ISRO: Over 27% Expansion of Glacial Lakes in Himalayas

  • 23 Apr 2024

On 22nd April,2024, ISRO reported over 27% expansion of Himalayan glacial lakes since 1984, with 130 lakes in India, highlighting the impact of climate change on freshwater sources and GLOF risks.

Key Points

  • Indian Glacial Lakes: Out of 676 expanding lakes, 130 are in India, primarily situated in the Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra River basins, highlighting regional implications.
  • Elevation Analysis: Analysis reveals that most expanding lakes are located at elevations between 4,000 to 5,000 meters, emphasizing the vulnerability of high-altitude regions.
  • Formation Categories: Glacial lakes categorized into moraine-dammed, ice-dammed, erosion, and others, showcasing the varied mechanisms of formation and expansion.
  • Case Study: ISRO highlights the significant expansion of the Ghepang Ghat glacial lake in Himachal Pradesh, indicating a 178% increase in size since 1989.
  • Climate Change Impact: Himalayas, termed the Third Pole, face heightened sensitivity to climate change, impacting glacier retreat rates and freshwater sources.
  • GLOF Risks: Expansion of glacial lakes raises concerns about Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), posing risks to downstream communities and infrastructure.