Himalayan glaciers receding at varying rates: Govt

Last Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 20:00

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

New Delhi: Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the glaciers in the Himalayan region are receding at varying rates in different regions.

In her reply to a written question, the minister said that glaciers recession could be the result from a natural cyclic process and other factors, including, inter-alia and global warming, as revealed in findings in a study carried out by the Geological Survey of India.

However, the government has so far not conducted studies to assess the adverse impact on the Indian sub-continent due to the melting of glaciers in Himalayas and ice in Antarctica, she said.

Earlier, a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, blamed black carbon, mostly produced by burning of agricultural waste and vehicles, for the rapid melting of the glaciers in the Himalayan region.

Melting of glaciers and its consequences

While hundreds of millions of Asians depend on the great rivers that source from the Himalayas for water supply, food and energy; scientists said the size of the glaciers in the watershed of the Indus and the Ganges will decrease during the 21st century as Himalaya glacial melting will peak around 2070. The phenomenon will impact Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Past studies warned that melting of glaciers could lead to shortage of water supplies from major rivers. However, a Dutch scientist argues that this would not affect the flow of the rivers until 2100.

Melting of glaciers will also bring floods and drought in China, India and Nepal affecting agriculture, geo-hazards (a geological state that may lead to widespread damage or risk as a result of glacier-lake expansion, glacier-lake outbursts and flooding) threatening the livelihoods and wellbeing of those in the downstream regions.

First Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 20:00
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