Himalayan glacier and climate change

himalayan glacier

Awareness on climate change and pollution has increased over the years though very little has been done to reduce pollution and protect environment. While Indian landmass is in the grip of extreme vagaries of climate, Himalayas too are being affected by increase in temperature.
According to latest scientific research that adds to data officially confirming the glacier loss of Indian Himalayas, the snout of the Pindari glacier in the upper himalayas of Kumaon region and the source to Pindar river has retreated over four decades. The findings of joint research by scientists from Kumoun University, Nainital, Uttarakhand, Space Application Centre, Dehradun: and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata may trigger more vigorous scientific study on other glaciers retreat in himalayas according to the report in the journal Remote Sensing and Environment. In an article ‘ Tracking Climate change:scientists confirm massive retreat of Pindari glacier in the Himalayas'(by TV Padma, scroll.in), the affects of retreat have been assessed. The scientists observed retreat of Pindari glacier by visual interpretation of remote sensing data and using global positioning system co- ordinates to determine latest snout position in 2014 and marked snout position using manually digitised records.

Climate change

Scientists compared the retreats of Pindari’s and other Himalayan glaciers and linked the shrinkage to climate change and warned about the implications of water storage as the Himalayas are life line of at least two major rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra which draw water. According to Govindaswamy Bala, climate change expert and professor at the Center for Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, the Pindari’s retreat is in consistent with what is happening in the mountain glaciers all over the world due to climate change. ” The retreat clearly indicates the effects of historical warming” , he said. If the greenhouse gas emissions increase, the retreat may accelerate further.

Holistic approach

Thus, the water storing glaciers are under severe strain. The retreat of himalayan glaciers is jeopardizing our perennial nature of rivers and scientists are explaining the excessive melting of snows in central himalayas by ‘ atmospheric brown cloud’ and its effects. In an article, Kanak Mani Dixit opines of a new ‘ chipko’ like movement to protect environment.( To be an environmental world power,June 5 , 2018, thehindu.com)..

The problem should be tackled by all the south Asian countries. Himalayas must be protected by joint efforts of all the nations involved in the region. If water levels in the himalayan glaciers shrink, the rivers may dry up due to lack of sufficient water from the monsoon rains. Then, the problem of water shortage would extend to almost all months of the year. Hence, safeguarding mountain regions, the forests and glaciers in the region should be addressed urgently.

Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere. Whenever he ponders on the question ‘ who am I?’ , he receives some response in a lyric by Bhupen Hazarika, (Assamese) ‘ ami ek jajabor ‘ translated into Hindi by Gulzar
‘ I am a gypsy
The earth has called me her own
And I have forgotten my home


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