- Warming and limited winter precipitation in Ladakh have caused glaciers to retreat.
- According to a recent study, the Pensilungpa Glacier in Ladakh’s Zanskar Valley is retreating due to increased temperature and less precipitation during winters.
- The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) in Dehradun, an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology, has been working on various aspects of glaciology since 2015, including glacier health (mass balance) monitoring, dynamics, discharge, past climatic conditions, and predictions for future climate change and its impact on glaciers in this region.
- A group of experts from the institute travelled to Zanskar, Ladakh, to investigate a less-explored Himalayan region.
The findings of the study
- According to the study, field surveys over a four-year period (2015–2019) revealed that the glacier is now retreating at a rate of 6.7 plus/minus 3 metres per year.
- The research links the observed recessional tendencies of the Pensilungpa Glacier to an increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation during winters, according to the study published in the journal Regional Environmental Change.
- The study also shows that debris cover has a considerable impact on the mass balance and retreat of the glacier’s terminal, particularly in the summer.
- Furthermore, the three-year mass balance data (2016–2019) revealed a negative trend with a low accumulation area ratio.
- According to the study, as air temperatures continue to rise in line with global trends, melting will accelerate, and summer precipitation at higher altitudes may change from snow to rain, influencing the summer and winter patterns.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 3 (Environment)