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When the Ice Melts Part 2: Climate change impact on Dokriani glacier alters river seasonality

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Hydrology, scientists looked at climate change and their impact on river runoffs in the Dokriani Glacier in the Central Himalaya. To understand the impact of climate change on these glaciers, it was crucial to collect and analyse regional climate data from the field.

It was found, over forty years of data analysis, that the glacier was in steady state before 2000. The temperature changes impact the glaciers, and as a result, the snowmelt and ice melt disappears earlier. This, in turn, impacts the runoff of the river.

Experts also talk about debris cover in this paper. The lower part of the glacier has rocks that come down to the glacier when there is an avalanche. Scientists worldwide say that perhaps this debris cover could prevent the glacier from impacts of climate change. In the last 5-6 decades, glaciers have been losing their mass but the impact of climate change on melting runoff into rivers depends on the local climate. This study quantifies the snow and glacier melt at local conditions and looks at how the river runoff would be impacted in the downstream regions. This would help in planning the water resources and flood risk reduction in the rivers. As farmers heavily depend on these rivers for sowing, and this happens on a very timely basis, this data would help in water management in future.

In this episode, independent environmental journalist Sharada Balasubramanian talks to Smriti Srivastava, a research scholar from the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, and Mohammad Farooq Azam, a glaciologist and professor from IIT Indore.
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When the Ice Melts Part 2: Climate change impact on Dokriani glacier alters river seasonality

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