Climate change behind Uttarakhand glacier burst, specialists feel

(This story initially appeared in on Feb 07, 2021).

Stunning visuals: Glacier breaks in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli, several feared dead

Authorities in Uttarakhand have actually sounded an alarm from Chamoli to Haridwar after a glacier broke off following an avalanche on Sunday. The avalanche struck near a power project website at Raini town in Chamoli district. The water level in the Dhauliganga river increased to a harmful level following the avalanche. Initial reports suggest that there has actually been heavy damage and loss of lives due to the breaking of the Tapovan- Vishnugad dam. Numerous individuals have drowned although a clear picture is yet to emerge. On the other hand, authorities stated that settlements near the river banks from Chamoli till Rishikesh and Haridwar are being cleared. Groups of the State Catastrophe Action Force are reaching the area to analyze the damage.

The glacier burst at Uttarakhand is a result of climate modification in the Himalayan region which is warming up faster than the other mountain regions, say professionals.

Incremental usage of reinforced concrete cement structures replacing the standard wood and stone masonry is accelerating a heat-island effect in the mountain area. There are more than 8000 glacial lakes in the Himalayas of which 200 are categorized as hazardous.

The glacier collapse at Joshimath on Sunday led to a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and caused massive destruction in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas.” Glacier retreat and permafrost thaw are predicted to decrease the stability of mountain slopes and increase the number and location of glacier lakes (high confidence). Resulting landslides and floods, and cascading occasions, will also emerge where there is no record of previous events (high self-confidence),” states the Unique Report on Oceans and Cryptosphere (SROCC) by Inter governmental Panel for Climate Modification (IPCC ).” There is high confidence that current global glacier shrinking triggered new lakes to form and existing lakes to grow in most regions, for example in South America, High mountain Asia and Europe,” the report states.” There is also high confidence that the number and area of glacier lakes will continue to increase in the majority of areas in the coming decades, and brand-new lakes will develop closer to high and possibly unsteady mountain walls where lake outbursts can be more easily triggered by the effect of landslides,” it includes.” The IPCC reports that environment change has actually altered the frequency and magnitude of the natural dangers. The researcher reported with medium self-confidence that in some areas snow avalanches including damp snow have actually increased while the rain on snow floods have also increased at lower elevations in springs. We do not have the data now to offer you details on what has triggered the avalanche in the Chamoli district however what we know, prima-facia, is that this looks quite like a climate modification event as the glaciers are melting due to international warming,” said stated Dr. Anjal Prakash, Research Study Director and Accessory Partner Professor at the Indian School of Company (ISB), Hyderabad The effect of worldwide warming on glacial retreat is well recorded. The recent assessment report called the HI-MAP report helped with by ICIMOD has also pointed these out. The report shows that temperatures are rising in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan area and the rise in global temperature level will have more impact in the Himalayan area due to elevation-dependent warming. If the world can keep the temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, in the HKH region it would translate to a minimum of a rise of 1.8 C, and in some locations, above 2.2 C,” said Prakash who was Coordinating Lead Author of the special report on Oceans and Cryosphere, 2018 and Lead Author of the ongoing 6th Assessment report of IPCC.Calling it a “extremely rare incident,” Dr Mohd Farooq Azam, Assistant Professor, Glaciology & Hydrology, IIT Indore, said it is unlikely that this was a cloud burst.” Weather forecast in Chamoli district show sunny weather till today without any record of precipitation. There is no doubt that international warming has resulted in the warming of the region,” states Azam.” Environment modification driven erratic weather patterns like increased snowfall and rains, warmer winters has led to the melting point of a lot of snow. The thermal profile of ice is increasing, where earlier the temperature level of ice varied from -6 to -20 degree C, it is now -2, making it more prone to melting,” Azam said.Prakash desires the government to invest more on keeping track of the Himalayan area.” Himalayan regions location are likewise least monitored region and this event actually shows how vulnerable we might be. Spending more will ensure we have more info about the modification procedure. The outcome would be that we are more aware and might develop better adaptation practices,” he further stated.

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