The rescue operations for the tragic glacier burst which killed 11 and triggered massive flooding in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda Rivers in Uttarakhand causing grave damage to houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project is still underway. Reportedly, over 203 people went missing after the tragedy.

As per the latest reports, the rescue teams have been conducting non-stop operations and have rescued 15 people from the first tunnel using heavy machinery, near Tapovan in Chamoli, whereas rescue operations for the second tunnel is still going on.

A glacial lake burst, a cloud burst or an avalanche, the impact of climate change or “development” — scientists are not sure what triggered the sudden surge of water near Chamoli in Uttarakhand Sunday morning.

The scenario being most talked about was what glaciologists like to call a GLOF, or glacial lake outburst flood. It is a reference to flooding caused downstream due to a breach in a glacial lake.

Retreating glaciers, like several in the Himalayas, usually result in the formation of lakes at their tips, called proglacial lakes, often bound only by sediments and boulders. If the boundaries of these lakes are breached, it can lead to large amounts of water rushing down to nearby streams and rivers, gathering momentum on the way by picking up sediments, rocks and other material, and resulting in flooding downstream.

GLOF events are not unusual, but their impact depends on the size of the proglacial lake that burst, and location. The breach can be caused by several reasons — in this particular case, for instance, an avalanche was reported in the region two days ago.

If GLOF is the cause of the accident, it is one of the major disasters that happened in the region due to climate change.


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2 Comments

  1. MC
    My thanks to Counter Currents Collective for bringing out a timely and a plausible holistic analysis of the situation connecting a distinctive separate incident to the more global menace of Climate Change which we homo sapiens have foisted on our survival.

    Over a decade ago I have been advancing the Fisherman’s Net theory on global happenings and phenomena. It applies to environmental changes (atmospheric pollution – CO2, CH4 (Methane) GH gases in general) as much as economic events as well. The theory simply says, when there is a pull on the net, it will be felt in the remotest part of the net too, albeit small. If the pull is greater the resultant effect on the other end is proportionately higher. In other words no significant event on this Globe will remain absolutely isolated.

    Long ago. A wise Latin American writer wrote, “Poverty anywhere, is a threat to prosperity everywhere”. Today we can justifiably paraphrase it, climate damage anywhere is a threat to climate health everywhere. In economics we saw that when the Chinese consumption went down American exporters suffered. So what happens in Chinese economics affects other parts of the world in a big or a small way. One may find umpteen exceptions to this rule. Nevertheless the fact is, it is a reality whether you agree or like it or not.
    Now, applying this theory to Climate change, we will be forced to notice that everything is interconnected in some way or the other. Many years ago I wrote a comment on the Antarctica ice melt when a huge chunk of ice was about to break up. It not only broke up but also melted adding billions of gallons of water into the oceans resulting in sea rise. Now the recent Arctic ice melts have accelerated extensively further billions to sea-level rise in the Atlantic, as confirmed by experts. No wonder then the prediction, that if this trend continues in few decades many coastal cities on the Globe could disappear.

    No scientific mind would want to deny that the current glacier ice collapse in the Himalayas was invariably due to temperature rise in consonance with similar glacier melts elsewhere on our planet. Why this perpetuating temperature rise, is because of global climate change caused by GH gases plus. Additionally, what is beyond human control, is the fact that our Sun in the past decade and a half has spewed gigantic streams of energy periodically causing all the planets in the solar system to turn faster on their axes. Our Earth is now rotating faster on its axis than ever before. This in turn could or might explain the augmented rise in geothermic energy released from the sea bed, so much that Antarctic whales have begun to disappear from their usual Riviera, among other reasons. So the Himalayan disaster should not shock us due to our own Global human stupidity, carelessness, disregard and disrespect towards nature.

    In future one may hope that engineers will have to necessarily consult the climatologists before they build dams across rivers originating from Himalayan mountains. The Uttarkhand disaster should also be an eye- opener to the rest of the world, especially with nations housing glaciers.

    Retrospectively, Our Creator had bequeathed us a wonderful blue-green planet. Are we to continue extinguishing it and ultimately ourselves?

    George Chakko, former U.N. correspondent, now retiree in Vienna, Austria.
    Vienna, 09/ 02/ 2021 11:50 am CET

  2. My thanks to Counter Currents Collective for bringing out a timely and a plausible holistic analysis of the situation connecting a distinctive separate incident to the more global menace of Climate Change which we homo sapiens have foisted on our survival.

    Over a decade ago I have been advancing the Fisherman’s Net theory on global happenings and phenomena. It applies to environmental changes (atmospheric pollution – CO2, CH4 (Methane) GH gases in general) as much as economic events as well. The theory simply says, when there is a pull on the net, it will be felt in the remotest part of the net too, albeit small. If the pull is greater the resultant effect on the other end is proportionately higher. In other words no significant event on this Globe will remain absolutely isolated.

    Long ago. A wise Latin American writer wrote, “Poverty anywhere, is a threat to prosperity everywhere”. Today we can justifiably paraphrase it, climate damage anywhere is a threat to climate health everywhere. In economics we saw that when the Chinese consumption went down American exporters suffered. So what happens in Chinese economics affects other parts of the world in a big or a small way. One may find umpteen exceptions to this rule. Nevertheless the fact is, it is a reality whether you agree or like it or not.

    Now, applying this theory to Climate change, we will be forced to notice that everything is interconnected in some way or the other. Many years ago I wrote a comment on the Antarctica ice melt when a huge chunk of ice was about to break up. It not only broke up but also melted adding billions of gallons of water into the oceans resulting in sea rise. Now the recent Arctic ice melts have accelerated extensively further billions to sea-level rise in the Atlantic, as confirmed by experts. No wonder then the prediction, that if this trend continues in few decades many coastal cities on the Globe could disappear.

    No scientific mind would want to deny that the current glacier ice collapse in the Himalayas was invariably due to temperature rise in consonance with similar glacier melts elsewhere on our planet. Why this perpetuating temperature rise, is because of global climate change caused by GH gases plus. Additionally, what is beyond human control, is the fact that our Sun in the past decade and a half has spewed gigantic streams of energy periodically causing all the planets in the solar system to turn faster on their axes. Our Earth is now rotating faster on its axis than ever before. This in turn could or might explain the augmented rise in geothermic energy released from the sea bed, so much that Antarctic whales have begun to disappear from their usual Riviera, among other reasons. So the Himalayan disaster should not shock us due to our own Global human stupidity, carelessness, disregard and disrespect towards nature.

    In future one may hope that engineers will have to necessarily consult the climatologists before they build dams across rivers originating from Himalayan mountains. The Uttarkhand disaster should also be an eye- opener to the rest of the world, especially with nations housing glaciers.

    Retrospectively, Our Creator had bequeathed us a wonderful blue-green planet. Are we to continue extinguishing it and ultimately ourselves?

    George Chakko, former U.N. correspondent, now retiree in Vienna, Austria.
    Vienna, 09/ 02/ 2021 16:40 hrs CET