Bangalore, India: A comprehensive study of ISRO satellite images revealed 75 percent of Himalayan glaciers are on the retreat, with the average shrinkage being 3.75km during the 15 years under study. The grim findings come after raging controversy over claims in the 2007 IPCC report of Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035, which were later retracted.
The project, which studied 2,190 glaciers, was commissioned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Department of Space, Government of India, to break myths about the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. However, the findings are sure to raise concern over the health of Asia’s ‘water towers’.
“I can’t say we are in a comfortable position because you can see that 75 percent of the glaciers have retreated. Only 8 percent have advanced and 17 percent are stable. We are going to publish the data soon, probably in the Current Science journal,” said Dr Ajai, group director, Marine, Geo and Planetary Science Group (MPSG), Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad.
The study used satellite images taken by Resourcesat-1 over a period of 15 years (1989-2004). Around 50 experts and 14 organisations were involved in the project which included field trips. G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kashmir University and Jawaharlal Nehru University participated in this study.
The present study included the basins of the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra, as well as parts of China, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan. This is the second report on glaciers released by ISRO recently. In March 2010, the space organisation released a study involving 1,317 Himalayan glaciers which said these glaciers had retreated by 16 percent since 1962.
Source: Economic Times