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The Imja glacial lake controlled exit channel in the Everest region northeast of Kathmandu. Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Climate change is likely to melt at least one-third of the glaciers located in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, where Mount Everest is located, imperiling the water supply of more than 1 billion people in the area.

Why it matters: The mountainous 2,000-mile region, known to climate scientists as the planet's vast "Third Pole," is a major water source for 10 of the world’s most important river systems, including the Ganges, Indus, Yellow, Mekong and Irrawaddy. The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment found that even if the world were to meet the Paris climate agreement's most stringent global warming target, one-third of the glaciers in the mountainous region would still melt by the end of the century.

Details: If emissions were to continue virtually unchecked, the report finds that two-thirds of the region's glaciers would disappear by 2100 — as average temperatures in the region spike by 5°C, or 9°F, compared to preindustrial levels.

  • This could be accompanied at first by catastrophic floods, followed by far lower contributions from glaciers to these major river systems.
  • The report was put together by more than 350 researchers and policy scholars from 22 countries and 185 organizations, and it was peer reviewed prior to publication.

What they're saying: "This is the climate crisis you haven’t heard of," said Philippus Wester of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), who spearheaded the report, in a press release.

  • "Global warming is on track to transform the frigid, glacier-covered mountain peaks of the HKH cutting across eight countries to bare rocks in a little less than a century."
  • "It’s not just occupants of the world’s islands that are suffering," Dasho Rinzin Dorji, a board member of ICIMOD from Bhutan, in a press release. "We need to start thinking of mountain regions as climate hotspots worthy of urgent attention, investments and solutions."

Go deeper: Record number of Americans see climate change as a current threat

Go deeper

Updated 41 seconds ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 57 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.