Glaciologists forced to change
INDIAN GLACIOLOGISTS are compelled to change their Glacier inventory system. This has happened after their research work was denied a place on the international atlas of glacier inventory, for not adopting the international inventory proforma.Updated: May 06, 2006 01:32 IST
INDIAN GLACIOLOGISTS are compelled to change their Glacier inventory system. This has happened after their research work was denied a place on the international atlas of glacier inventory, for not adopting the international inventory proforma.
Getting thump from the international fraternity, the Indian glaciologists will not only change future measurement techniques but will also convert the inventories under old system which was in practice for the past three decades.
Glaciologists on Friday accepted the fault in at ‘Brainstorming Session on the Himalayan Glacier Inventory.’ The programme was organised by the Geological Survey of India (Lucknow) to ponder over the differences between Indian and international inventory codes.
“The new proforma was drafted in 1970s with parameters and codes for measuring glaciers got promulgated among glaciologists in the world. But our scientists continued to use their own values and codes in the inventory, which brought about the difference in values,” said VK Raina, chairman of Project Advisory and Monitoring Committee (PAMC) which is spearheading the rectification work in India.
The international proforma gave all the glacier regions their specific codes and the sub-basins of the glaciers were to be marked in ascending numerical units during the study. There were 21 different parameters for measuring the glaciers but the Indian scientists rather used alphabetical system which could not match the international codes.
‘The concept of international glacier atlas was to unite all the glacier regions in one picture to get a complete idea about glaciers. But if one great region like India would stay out of the map, we might face problem deriving results from the study,’ Raina pointed out.
Interestingly, different glaciologists used different marking system for their work. While some used alphabets, other opted for roman numbers. This has made the combining of information even for an Indian glacier atlas difficult. Thus, despite working sincerely, glaciologists have to depend on international measurements.
It was also decided, in the session, that no glacier less than an area of 0.5 sq kilometers would be included in the glacier map.
The brainstorming sessions had representatives from the department of Science and Technology, Space Application Centre (Ahmedabad), Guwahati University, IIT- Mumbai, National Institute of Hydrology, Jammu University, Snow Avalanche Study Establishment (Army wing in Manali), UP Remote Sensing and Application Centre, Lucknow University and GSI (Lucknow).
Another matter that has affected the Indian glaciologists is decrease in the snowfall in the Himalayan region. The decreasing snowfall due to global warming has reduced the river water levels in the Himalayan region.
“Global warming has raised temperature by a degree or two but this has not resulted in the melting of the glaciers. On the contrary, the snowfall got reduced and thus rivers are getting less water as snowfall was a major contributor of water to the rivers,” he said.
Glaciers contribute 20 per cent of water to rivers, but snowfall contributes 65 per cent. The rest of the water comes from the basin areas of rivers.