GB, KP on the Verge of Glacial Lake Outbursts Due to High Temperatures!


by Omama Anwar

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Senator Sherry Rehman, federal minister for climate change, highlighted the urgent need for precautionary measures among district administrations, local organizations, and communities in response to the anticipated rise in temperatures in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). 


It is expected that the temperatures in these regions may increase by 4-6 degrees above normal. It raises concerns about the heightened risk of flash floods and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). 

In a news release issued on Thursday, the minister emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety, particularly as the upcoming week coincided with the celebration of Eidul Azha, a period when an influx of tourists is anticipated in the northern regions due to the holidays.

Recognizing the increased footfall, the minister stressed the significance of heeding early warnings and making preparations. She emphasized that individuals must remain attentive and take necessary measures to ensure the well-being of both residents and visitors during this festive period. 

Pakistan, due to its geographical location at the confluence of three mountain ranges, namely the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Hindukush, holds the distinction of having the most extensively glaciated areas outside of the Polar Regions.

The minister expressed concern over alarming scientific warnings regarding the future of these glaciers, projecting a substantial reduction of 75 percent in their volume by the end of this century. 

She said: “Such a significant decline in glacial mass poses a severe threat, as it can lead to extreme flooding and water shortages for communities residing downstream.” 

She further highlighted that the government acknowledged the risk of GLOFs in its National Climate Change Policy and National Determined Contribution. 

To actively address these challenges, the government has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement the GLOF-II project.