Recession of Himalayan glaciers alarming: ISRO scientists

IANS
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Analysis of satellite images have revealed an "alarming recession" of glaciers in the Bhilangna basin of the Garhwal Himalayas from 1965, scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have said.

Home to 9,575 glaciers (as per a Geological Survey of India inventory) the Himalayas are considered to have the largest concentration of glaciers outside the Polar regions. Snow and melt water from the glaciers is the major source of water for the large river basins, the Indus and the Ganges.

The Bhilangna basin is bounded by the Bhagirati group of glaciers in north and west and the Mandakini group of glaciers in east. The basin supports 33 glaciers, of which Khatling is the largest. The water melt from Khatling and its tributary glaciers in the basin contribute to the source of Bhilangna river -- the southernmost tributary of the Bhagirathi.

The ISRO scientists found that this main glacier had receded 4,340 meters since 1965 and had fragmented into multiple valley glaciers resulting in the total loss of 10 per cent of glacier area.

Glacier status in Bhilangna basin was assessed from high resolution imageries obtained in 1965 by the Corona satellite of the United States and comparing these with photos taken in 2014 by ISRO's Cartosat satellite. Additionally, data from the Linear Imaging Self-Scanning Sensor of ISRO's Resourcesat-2 satellite launched in 2016 were also used for the analysis.

"All the glaciers in the basin show significant recession from 1965 to 2014," Babu Govindha Raj, ISRO scientist and lead author of the report, published in the open access publication "Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk, 2017", told this correspondent.

"However, recession of the Khatling glacier from 1965 to 2014 is alarming in comparison to that of neighbouring Bhagirathi and Mandakini group of glaciers in the basin," Raj added.

The satellite image interpretation and field evidence show that morphology and dynamics of the Khatling glacier has a strong influence on its faster recession, says the report. "The glacier fragmentation creates smaller glaciers that are more prone to faster melting than the larger trunk glaciers."

South-facing glaciers in the Indian Himalayas show more melting because they receive more solar radiation than those facing north due to their orientation. "In 1965, the ablation area of Khatling trunk glacier orientation was towards the south. This might have enhanced the incidence of solar radiation and resulted in faster melting of the glacier ice," the authors say.

"Furthermore, the debris cover of the Khatling glacier is very thin in comparison to that of other glaciers in Bhilangna and this boosts the solar radiation received by the glacier resulting in more melting."

According to the authors, "The alarming retreat and fragmentation of valley glaciers into smaller glaciers may have profound impact on the future sustainability of Himalayan glaciers and water availability."

The report says that Himalayan glaciers that have been in a state of retreat at various rates since 1960 "are showing reliable evidence of climate change. However, due to lack of meteorological observations and continuous glaciological data, it is difficult to establish the relationship of climate change through glacier dynamics."



Express your comment on this article

Submit your comments...
     
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are strictly personal and IndiansinKuwait.com does not hold any responsibility on them. We shall endeavour to upload/publish as many of the comments that are submitted as possible within a reasonable span of time, but we do not guarantee that all comments that are submitted will be uploaded/published. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten other members; have obscene, unlawful, defamatory, libellous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content; or have spam, commercial or advertising content or links are liable to be removed by the editors. We also reserve the right to edit the comments that do get published. Please do not post any private information unless you want it to be available publicly.
Image

India - Global host of 2018 World Environment Day

India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day which is taking place on June 5, 2018. The t

Image

Students should proactively indulge in co-curricular activities - Raghavi Vishwanath an alumni of FAIPS Kuwait

When youngsters reach a pinnacle it is always a pleasure to learn more about their lives and how th

Image

A thought for Ramadan

Sunday, the 13th of May, 2018 Festival greetings, Happy Sunday greetings Mother’s Day greetings

Image

Kuwait Cricket - A Sense of accomplishment: Herschelle Gibbs

In the recently concluded ICC World Twenty20 Asia Qualifiers ‘A’ , the Kuwait's national crick

Image

Raindrops - Usual and Unusual Stories of love by Dr. Navniit Gandhi

Dear Readers, Dr Navniit Gandhi has penned a collection of 19 true, usual and a little unusu

Image

Love is in air when he sings, Shahbaz Aman

What could be the appropriate adjective to describe this man; singer; composer; or an unusual embod

Image

Don’t Want a Day… Want a Deal!

I am a Woman and like me, there are countless other women out there who do not want Days to commemo

Image

My heart, my soul and all my sincerity is for this country – Ajiaz Ahmad Sarfaraz

“By serving this great country for more than three decades, I feel that the word ‘great’ fully appl

Image

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work! – Nomaan Sidiq Budroo, Captain of Kuwait U-19 Cricket Team

Kuwait Cricket’s National U 19 team returned home after their best ever performance in the ICC U 19

Image

A Walk in the Garden…

Our garden in Salmiya is an exciting learning-place… Every walk in it, teaches something every time

Image

True sense of Indian luxury at Asha’s Restaurant

Who doesn’t like a luxurious dine out once in a while with families and friends? What if it is coup

Image

Zafran Indian Bistro with innovative Indian Cuisines

Indian Cuisines are packed with interesting ingredients and enticing aromas that make it super deli

Image

New Menu at Zafran Puts Contemporary Spin on the Traditional

Fans of Zafran can rejoice as the popular Indian bistro launches a new menu this week. The front

Image

A nostalgic and delicious train journey in Kuwait at Kerala Express Restaurant

A train journey during our annual vacation in India is definitely a nostalgic experience for many o

Image

22 Yards Cricket Academy Summer Camp For Cricket Coaching

22 Yards Cricket Academy, a professionally run Cricket coaching center having its 16th year of succ

Image

KCWA organized ‘Play on Indoor Sports’

Kuwait Canara Welfare Association (KCWA), for the first time organized an Indoor “Play on Sports” e

Image

Don Bosco Oratory (DBO) Beat Kuwait Independents Hockey (KIH) 1/0 in The First 2018 DBO Hockey Tourunament

Kuwait, Ahmadi – 12 May 2018, in what would one say “breathless showpiece” DBO and KIH. It was anot

Image

Kuwait Cricket set to host ICC World Twenty20 Asia Qualifier ‘A’

Whilst this is not the first International tournament to be hosted in Kuwait, this particular editi

Image

Himanta Biswa Sarma elected BAI President

Assam Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was on Tuesday unanimously elected the Badm