It has been recently reported that the south peak of the Sweden’s Kebnekaise mountain has lost its title of the highest point in the country to the north peak because of global warming. The south peak covered with glacier was measured at 2,101 meters above sea level on July 2. It lost 4 meters of height because the glacier melted in the heat. There are 1,98,000 glaciers on earth; 9,000 of those are in India. More than 700 million people in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan depend on the three great rivers that flow from Indian Himalayas – The Ganga, The Brahmaputra and the Indus. These rivers have their sources in the massive Himalayan glaciers. A lot of these glaciers get most of their snow from summer monsoons unlike other glaciers who get snow from winter storms.
Climate change has led to increasing temperatures and erratic weather patterns due to which these glaciers are receding at alarming levels. When glaciers melt, the rivers that are fed by the glaciers flood. 113 million people in India are acutely exposed to floods. Every year, thousands die due to floods in different parts of the country.
In June 2013, Uttarakhand faced disastrous floods due to the receding Chorabari Glacier killing hundreds of people. According to recent projections, the Indus basin will face maximum runoff which may lead to floods around 2070. For the Ganga, it is around 2050 and for the Brahmaputra, it is imminent. Little is known about India’s glaciers due to lack of research. The current information on India’s glaciers relies on the data obtained from satellites and there is hardly any data which is derived from field measurements. These estimates are highly unreliable and inadequate to predict any mishaps.
COP21-Paris Climate Change Agreement was a landmark summit wherein the world agreed to and ratified steps to alleviate global warming and slow down climate change. The world’s major Greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, the United States of America, has withdrawn from the pact and other major emitters like Russia, Turkey and Colombia have not ratified the pact. The developing countries like India face the major ire of climate change as the majority of the population is engaged in agriculture which is dependent on the monsoon and on irrigation projects on the mighty rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Indus.
According to Verisk Maplecroft, India is the most vulnerable to climate change. Discussions alone won’t stop this mayhem. Climate change is real. Action against its contributing factors is the only way such disasters can be averted in the future.
Thank you for reading the story until the very end. We appreciate the time you have given us. In addition, your thoughts and inputs will genuinely make a difference to us. Please do drop in a line and help us do better.
The CSR Journal Team