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Gangotri glacier getting less snowfall, higher temperatures

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A research shows that the health of the majestic Gangotri glacier that feeds the river Ganges has been affected, as the maximum temperature in the region has shot up by 0.9 degree Celsius and snowfall reduced by 37 cm annually. A team of climate scientists recorded and analysed snow and meteorological parameters for a period of 13 years from 2000 to 2012 and found a warming trend.

“Maximum and minimum temperature reveal an increase of 0.9 degree Celsius and 0.05 degree Celsius respectively during the decade. Annual snowfall amount reveals a decrease of 37 cm in the decade,” says the report from the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment, Chandigarh.The report would soon be published in the Current Science journal.Scientists from the institute, part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Ministry of Defence, were based at ‘Bhojbasa’ observation station, nearly 5 km south from the Gangotri glacier snout named ‘Gaumukh’, to record the findings.

Situated in Uttarakhand district, the 30.2 km-long Gangotri glacier is the second largest in India.One of the primary sources of fresh water supply to the river Ganges, Gangotri has been found to have retreated more than 1,500 metres in the last 70 years.