VK Raina, leading glaciologist and former ADG of the Geological Society of India, told the Hindustan Times that out of 9,575 glaciers in India, till date, research has been conducted only on about 50. Nearly 200 years data has shown that nothing abnormal has occurred in any of these glaciers.
It is simple. The issue of glacial retreat is being sensationalised by a few individuals, the septuagenarian Raina claimed. Throwing a gauntlet to the alarmist, he said the issue should be debated threadbare before drawing a conclusion.
However, Dr RK Pachouri, Chairman, Inter-Governmental Panel of Climatic Change said it’s recently released fourth assessment report has recorded increased glacier retreat since the 1980s.
This he said was due to the fact that the carbon dioxide radioactive forcing has increased by 20 per cent particularly after 1995. And also that 11 of the last 12 years were among the warmest 12 years recorded so far.
Surprisingly, Raina, who has been associated with the research and data collection in over 25 glaciers in India and abroad, debunked the theory that Gangotri glacier is retreating alarmingly.
Maintaining that the glaciers are undergoing natural changes, witnessed periodically, he said recent studies in the Gangotri and Zanskar areas (Drung- Drung, Kagriz glaciers) have not shown any evidence of major retreat.
"Claims of global warming causing glacial melt in the Himalayas are based on wrong assumptions," Raina, a trained mountaineer and skiing expert said. He rued that not much is being done by the Government to create a bank of trained geologists for an in-depth study of glaciers.