Climate change behind Chamoli floods: Study


New Delhi: Heavy precipitation in the Chamoli region from February 4 to 6 and an overall rise in temperature in Uttarakhand in the past four decades could have led to the rock collapse that triggered the deadly flashfloods in the state last month, according to a study by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

Kathmandu-based ICIMOD’s report found that a crack had formed prior to the incident at the site, where the rock detachment led to a rockslide from the Raunti peak.

The rockslide brought along with it mounds of earth and snow which could have triggered the flashfloods. With a straight slide line of 1.6 km (5,500 to 3,900 masl), the kinetic energy during the fall generated enough heat to melt the ice.

As the debris moved downstream in the Rishi Ganga, it pushed running riverwater ahead of it, including water from small structures along the river path. Seventytwo bodies were recovered while 132 are still missing. 

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