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Real-time studies needed to slowdown melting of glaciers: Chief Secretary

Scientists, researchers and administrators have expressed concern over the receding glaciers and snowfields and called for effective adaptation and mitigation measures to safeguard future of 800 million people sustained by the Himalayan river system.

“The Himalayan glaciers are the third largest deposit of snow on the earth after Antarctica and North Pole and most vulnerable on account of large habitations which have grown by 120 per cent. Instead of engaging in a debate and creating a hype about how fast or slow they are melting, the focus should be on undertaking real-time studies to assess the impact so that effective measures could be taken to combat it”, said Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy while presiding over the inaugural session of the two-day brainstorming workshop on “Snow, Glaciers and the Himalayan River System, organised by the State Centre for Climate Change, here today.

The glacial lakes in the higher reaches were expanding due to melting of snow and if the trend was not arrested they could be a potential hazard for downhill habitations. While the discharge in the Ravi and Chenab basins was decreasing, it was increasing in the Sutlej and some other river basins. Such trends needed to be investigated to ascertain the cause and taking the required policy initiatives.

In his keynote address, VK Jain, Vice- Chancellor of Doon University and an expert on air pollution, said rising aerosols, fine suspended particles (0.1 to 100 micron) and concentrations was giving rise to anthropogenic brown clouds (ABC) to enhance the impact of greenhouse gases and in turn accelerate the melting of glaciers. The black carbon (BC) was the main culprit along with sulphates and nitrates.

Head of Climate Change in the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences KJ Ramesh gave a detailed presentation on the impact of the climate change in different areas.

Earlier, Director of Environment SS Negi welcomed the participants.

 

The Tribune (30-05-2013)