The cool environs and the serenity in the atmosphere particularly in Kashmir valley may no longer be a reality as one of the important asses, the glaciers in this part of the world are witnessing a fast shrinkage.
The reasons can be varies but it is becoming a reality that glaciers are witnessing a change that will not only transform the natural surroundings but will have an impact on the regions topography, geography and the most important-the economy as well.
According to a first-of-its-kind study which used satellite data to find that over 1,200 glaciers in the Himalayan region saw an annual reduction in mass of 35 centimetres (cm) on average between 2000 and 2012. These changes were witnessed in the glaciers located in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, was carried over the region, including areas across the Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC), and in all around 12,243 glaciers were studied.
The results have been stunning as the glaciers in the Pir Panjal range are melting at the higher rate — more than one metre per year — while as the glaciers in the Karakoram range are melting relatively at slower rate, around 10 cms per year. The changes are impacting both the thickness and mass of these glaciers suggesting that the region can witnesses’ huge seasonal changes in future.
The past one decade of observation has pointed out that the region has lost about 70.32 gigatonne of glacier mass, which can have a far greater bearing on the environs and other sectors.
The continued melting of glaciers will have significant adverse impacts on every sector of economy in the region as well. This phenomenon will also be vital for determining the sustainability of water resources in the south Asian region. Besides, will have a far reaching impact on the water, food and energy security with the consequent adverse effect on livelihoods of the people here.
The researchers explained that the main drivers of the glacial melt in the Himalayan region are increasing temperatures and decreasing snow precipitation, resulting from greenhouse gas emissions from industrialisation and increasing use of fossil fuels the world over.
Another damaging prediction that has come out of the study is the increased temperature that the region may have to witness in case the glacier melt continues. It is believed that
Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh may witness a temperature increase of up to 6.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century due to climate change, warning that the glaciers in this Himalayan region could shrink by 85 per cent if the projections come true.
The study and its impact is a wakeup call for all of us. Time is ripe to initiate a change collectively and ensure that steps and taken to help reduce the impact on the glaciers and other water bodies.