28 Jul 2023

Three New Lakes May Form In Parkachik Glacier In Himalaya’s Ladakh Due To Glacial Retreat: A Most Direct Visible Impact Of Regional Climate Change.

Himalayan glaciers are a most direct and apparent visible indicator of regional climate change. Considering their sensitivity, they have been subjected to numerous studies, from field-based investigations to the modern state-of-the-art remote sensing approach, for more than a century.

In contrast, understanding the ice thickness and distribution is foremost requirement for the Himalayan glaciers. However, existing approaches, like remote sensing, cannot directly estimate the ice thickness. Based on ground penetrating radar, very few studies have been carried out on glacier thickness in the Indian Himalaya.

Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), GoI, led by Dr. Manish Mehta, carried out a study that describes the morphological and dynamic changes of Parkachik Glacier in Ladakh. The findings were published in the journal ‘Annals of Glaciology’.

Rate of glacier retreat increased at alarming rate

The results revealed that overall the glacier retreat varied between 1971 and 2021. The data shows the rate of retreat of glacier increased at an alarming rate.

The remote sensing data shows that the average rate of glacier retreat between 1999 and 2021 was six times as compared to retreat rate between 1971 and 1999. Similarly, the field observations recorded through day-to-day monitoring suggests that the glacier retreated at a much higher rate between 2015 and 2021.

The simulation results suggest that if the glacier continues to retreat at a similar rate, three lakes of different dimensions may form due to subglacial over-deepening.

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