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Issue 21
, 2010
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Alarm bells over Valley’s largest glacier

Source: The Indian Express, New Delhi, Date: , 2009

While Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh believes glacier melting has little to do with climate change, expert Dr Shakeel Ramshoo has rung the alarm bells, saying the Valley’s biggest glacier, Kolahai, may disappear altogether. The convenor of the Climate Change Research working group at Kashmir University, Dr Ramshoo says the area of Kolahai has retreated 13.87 sq km to 11.24 sq km since 1976. “The annual rate of retreat is 0.08 sq km, which is quite alarming,” he says. The situation is no different with other glaciers. An Action Aid Report says there has been an overall 21 per cent reduction in the glacier surface area in the Chenab basin. “The mean area of glacial extent in the state has also declined, from 1 sq km to 0.32 sq km from 1962 to 2004,” the report says. However, it is Kolahai, one of the major glaciers of Himalayan region, that worries climatologists more. Dr Ramshoo is leading the study on Kolahai in the Valley and Suru basin glaciers in adjoining Kargil, a project sponsored by ISRO, which began in 2007.