mckaysavageA glacier in Nepal.

Summer Rupper, a geologist at Brigham Young University, traveled to Bhutan. Her goal in visiting the Himalayan nation in southern Asia was to predict how its glaciers were likely to respond to various climate scenarios over the coming decades. The answer: No matter what, the glaciers are likely to shrink substantially.

Rupper’s most conservative findings indicate that even if climate remained steady, almost 10 percent of Bhutan’s glaciers would vanish within the next few decades. What’s more, the amount of melt water coming off these glaciers could drop by 30 percent. …

In fact, snowfall rates in Bhutan would need to almost double to avoid glacier retreat, but it’s not a likely scenario because warmer temperatures lead to rainfall instead of snow. If glaciers continue to lose more water than they gain, the combination of more rain and more glacial melt will increase the probability of flooding — which can be devastating to neighboring villages.

Note the point in that first paragraph: “even if climate remained steady.” In other words, even if the climate didn’t get any warmer, which is almost certainly not going to be the case.