New Delhi: Even as India ponders about the way forward to minimise the catastrophic effects of climate change, latest data from the ISRO has confirmed that sources of India’s perennial rivers are slowly contracting - the Gangotri glacier has receded by 1.5 km in the past 30 years.
As per a report published by a leading English daily on Saturday, Gangotri – source of India’s mightiest river Ganga – has been receding since long and has receded by 15-20 metres in the last decade. What’s comforting, in a way, is that the pace of melting of Gangotri ice has slowed down a bit in recent years.
However, there’s growing concern about the future of the glacier as its fate is thought to be linked with the global warming phenomena.
The report, quoting a senior ISRO scientist, reveals that the satellite imagery has also captured that Alpine vegetation has now started growing at a higher altitude than it used to a few decades ago.
Undoubtedly, the Himalayan glaciers are at the centre of the climate debate. Yesterday, the whole Nepalese Cabinet, including the PM, had met at the Mt Everest base camp to highlight the threat to the majestic mountains and lives of billions of people who live downstream.
Here in India, there has been a bit of controversy recently, after Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh claimed that glaciers were not melting because of climate change.
Interestingly, the ISRO, while agreeing to the melting glaciers, also appears uncertain about the exact reason behind it. Scientists assert that, although it has been seen that low lying glacier have been melting in the past two-three decades but it is still early to say whether it is happening due to climate change only. They feel that it may very well be part of the inter-glacial period and other phenomena related to it.