BANGALORE: A comprehensive study of Isro satellite images reveals 75% of Himalayan glaciers are on the retreat, with the
rage shrinkage bein
g 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 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 com
fortable position because you can see that 75% of the glaciers have retreated. Only 8% have advanced and 17% 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, on Saturday in Bangalore. Detailed charts
showing the retreat and images were also displayed at the Isro campus.
The study used satellite images taken by Resourcesat-1 over a period of 15 years (1989-2004). Around 50 experts and 14 organizations were involved in the project which included field trips.
Organisations that were part of a comprehensive study on Himalayan glaciers included G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kashmir University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. The experts also physically visited the glaciers to compar
e the study results.
“Many Himalayan glaciers are still in a healthy condition. They will not disappear. And the cause for retreat of these glaciers is not only high temperatures,” Dr Ajai, group director, Marine, Geo and Planetary Science Group (MPSG), Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, said in Bangalore. The IPCC report had claimed that Himalayan glaciers were likely to disappear by 2035. It was later discovered that the claims were based on popular articles and not peer-reviewed scientific reports.
The present study included the basins
n Himalayan glaciers and the international community is awaiting it. Only in the Alps have a few glaciers been monitored, and their retreat rates are higher,” Ajai added.
This is the second report on glaciers released by Isro rece
ntly. In March 2010, the space organization released a study involving 1,317 Himalayan glaciers which said these glaciers had ret
reated by 16% since 1962. Isro’s satellite images also show a slight increase in the area under mangroves. Source>>
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