Experts warn glaciers in Indian Kashmir melting

Oct 13, 2009 By AIJAZ HUSSAIN , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Indian Kashmir's glaciers are melting fast because of rising temperatures, threatening the water supply of millions of people in the Himalayan region, a new study by Indian scientists says.

The study by Kashmir University's geology and geophysics department blamed the effect on , and said it endangered the livelihoods of two-thirds of the region's nearly 10 million people engaged in agriculture, horticulture, livestock rearing and forestry.

The Kolahoi glacier, the biggest in the Indian portion of divided Kashmir, has shrunk to about 4.44 square miles (11.5 square kilometers) from about five square miles (13 square kilometers) in the past 40 years, the study found.

Shakil Romshoo, an associate professor in the department who led to three-year study, described the rate of melting as "alarming." He said Tuesday that Kolahoi had shrunk by 18 percent, and over the same period, other glaciers in the region had shrunk by 16 percent.

The Kolahoi feeds Kashmir's lifeline Jhelum River, which is also vital for agriculture in Pakistan's most populous province of Punjab.

The study was released Monday at a workshop on the impact of shrinking glaciers held in Srinagar, the capital of Indian Kashmir.

Last year, international charity ActionAid also warned that the glaciers in most areas of Kashmir have shrunk. The group said that climate change was affecting rain and snowfall patterns, which was lowering food production.

Prof. Syeed Iqbal Hasnain, head glaciologist at New Delhi-based the Energy and Resources Institute, said the findings show again that "warming of the was unequivocal."

Rajeev Upadhay, an Indian geologist who has studied glaciers since 1995, said the new study was in line with previous ones.

"The study confirms the general trend that about 90 percent of all Himalayan glaciers are receding. Some are receding at an alarming rate of 44-45 meters (yards) per year," said Upadhay, who was not involved in the Kashmir University study.

He also said the Siachen glacier, where rival Indian and Pakistani troops have been entrenched for 25 years, has melted to half its earlier size.

"The unusual climate change clubbed with other activities at the Siachen Glacier has reduced it to 46 miles (74 kilometers) from 93 miles (150 kilometers) in length," he said.

The Siachen Glacier is often dubbed the world's highest battlefield. The nuclear-armed South Asian nations have competing territorial claims to Siachen and troops have been locked in a standoff there at an altitude of up to 20,000 feet (6,100-meter) since 1984.

India and Pakistani have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since 1947 after they won independence from Britain. Both claim the divided territory in its entirety.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: EU researchers explore pathways for transition to sustainable lifestyles

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Glaciers feeding Ganges may melt down

Jul 01, 2005

Indian scientists say carbon dioxide and other emissions will cause the melt down of glaciers feeding the Ganges River before the century's end.

Shrinking glaciers threaten China

Nov 02, 2007

China's glaciers in western Xinjiang Uygur region are shrinking alarmingly due to global and regional warming, posing a threat to the oases in the area.

Scientists expect increased melting of mountain glaciers

Jan 20, 2006

Sea level rise due to increased melting of mountain glaciers and polar ice caps will be much lower in the 21st Century than previously estimated. However, decay of mountain glaciers in due to global warming will be much more ...

Recommended for you

India court slams Delhi's worsening air pollution

9 hours ago

India's environment court has slammed the government over the capital's horrendous air pollution, which it said was "getting worse" every day, and ordered a string of measures to bring it down.

US proposes stricter ozone limits

20 hours ago

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced plans Wednesday to strengthen emission regulations for ozone, a smog-causing pollutant blamed for respiratory ailments affecting millions of Americans.

Deforestation drops 18 percent in Brazil's Amazon

22 hours ago

Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest dropped 18 percent over the past 12 months, falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century, Brazil's environment minister said Wednesday.

The unbelievable underworld and its impact on us all

Nov 26, 2014

A new study has pulled together research into the most diverse place on earth to demonstrate how the organisms below-ground could hold the key to understanding how the worlds ecosystems function and how they ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.