Posts Tagged "india"

Roundup: Bacteria Are Doing Well; Zooplankton, Dams Are Not

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Roundup | 2 comments

Roundup: Bacteria Are Doing Well; Zooplankton, Dams Are Not

Spread the News:ShareEach week, we highlight three stories from the forefront of glacier news. Project Forecasts India’s Hydrological Future in a Changing Climate From Earth & Space Science News: “The Indian subcontinent is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its diversified socioeconomic and climatic conditions. Changes in monsoon variability and glacier melt may lead to droughts over the Indian plains as well as extreme rains and abrupt floods in the neighboring Himalayas…Through our work with the NORINDIA project, we found that there is a risk of 50% glacier melt in the Beas River basin, which covers northwest India and northeast Pakistan, by 2050.” Learn more about NORINDIA and its work in India.   Chilly Conditions No Match for Methane-cycling Microorganisms From FEMS Microbiology Ecology: “Alpine belt soils harbored significantly more methane-cyclers than ––those of the nival belt, indicating some influence of plant cover. Our results show that methanogens are capable of persisting in high-alpine cold soils and might help to understand future changes of these environments caused by climate warming.” What are the implications of this study? Find out here.   Preliminary Study Looks at Relationship Between Glacial Lakes and Zooplankton From Polish Journal of Environmental Studies: “Zooplankton communities can be affected by glacial influence. In marine environments zooplankton mortality, mainly associated with the chemical properties of the ice, has been found in areas close to ice fields.” Find out which characteristic of glacial lakes is affecting zooplankton. Spread the...

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Photo Friday: 10 Indian soldiers were killed in an avalanche

Posted by on Feb 5, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: 10 Indian soldiers were killed in an avalanche

Spread the News:ShareIn the Himalayan region, at least 10 Indian soldiers were dead due to an avalanche which engulfed their station near the Siachen Glacier. The India’s Defense Ministry made an announcement on Thursday. After the accident, Indian Army and Air Force personnel were sent to the accident spot to search for possible survivors even though temperatures on the Siachen glacier range from -25 C to -42 C. “It is with deepest regret that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” the ministry said in a statement.  Earlier in January, an avalanche hit a patrol party and four soldiers were dead in this accident. On the Siachen Glacier, the border between India and Pakistan, extreme weather conditions have already killed many soldiers stationed here. “Since 1984, India has lost 869 troops due to the extreme weather events,” said S. D. Goswami, a spokesperson for the Indian Army’s Northern Command. The most recent news indicates that the soldiers who were trapped in the avalanche all died. Public opinion in India remains strongly in favor of maintaining this base, despite the ongoing loss of life that it entails. #Avalanche strikes #IndianArmy post in Northern Siachen Glacier,rescue op on to rescue 10 Army personnel File pic pic.twitter.com/0TP2tt1xXZ — All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) February 3, 2016 The avalanche site at Siachen. Bana Post visible in the background. RIP soldiers & thank you for your service. pic.twitter.com/oipuc0lDwd — Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) February 4, 2016 My salute to the brave Tambhis who lost their lives in avalanche at Siachen pic.twitter.com/jTjbmccEqZ — Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) February 5, 2016 At 6PM, we pay tribute to the Siachen fallen & tell you what our heroes endure at the world's highest battlefield. pic.twitter.com/1rp7VZW3c3 — India Today (@IndiaToday) February 5, 2016 Despite risk to Army men, Siachen is vital to India’s security, writes @rahulsinghx https://t.co/q5XQjY6faO pic.twitter.com/1MBcUjC3jm — Hindustan Times (@htTweets) February 5, 2016 India rejects Pak offer of help at #Siachen. https://t.co/wsHfAIIEpQ pic.twitter.com/LcNsHUGk1C — Catch News (@CatchNews) February 5, 2016 #Latest_News Siachen incident tragic but Pak is at a strategic disadvantage and this cannot change… https://t.co/eE6SxZqjrp #World_News — Raghwendra Kumar (@naveenjosh) February 5, 2016 Spread the...

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Researchers Question Glacier Study

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Science, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Researchers Question Glacier Study

Spread the News:ShareThis article has been republished on GlacierHub and was originally posted on the personal blog of Joseph Michael Shea. Shea is a glacier hydrologist with the International Center for Integrated Mountain (ICIMOD) and is currently based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Follow him on Twitter here.  A paper published last year in the Indian journal Current Science (pdf) has recently been raised in the Indian parliament. A number of scientists have been rightfully critical of this paper in different online forums. In this post, I’m going to take a quick look at the results of the paper, which are surprising to anyone familiar with the current state of Himalayan glaciology. Why are the results surprising? Based on a sample of 2018 glaciers, the paper’s authors suggest that nearly 87% of the glaciers in the region have stable snouts, while 12% have retreating termini, and < 1% are advancing. There are a number of issues with these figures, which lead the authors to the incorrect conclusion  that glaciers in the region are actually in steady state. In no particular order, these issues are: Glacier snout position is determined by a complex range of factors, including climate, dynamics, and lag times. Over short periods (i.e. less than 10 years, as in this paper) the behaviour of the terminus may not be indicative of the overall health of a glacier. Glacier retreat is a very different thing from glacier mass loss. Glaciers lose mass primarily due to downwasting (surface lowering), not terminus retreat. And study after study has confirmed that glaciers across the region (except for the Karakoram) are losing mass. The position of the terminus on debris-covered glaciers can be  difficult to interpret, and it will not respond to climate change in the same way as the terminus on clean (debris-free) glaciers. The authors do not distinguish between debris-covered and clean glaciers in their terminus assessments. Its not clear how the 2018 glaciers were sampled. There are over 54,000 glaciers in the HKH region, and while a 3% sample size is not too bad, biased sampling for debris-covered or large glaciers make extrapolations to the entire population problematic. Finally, the “stable” glacier examples given in the paper actually show glaciers in retreat! Here is a Landsat pair (data available at www.earthexplorer.usgs.gov) from 2001 and 2014 for the Gangotri Glacier, in the Garwhal Himalaya (Figure 7 in theCurrent Science paper): Not only is the  Gangotri (the main north-flowing glacier in the center of the image) in retreat, but you can also literally see the downwasting occur as the distance between the active ice surface and the large lateral moraines gets bigger. Smaller glaciers throughout the region also appear to be in retreat. The authors also use the example of Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram Range (Figure 8 in the Current Science paper). This is the terminus of a massive glacier system (ca. 700 km²) and the Landsat pairs I pulled from 2000 and 2013 also appear to show retreat and deflation at the terminus: Bottom line: the Current Science paper is simply not credible. The conclusion that > 80% of glaciers in the region are stable is based on incorrect interpretations of satellite imagery, a possibly biased sampling method, and an unjustified reliance on short-term changes in terminus position as an indicator of glacier health. Spread the...

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Glacier Stars in New Bollywood Film

Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Glacier Stars in New Bollywood Film

Spread the News:ShareIt is not unusual for the viewer of a Bollywood movie to be transported to the pyramids of Egypt, the Swiss Alps, or even the metropolis of midtown Manhattan, as the backdrop for actors’ most intense emotion–whether that is romantic love or a sense of being lost in the world. Recently, the Thajiwas glacier, in disputed territory between India and Pakistan, became the set for Bajrangi Bhaijan, a Bollywood movie that explores relations between the two countries through the story of a young girl and a good Samaritan. The movie, released this summer, stars Salman Khan and is directed by Kabir Khan. It tells of the heroic quest of Pawan (played by Salman Khan) to return a lost young girl to her parents. But Shahida, the young girl, (played by Harshaali Malhotra), cannot speak—she is mute. As Pawan and Shahida journey, Pawan must try to communicate with her and find out where she is from. He eventually learns that he must go to Pakistan to return Shahida to her family. Shahida’s home is in the Pakistani Himalayas, but to get there, she and Pawan must cross through the varied geography of India, from the Thar Desert in the north of the country, to the mountainous region near the Thajiwas. The greenery of mountain grasses combined with the snow-covered Himalayas has been referred to as “Asia’s Switzerland”—Shahida actually tries to communicate where she is from with a photo of what turns out to be Switzerland during the movie. Once he gets close to Shahida’s home, Pawan is captured by the Pakistani authorities, whom he defied by illegally crossing the border. A Pakistani security agent is forced to confront a conflict between the justice of Pawan’s mission and his duty to his higher ups–corrupt government bureaucrats who want to portray Pawan as an Indian black agent. He decides to let Pawan go. Pawan is escorted by thousands of supporters who force the border agents, at a made-up border crossing at the Thajiwas, to let Pawan return. In reality, the Thajiwas glacier, and the locations where the scenery were filmed, are located in India, not Pakistan. The region is in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is a disputed area between India and Pakistan (GlacierHub in 2014 covered the conflict between India and Pakistan in glacier-covered territory here and here). The relationship between the two countries and the competing religious identities is a major theme of the movie. The beautiful scenery is depicted as belonging to both countries and being part of a shared cultural heritage, challenging the political status quo. The Himalayas are shared between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, China, and Bhutan, so this region is vulnerable to the political instability between these countries. However, tension between these countries does not deter tourists, who flocked to the Kashmir Valley at a rate of 1.4 million in 2011/2012. The Thajiwas glacier and its nearby town of Sonamarg are major tourist attractions, with sledding and pony rides that enable tourists to explore the region, which is inaccessible to cars after a certain point. The movie shows the beauty of this area as well as the surrounding landscape, including the alpine forests, which draw tourists every year. The local economy depends on these tourist dollars, which generally come in during the summer. Filming in this location presented logistical challenges due to the elevation and accessibility. The scene shot at the glacier involved 7,000 extras, who needed to be transported to the area. Though the movie depicts the area as a border crossing, there is no actual crossing there, and a combination of...

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Roundup: French Presidential Visit, Trek Itinerary, and Dangerous Glacial Lakes

Posted by on Oct 19, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Policy and Economics, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: French Presidential Visit, Trek Itinerary, and Dangerous Glacial Lakes

Spread the News:ShareFrench president visits glacier to witness climate change “PARIS — The French president took a few steps on an Icelandic glacier Friday to experience firsthand the damage caused by global warming, ahead of major U.N. talks on climate change in Paris this year. Francois Hollande went to the shrinking Solheimajokull glacier, where the ice has retreated by more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) since annual measurements began in 1931.” To read more about the President’s visit, click here.   How to find Yosemite’s disappearing glacier “The Lyell Glacier, once a mile wide and Yosemite’s largest glacier when measured by John Muir in 1872, could melt off and disappear in as soon as five years, according to park geologist Greg Stock, if warm temperatures at high elevations continue. Chronicle outdoors writer Tom Stienstra visited the park to report on the glacier’s vanishing. This is the trek itinerary.” Click here to read more.   Global warming creating dangerous glacier lakes in Himalayas, finds study “As the black clouds heavily pregnant with water vapour hovered over Dehradun on June 15, 2013, it looked ominous. Around 13,000 feet above the sea level, rain was already tanking up Chorabari Lake, a water body created by melting glaciers. On June 16 midnight, the heavy rain caused the lake’s rock bank to collapse, sending down a flash flood that swept through the holy Himalayan pilgrimage site Kedarnath, killing 5,000 people. There are 1,266 such Chorabari lakes in Uttarakhand’s Himalayan regions, some of which have been created fresh by the rapid retreat of glaciers due to global warming, found a study by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, an autonomous body of the central government.” To read more about the study’s findings, click here.   Spread the...

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