Kathmandu: There is evidence of the retreat of glaciers in the eastern Himalayas but the river flows will not decline significantly in the coming decades, an international institute said on Monday.
"Multiple researchers presented evidence of the retreat of glaciers in the eastern Himalayas, but suggested that river flows will not decline significantly in the coming decades as melt rates and precipitation are projected to increase," the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) said.
It said Karakoram was also highlighted as a region, where glaciers were not retreating and future research would attempt to explain this anomaly.
ICIMOD's observations came after 240 scientists from 26 countries came together here from March 1 to 6 for an international symposium on glaciology in high-mountain Asia.
It was organised by the International Glaciological Society (IGS) and hosted by ICIMOD to share the latest findings on glaciers, glacier change, glacier contribution to river flow and mountain hazards in the region.
"We are making progress on understanding the region as a whole, but when we look at glacier change in more detail, we realise the picture is not yet clear," a statement quoting Joseph Shea, a glacier hydrologist at ICIMOD, said.
"Glaciers in high mountain Asia are the highest on earth, and we have built a strong foundation for future research through this symposium," IGS president Doug MacAyeal said.
"However, questions remain about the role of debris cover and black carbon in glacier melt and the limited number of high-altitude precipitation observations," he said.
"We, along with our partners, are working to develop the most accurate and complete picture of the glaciers," ICIMOD Director General David Molden said.