How Himalayan glaciers are resisting global warming

Researchers have made great strides in discovering why some areas of glaciers in the Karakoram Range are defying the global trend of glaciers losing mass, the Himalayas being no exception, and resisting glacial melting due to climate change. Huh. He has linked the recent resurgence of Western Disturbances (WDs) to the phenomenon known as the “Karakoram Anomaly” (WDs).

In the context of India, the Himalayan glaciers are of utmost importance, especially for the millions of people who live downstream and depend on these perennial rivers for their daily water demands. Under the influence of global warming, they are rapidly disappearing, and in the coming decades, suffocating demands on water supplies are inevitable. On the other hand, the glaciers of the central Karakoram have surprisingly remained the same or increased slightly over the past few decades. Glaciologists are baffled by this phenomenon, which has given opponents of global warming a very unusual straw for understanding.

According to Dr. Pankaj Kumar, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), this behavior appears to be restricted to a relatively small area, with only the Kunlun ranges being another example exhibiting comparable features across the Himalayas. Bhopal.

A recent study under his supervision offers a new theory to explain this defiance of the effects of global warming in some regions, unlike other glaciers in the region.

In a paper published in the Journal of Climate of the American Meteorological Society, his group claimed that the recent revival of western disturbances has been important in triggering and maintaining the Karakoram anomaly since the advent of the 21st century. The study was supported by the Climate Change Program of the Department of Science and Technology.

This is the first time that a study has brought to the fore the importance that increased WD-precipitation input during the accumulation period plays in modifying regional climate anomalies.

Aaqib Javed, a Ph.D. Dr. Kumar’s student and lead author of the study said, “WDs are the primary feeders of snowfall for the region during winter. Our study shows that they account for about 65% of the total seasonal snowfall volume and about the total seasonal rainfall. make up 53%, making them easily the most important source of moisture.The rainfall intensity of the WD affecting the Karakoram has increased by about 10% over the past two decades, which only highlights their role in maintaining the regional anomaly. increases.”

The team used three different global reanalysis datasets and a tracking algorithm (created at the University of Reading) to track and generate a complete list of WDs that affected the Karakoram-Himalayan region during the past four decades. Examination of the tracks crossing the Karakoram shows how important snowfall is in determining mass balance estimates.

While previous studies have shed light on the role of temperature in establishing and maintaining the anomaly over the years, this is the first time that the effect of precipitation in feeding the anomaly has been shed. The researchers also determined the effect of rainfall in feeding anomaly.

The scientists’ calculations show that the contribution of WD in terms of snowfall volume in the main glacier areas of the Karakoram has increased by about 27% in recent decades, while the precipitation from non-WD sources has decreased by about 17%. I have come Claims.

“The anomaly offers a glimmer of hope towards a very bleak but nonetheless inevitable delay. Having recognized the importance of WDs in controlling the anomaly, their future behavior may very well be the fate of Himalayan glaciers as well. can decide,” said Dr Kumar.

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