Indian Himalayan Lakes Are Expanding Due To Climate Change

  • The Himalayan Mountains, known as the Third Pole, are sensitive to global climate changes. 
  • Glacial retreat and thinning have led to the formation of new lakes and the expansion of existing ones in the Himalayan region. 
  • Glacial lakes, created by glacier melting, play a crucial role as freshwater sources for rivers in the Himalayan region. 
  • Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) occur when glacial lakes release large volumes of meltwater due to the failure of natural dams, causing sudden and severe flooding downstream. 
  • Satellite remote sensing technology is an excellent tool for inventory and monitoring glacial lake expansion due to its wide coverage and revisit capability. 
  • Long-term satellite imagery from 1984 to 2023 shows significant changes in glacial lakes in the Indian Himalayas. 
  • Of these lakes, 676 have notably expanded since 1984, with 89% expanding more than twice. 
  • Glacial lakes are categorized into four broad categories: Moraine-dammed, Ice-dammed, Erosion, and other glacial lakes. 
  • Long-term changes in the Ghepang Ghat glacial lake show a 178% increase in size from 36.49 to 101.30 hectares between 1989 and 2022. 
  • Satellite-derived long-term change analyses provide valuable insights for understanding glacial lake dynamics, assessing environmental impacts, and developing strategies for GLOF risk management and climate change adaptation in glacial environments.
Posted in Current Affairs.