75% of Himalayan glaciers retreating: ISRO

Satellite images show that 75% of Himalayan glaciers have retreated over a period of 15 years.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Satellite images collected by Indian Space Research Organisation`s (ISRO) Resourcesat-1 show that 75% of Himalayan glaciers have on average retreated by 3.75km over a period of 15 years (1989-2004).

"I can`t say we are in a comfortable position because you can see that 75% of the glaciers have retreated. Only 8% have advanced and 17% are stable," Dr Ajai, group director, Marine, Geo and Planetary Science Group (MPSG), Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, told a leading English daily.

The project was undertaken to break myths about the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. It was commissioned by the Department of Science and Ministry of Environment and Forests. Around 50 experts and 14 organizations studied 2,190 glaciers covering the basins of the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra, as well as parts of China, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan.

This report has come on the heels of the IPCC controversy. In 2007, IPCC claimed that the Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035. The statement was later retracted when it was discovered that the finding was based on a quote given to journalists.

"Many Himalayan glaciers are still in a healthy condition. They will not disappear. And the cause for retreat of these glaciers is not only high temperatures," Dr Ajai said.

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