Glaciers in Drass are receding fast, says study
- Pace at which glaciers are receding in Drass region points to grave threat to Himalayan glaciers.
- Recent study attributes to growing vehicular traffic in the region, which has been witnessing a massive military build-up on both the sides of Line of Actual Control (LAC) since 2020.
- Glacier area decreased from 176.77 sq. km in 2000 to 171.46 sq. km in 2020, which is about 3% of total glacier area.
- Debris cover had significant impact on glacier melting, with clean glaciers losing 5% more than debris-covered glaciers.
- Heavy vehicular movement is the main cause for rapid pace at which glaciers are receding in the region.
- Black carbon concentrations are higher compared to their concentration from other high-altitude locations in the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
- It is inferred that increasing black carbon concentration, due to proximity to National Highway, has affected the glacier's health.
- 17 glaciers situated close to highway showed higher glacier shrinkage than those situated further away.
- It is challenging to distinguish between effects of civilian and military infrastructure and mobilisation on environment and glaciers in the absence of data.
- If observed trends of climate change continue in the future, glaciers in the Himalayas may disappear entirely, having a significant impact on regional water supplies, hydrological processes, ecosystem services and transboundary water sharing.
Prelims take away
- Drass region
- Glacial landform