Inter-university glacier studies
Why should we study glaciers, is an interesting question. The answer is equally challenging—because of another wrong study!
Recently, an erroneous prediction of glaciers melting by 2035 was recorded in a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Discovery of the errors in the report made the government decide that more extensive research is needed into the topic.
The University of Jammu and University of Kashmir are part of the interesting study on glaciers. The Inter-University Consortium on Cryosphere and Climate Change (IUCCCC) will look into glaciers in four States in India, with funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Launched in April 2013, some work has been done. Studying benchmark glaciers, due to the dependent communities, the team is also looking at villages like Harsil dependent on the waters from the Kalapani glacier in Uttarakhand, while in Himachal Pradesh, the Menthosa glacier is supplying four villages with water.
It all started in November, 2012, when the vice-chancellors of JNU, Jammu, Kashmir and Sikkim began to explore the concept of having the five-year study of glaciers with Rs. 18 crore and important technology. They have decided that the attempt would be to probe the interlinks between cryospheric changes and its influence on society.
The glaciers chosen are linked with the irrigation systems in villages. Differences in temperature are thought to impact water supply and glacier masses. The DST has decided to put in Rs. 13 crore to buy sophisticated equipment to take the measure of black carbon deposits on glaciers and Green House Gases (GHGs) and install “robotic total stations” which map the glacier area apart from ground penetrating radars, which give the total mass of ice.
The various features to be explored include looking into the chronology of glaciers, making isotopic studies of ice and radio carbon dating, optical dating of sediments to explore their age upto half a million years and global and regional climate change phases. Kashmir, Karakoram, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand glaciers will be explored.