet without ice."
—from the book, A World Without Ice