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In total Himalayan region, the glacial cover is about 1,12,767 sq. km.
In case of Himalayan ranges it encompasses about 18,067 glaciers with area of 35,110 sq. km of glacier, which store about 12,000 km3 of freshwater.
The higher regions of the Himalayas are snowbound throughout the year in spite of their proximity to the tropics .
Map of Himalaya Satellite image of Himalayan Glaciers Himalayan Glaciers
Major glaciers & rivers in Himalayan ranges
The Brahmaputra river
The Ganga river
The Indus river
The chenab river
The Ravi river
The Sutlej river
There is a dynamic interrelation between glaciers & rivers. Any change in climate of Himalayan region simultaneously affect on both glaciers and rivers.
Impact of Global warming on Himalayan Glaciers Satellite image of Gangotri glacier & Snout position from 1780 to 2004
Glacial retreat: The Himalayan glaciers that are the sources of Asia's biggest rivers could disappear by 2035 if the temperatures rise continued with present day.
In India, the Gangotri glacier, which supports one of India's largest river basins, is receding at an average rate of 23 meters per year. experts predict that the Ganges eventually will become a seasonal river, largely dependent on monsoon rains.
Glacier shows the appearance of surging and calving.
Melting glaciers moves 100 times faster than normal rate.
Change in Albedo effect .
Change in Mass- Balance.
AX010 Glacier, Shorong Himal, Nepal.
Glacial Lake Formation & risk of G.L.O.F. (Glacial lake outburst flood): Melted glaciers increase in water level of lake. Formation of lake.
Reactivation of thrusts.
Landslides due to frost heave .
Change in topography.
Retreat of the greater Himalayan glaciers compared to the global average (Erikson2009).
Summer Rupper, professor of geology at Brigham Young University in the United States, reports in the September issue of Quaternary Research that a small group of Himalayan glaciers grew by several kilometers 9,000 years ago. Some abnormal behavior
The warming causes shifting in climate pattern.
Resulting in Increasing precipitation.
More cloud & subsequently snow formation.
Decrease in temperature.
Changes in runoff:-
Increasing runoff: Floods, rapid melting leads to flash floods. Impact on Himalayan Rivers: Decreasing runoff: Water stress, drought after the flood. The Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and other rivers in northern India becoming seasonal rivers (IPCC 2007). Change in river morphology: River channels, terraces, drainage pattern etc.
Sediment load in Kosi river, Bihar Increase in sediment load in rivers Due to glacial melting : Sediment deposition in Indus fan & Bengal fan
Change in course of rivers.
Failure of reservoirs.
Local subsidence & earthquake due to isostatic disequilibrium
Glacier melting in Himalayas may bring devastating floods in north Bihar plains of India. (Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi July 17, 2009)
THE COUNTRIES AT RISK
India , Pakistan , Afghanistan ,
The Central Asian Republics , China ,
Burma/Myanmar , Bangladesh ,
Nepal , Bhutan.
Other impacts associated with Himalayan rivers and glaciers