Shafaat Rasool’s article “Climate Change and Kashmir’s Water Security” was an excellent read. Mr. Shafat highlighted how climate change is altering our water resources, especially glaciers. However, there is another aspect that needs to be addressed. A couple of research studies on glaciers cannot become baseline for predicting the ground situation. In recent times, it has become customary to associate every environmental issue with climate change and global warming, though there are ample evidences that reflect involvement of multiple factors. Question arises whether climate change has shown its symptoms in Kashmir or is it still in its infancy.
Are Kashmir Himalayan glaciers receding or not. According to Vijay Kumar Raina, formerly of the Geological Survey of India, measurements taken from few glaciers can only called as bogus reporting. World concern had been raised on the reporting of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when latter stated that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 as a result of global warming. However, this claim was deemed as a mistake by the officials of IPCC and found it was based on 1999 media review (IPCC, 2010). It is also pertinent to mention that majority of glaciologists agree that Himalayan glaciers are losing mass. Nevertheless, the pace of melting is slow and there is general agreement that Himalayan glaciers will be safe for the next couple of hundred years.
Faulty research, lack of expertise and difficult terrain is seen as an obstacle for unraveling the major changes in Kashmir Himalayan glaciers. According to Andreas Kaab, a geosciences expert argued that inefficient field measurements, paucity of weather station, difficult terrain and political tensions make research difficult in Himalyan region. In order to unravel the melting pattern of Kashmir Himalayan glaciers, it has been stressed upon that all glaciers whether small or big must be considered for investigation simultaneously for long-term basis (say 10 to 20 years). Such an endeavor would allow different stakeholders to devise more effective adaptation and mitigation strategies and help develop a regional observation system.
The debate over climate change and global warming has been always contentious one. In recent years Climate skepticism has increased, especially in developed countries. Climate skeptics vigorously challenge any evidence which supports the climate change.
To conclude, it is necessary that we should steady steps and do not rush to conclusions. Long monitoring is needed in future to analyze the melting pattern of glaciers. It is an extraordinary challenge for researchers, but it is necessary to understannd that whether glaciers are really melting or not.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five 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 the 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>>