New Delhi: Questioning the theory that Himalayan glaciers are fast receding entirely due to global warming, a top climate official of the country says there could be other reasons as well for melting of snow in the youngest mountain systems of the world.
Akhilesh Gupta, Advisor to the Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, said scientific observation by the government agencies in the past five years showed that rate of receding of Gangotri glaciers has come down substantially.
"....We do not know whether the glacier melting is taking place entirely because of global warming, or there is a natural process," he said and suggested a "deeper study" to minimise uncertainty on the issue.
"....you are seeing a global warming trend. The glacier melting trend is not matching with that of global warming trend. It shows that there could be some other reasons for melting," Gupta told PTI on the sidelines of a function here.
Dismissing suggestions that Gangotri glaciers are receding faster than in any other part of the world, Gupta, who is also Coordinator of the Climate Change Programme, Dept. of Science and Technology, said, "(Scientific) Observations (by the government agencies) in the past 5, 10 years show that the rate of receding has come down substantially."
"It (Rate of receding of Gangotri Glaciers) is slowing down. I am not saying that it has stopped. It is slowing down. Observation showed that it is slowing down," he added.
Gupta said that "some kind of stability" is needed in the subject being debated in every forum of climate change and revealed that the Centre is planning to open a National Centre for Himalayan Glaciology to have a deeper study.
The government has already launched a National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem to evolve management measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan glacier and mountain eco-system under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.
Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yamuna, and other major river systems originate in the Himalayas. Any changes in the Himalayan glacier dynamics and melting are expected to severely affect about 1.3 billion of people.