The latest observation of a team from the Almora-based G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development states the Gangotri glacier is rapidly melting.
The team of the Institute, which has taken the charge of observation of Himalayan glaciers, particulary Gangotri, since 1999, visited the glacier between June and October, this year.
“Our team has been observing the melting of snow shrouds of the Gangotri glacier for around three year now. The recent observations concluded the rapid disintegration of the ice of the glacier.” said Kireet Kumar, the Scientist in the Glacial Study Centre of the institute.
Dr. Kumar said rapid melting of the Raktvarn, Chaturangi, and Thelu — tributary glaciers of the Gangotri, which are placed at a higher altitude than the Gangotri and are towards its right — as the reason behind the heavy disintegration.
Gangotri : Shrinking and retreating
‘Estimation of retreat rate of Gangotri glacier using rapid static and kinematic GPS survey,’ titled 2008 research report which was published in Current Science stated : ‘The Gangotri glacier is retreating like other glaciers in the Himalayas and its volume and size are shrinking as well.’
The glacier has retreated more than 1,500 metres (m) in the last 70 years. Post 1971, the rate of retreat of the glacier has declined. Dr Kumar said the latest data projects that post 2000 the average rate of retreat of the glacier per year has been about 12 to 13 m.
Dr. Kumar said global warming was not the only factor, but, it was an important factor that was resulting in glacial retreat.
The Gangotri is one of the largest Himalayan glaciers located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. With a height of about 7,100 m above sea level, the glacier is 30.2 kilometre (km) long and has a width that varies between 0.5 and 2.5 km. The Bhagirathi river, which is one of the main tributaries of the Ganga, originates from the glacier.
News Src : The Hindu, Dehradun
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