Vanishing glaciers: How to track a meltdown | HT Tech

Vanishing glaciers: How to track a meltdown

Across a dangerous river valley in remote Himachal and up icy slopes, HT joins a mountaineering team to survey a shrinking glacier that may vanish in 25 years. Reshma Patil reports.

| Updated on: Nov 04 2007, 04:14 IST

About 12,400 feet high in Himachal Pradesh, a windswept patch of land 30 minutes away from a shrinking glacier will soon host a rugged laboratory of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), open to scientists to continuously record how global warming melts a glacier.

About 9,000 glaciers in the Indian Himalayas feed Asia's mightiest rivers, affecting almost 500 million people's sustenance, but they are the world's least understood glaciers.

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Feeling the heat, the department of science and technology (DST) is now planning a new institute for snow, ice and glaciology. "We will also strengthen existing glaciology research centers and set up Himalayan field stations for evidence-based analysis,'' DST secretary T Ramasami told HT. "The project report is awaiting Cabinet approval."

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Last month, the Sikkim government named a panel to study the impact of retreating glaciers on its water resources. On October 15, the IMF pitched for a National Glacier Monitoring Authority to principal secretary TK Nair in the PMO. "We also proposed field stations at benchmark glaciers,'' says S Hasnain, chairman of IMF's scientific committee and head of the Sikkim study. "We need strategic monitoring of not one but many glaciers,'' says scientist Anil Kulkarni at Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad.

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First Published Date: 04 Nov, 01:03 IST