Pioneer: For the first time in India, scientific tests will be conducted on the Himalayan glaciers in Uttarakhand to measure the impact of carbon soot on glaciers. Scientists from Indian Space Research Organisation, Uttarakhand Space Application Centre and Space Physics Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram, will conduct these tests slated to begin September 24, USAC director MM Kimothi said on Tuesday.
Speaking to The Pioneer, the USAC director said there is lack of accurate scientific data in India to ascertain the effects exerted by global factors and regional factors on the melting of glaciers and other repercussions of climate change. By measuring the effect of carbon soot on the snow glaciers in the Himalayas, this study aims to ascertain the impact of regional factors on the melting rate of glaciers.
According to Kimothi, scientists from ISRO, Space Application Centre (Ahmedabad), PSL Thiruvananthpuram and USAC will start conducting these tests from the Satopanth glacier on Saturday. The team will then conduct tests on other glaciers including Gangotri, Pindar and Milam during the two-year study.
Diesel fuels are the main source of carbon soot in most developed countries while, in developing countries, the burning of wood, animal dung, vegetable oil and other biomass fuels creates this substance. The soot absorbs sunlight and consequently heats the surrounding air reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground, resulting in a cooler surface. The heated air can create an unstable atmosphere resulting in rising air, clouds and rainfall to areas heavily concentrated with soot. The rising air is often balanced by an increase in sinking air in neighboring regions, which tends to prevent cloud formation and rainfall.
An example of this rising and sinking air can be seen in parts of China with southern China has experienced rising air forcing increased rainfall and flooding due to soot and other pollutants, while in northern China sinking air has increased the occurrence of dust storms and has resulted in droughts.
Soot has also been seen to cause climatic changes in higher latitude areas where ice and snow are more common. The study to be started in Uttarakhand will be the first in India aimed at ascertaining the impact of regional factors among others causing climate changes responsible for melting of glaciers.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>