Glaciers May Melt Faster Due To Forest Fires In Uttarakhand, Warn Experts

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10:39 am 3 May, 2016

After fires in Uttarakhand engulfed over 2,000 hectares of forest, destroyed wildlife, and killed at least six people, experts warn of melting of state’s glaciers faster.

The glaciers are the lifeline of the major rivers flowing through northern India.



Experts said that black carbon from smog and ash is covering the glaciers, thereby making them prone to melting.

Elaborating on the same, Manish Kumar, a senior scientist at the atmospherics department in ARIES, told TOI,

“Black carbon is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass. It absorbs light and increases heat, which is why it can cause glaciers to melt faster. Also, water will get get heavily polluted by harmful particles and compounds that constitute black carbon.”



It is noted that fires have already resulted in rise of temperature by 0.2 degrees Celsius across northern India. This can further have effect on monsoons.

“Black carbon floats in air for a long time and gets deposited on clouds interfering with the normal cycle of the monsoons,” said Kirit Kumar, a scientist from Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora.


Scientific community have regarded the fires in the forests s a ‘serious concern’.


Kirit Kumar said, “In normal circumstances, glaciers act as mirrors reflecting most of the light and heat. This is known as ‘albedo’. But when black carbon gets deposited on them, it results in their absorbing all the light and heat which eventually results in their meltdown. This is a serious concern.”

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