Commendable Move

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)

Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo on Monday stressed the urgent need to conduct“consequentially meaningful studies,” on glacial lakes to mitigate the looming threat of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in Jammu and Kashmir. The decision taken in a meeting with key stakeholders, is an important step towards safeguarding the region from potential natural disasters exacerbated by climate change.

GLOFs, which occur when the water level in glacial lakes breaches their boundaries, can lead to catastrophic floods with devastating impacts on downstream communities, infrastructure, and the environment. The Himalayan region, particularly Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh, is highly susceptible to such events due to the presence of around 18,000 glaciers. The increasing frequency and intensity of GLOFs in the Himalayas, attributed to global warming and increased human activity, highlights the urgency of Dulloo's directive.


The Chief Secretary's insistence on studies by expert glaciologists is a crucial first step. These studies will not only enhance our understanding of the current state of glacial lakes but also inform the development of effective strategies to mitigate GLOF risks. By directing the Department of Disaster Management to form a team of experts and conduct expeditions to these lakes, Dulloo ensures that the studies are grounded in real-world observations and practical data.

The plan involves data collection and analysis, followed by modeling and simulation, to create a detailed project worth Rs 30 crore, which has already been submitted to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The collaboration with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune, and the installation of Early Warning Systems and Auto Weather Stations as part of this initiative will provide critical, real-time data to anticipate and respond to potential GLOF events. Such proactive measures are essential for minimizing the damage.

In light of the rapid melting of glaciers in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh due to rising temperatures and heatwaves, the chief secretary's initiative is both timely and necessary. The region's glaciers, often referred to as the“water towers of Asia,” are crucial for water supply, agriculture, and power generation. Protecting these vital resources from the threats posed by GLOFs is imperative for the well-being and economic stability of the region.

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Jammu and Kashmir boasts approximately 18,000 glaciers, including large ones like the Siachen glacier, spanning an impressive 65 kilometers in length and towering 500 to 600 meters in thickness. These glaciers are an invaluable resource, serving as a lifeline for the region, providing water for agriculture. However, with temperatures on the rise due to climate change, these glaciers are melting at an accelerated pace.
An official study would give us the extent of glacial retreat so far and inform the government policy going forward.


Kashmir Observer

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