The tragedy could be the result of a “very rare” explosion of water bags in a glacier | India News
A view shows damage after a Himalayan glacier broke and crashed into a dam in the village of Raini Chak Lata in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand (Reuters)
NEW DELHI: Calling the glacial outbreak in Uttarakhand a “very rare incident,” scientists said Sunday that satellite images and Google Earth did not show a glacial lake near the region, but that there was a possibility of ‘pockets of water ‘(lakes within glaciers) that could have erupted, leading to this extreme event, even as the entire Hindu-Kush region of the Himalayas has become a hotspot for climate change over the years.
Although the event needs further analysis, it is unlikely to be a ‘cloud burst’ as weather reports in the Chamoli district showed sunny weather as of Sunday with no precipitation record. Dry weather is likely to prevail over Uttarakhand even on Monday. The event, however, will remind Indian planners that the climate change frontier could be closer to home than some distant Arctic thaw.
“It is a very rare incident that a glacial outbreak occurs. There is a possibility of a pocket of water in the region that could have burst. We need more analysis, weather reports and data to confirm if this was really the case,” said Mohammed Farooq Azam , assistant professor, glaciology and hydrology, IIT Indore.
However, he did not rule out the possibility of a landslide induced by a snow avalanche. “Our understanding is also evolving. There is no doubt that global warming has resulted in a warming of the region,” Azam said.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) was informed during its meeting on Sunday that “the outbreak of the glaciers caused a rise in the water level in the Rishiganga River, which wiped out the 13.2 mw Rishiganga small hydroelectric project “.
“There is no danger of flooding downstream and the rise in water level has been contained, according to information provided by the Central Water Commission (CWC). There is also no threat to neighboring villages,” an official statement said.
The impact of global warming on the retreat of glaciers is well documented. A recent assessment report by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental body, showed that temperatures were increasing in the Hindu-Kush region of the Himalayas and this, along with rising global temperatures, will have more impact in the Himalayan region due to elevation-dependent warming.
“If the world can keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, in the HKH region, it would translate into at least a 1.8 degree C rise, and in some places, above 2, 2 degrees C. The Himalayan regions are also less monitored and this event really shows how vulnerable we could be, “said Anjal Prakash, research director and adjunct associate professor at the Indian Business School, Hyderabad.
Prakash, coordinating lead author of the IPCC special report on oceans and cryosphere, said: “I would ask the government to spend more resources on better monitoring the region so that we have more information about the process of change. The result will be that we are more aware and can develop best adaptation practices. ”