Climate change fallout: Kashmir glaciers lost 23% area in 60 years
A major environmental crisis is unfolding in Kashmir after a new study revealed
that the Himalayan glaciers have lost 23 percent area in the last 60 years.
“Stream flow response to shrinking glaciers under changing climate in the
Lidder Valley, Kashmir Himalayas”, the 2018 was conducted by Asif Marazi and
Shakil Romshoo of the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Kashmir.
was aimed at accessing the impact of stream flow to the shrinking glacial mass
by selecting a total of 37 glaciers from the Lidder valley. The Lidder valley, in the south-eastern part
of Kashmir, hosts many glaciers including the largest glacier — the Kolahoi.
was observed that the glaciers in the valley have lost 23 percent of the area
and 22 percent of glacial mass in the last 60 years,” reveals the study
study notes that the depletion of glaciers has led to the significant depletion
in the stream flows under the changing climate in the valley. “The shrinking of
glaciers in the region is due to the increasing temperatures and the change in
the form of precipitation (from snow to rain) observed in the region during
winters,” it says.
stream flow shows an overall decreasing trend in the peak summer months of June
and July; however, an increasing trend in April and May, as per the study.
Shakil Romshoo of Department of Earth Sciences at University of Kashmir termed
the precipitation as an important climatic parameter that controls the overall
health of a glacier in the Lidder valley.
“The shrinking of glaciers and the depleting
stream flows, if continuing in the future, will adversely affect the
availability of water in the valley, especially during summers when it is
needed the most. This will lead to decline in hydropower generation, decrease
in agriculture productivity, fall in winter tourism and drinking water
scarcity,” he said.