Himalayan glaciers retreated by 16 % in nearly 5 decades: ISRO

Last Updated: Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 19:08

Bangalore: Himalayan glaciers retreated by
16 per cent in the last nearly five decades due to climate
change, investigations by India`s scientists in selected
basins in four states has revealed.

The retreat of Himalayan glaciers and loss in a real
extent were monitored in selected basins in Jammu and Kashmir,
Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Sikkim, under a programme on
space-based global climate change observation by Indian Space
Research Organisation.

"Investigations on glacial retreat were estimated for
1,317 glaciers in 10 sub-basins from 1962. This has shown an
overall reduction in glacial area from 5,866 sq km to 4,921 sq
km since 1962, showing an overall de-glaciation of 16 per
cent", says the latest annual report of India`s space
department.

Snow cover monitoring of all basin (except Tawang, Dibang
and Subansiri basins) has been completed, it said.

Atlases for three years are ready and one for the fourth
year is being prepared. Modeling response of Himalayan
cryosphere to climate change has been initiated, ISRO added.

Meanwhile, a study on the impact of temperature and
carbon dioxide (CO2) rise on the productivity of the four
major cereal food crops -- wheat, rice, maize and pearl millet
-- revealed that yield of all of them showed reduction with
increasing temperature.

Assessment after taking field data showed that wheat was
the most sensitive crop and maize the least sensitive to
temperature rise among the four, ISRO pointed out.

Another study for climate change impact on hydrology
was carried out using "Curve Number" approach to study the
change in run off pattern in India at basin level.

"Analysis shows there will be significant increase of
run off in the month of June in most of the major river
basins", the 2009-10 report of the ISRO said.

ISRO has also observed a strong correlation between
agriculture vegetation (mainly rice areas) and methane (CH4)
concentration.

The detailed inventory of methane emissions from Indian
livestock indicated that Indian livestock is a major source of
CH4 emission from the agriculture sector as compared to N2O
(nitrous oxide) emissions, it said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 19:08

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