Gangotri glacier annual snowfall declined, disintegrating at an alarming rate

Gangotri glacier

A study conducted by a team from the Almora-based G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development has revealed that the Gangotri Glacier is rapidly disintegrating and receding at an alarming rate.

Another study by scientists at Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment, Chandigarh revealed that the maximum and minimum temperatures showed an increase of 0.9 degrees centigrade and 0.05 respectively. In the past decade, the annual snowfall has shown a decline of 37 cm.

Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists from the Ministry of Defense based at Bhojbasa observation station, 5 kilometers from the Gangotri Glacier snout named Gaumukh have recorded their findings.

H S Gusain, the lead author of the five-member team who did the study, told PTI that the team was trying to correlate the fact that the glacier is receding over the past decade with meteorological data. It shows clearly that climate change and global warming is affecting the glacier.

The 30.2 km-long Gangotri glaciers are located in Uttarakhand and are the second largest glacier in India. The glacier feeds the Ganga River. It has receded by more than 1.5 kilometers in the last 70 years.

The team has been monitoring the Glaciers in the Himalayan Mountains, particularly the Gangotri since 1999. The team visited the glacier between June and October this year.

The team has been observing the disintegrating of the snout of the glacier year after year. The rate has kept on increasing with each passing year according to Kireet Kumar.

Scientist in the Glacial Study Centre of the Institute, Dr. Kumar added that the rapid melting of the tributary glaciers of Gangotri towards the right had led to the rapid breakup of the snout.

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Nitin Agarwal

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