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Assessment of Glacier Fluctuations in the Himalaya

Kulkarni, Anil V and Pratibha, S (2017) Assessment of Glacier Fluctuations in the Himalaya. [Book Chapter]

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57765-4_13


Impact of climate change on Himalayan glaciers is debated extensively in India and many scientific data are published in this regard. Yet, there is a gap in our understanding of the current state of glaciers. Hence, we have looked into the scientific studies published on glacier fluctuations in the Himalaya to assess its status. These scientific studies were carried out using both field data and remote sensing techniques. Reconciling of these data suggest overall loss in the glacier area, length and mass across Himalaya, except in the Karakoram region where stable front and advance is observed. On an average, glaciers across the Himalaya were found retreating at a rate of 15.5 ± 11.8 m year−1 and have lost an overall area of 13.6 ± 7.9% from the last four decades. However, these observations on area and retreat are not extensive and are missing from few parts of the Himalaya. Another key parameter to understand health of glacier is mass balance. Mass balance (MB) records are available at glacier, basin and regional scale. Field investigations are carried out at glacier scale and are only available for 14 glaciers which suggest cumulative loss of 20 ± 6 m from 1975 to 2014. However in few glaciers, glaciological measurements do not match very well with geodetic method. Geodetic measurements carried out at basin level show maximum mass loss in Lahaul Spiti region in western Himalaya. On the other hand, region wise monitoring of MB using AAR method suggests maximum loss in the eastern Himalaya and least in the Karakoram. These observations are not free of uncertainty and also show discrepancy between different methods. Therefore, in the wake of rising CO2 in the atmosphere, extensive field investigations are needed along with development of robust models to understand the glacier response to climate change.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Inc.
Additional Information: The Copyright of this article belongs to the Taylor and Francis Inc.
Keywords: Accumulation Area Ratio; Mass loss; Retreat
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Date Deposited: 25 May 2022 05:00
Last Modified: 25 May 2022 05:00
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/72596

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