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Forest fires, stubble burning influencing melting of Gangotri Glacier


NEW DELHI: Stubble burning and forest fires are influencing the rate at which the Gangotri glacier is melting as the concentration of black carbon has increased by 400 times, says a study.

During the summer, the concentration of black carbon triggers glacial melt as it absorbs light. 

Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, (WIHG), an autonomous institution under the Department of Science and Technology, in a study conducted at Chirbasa station near Gangotri Glacier, for the year 2016, found that black carbon concentration in this region has changed drastically during summer.

Investigations revealed that the occasional high value of black carbon extricated and the seasonal cycle of the increase was significantly influenced by the emissions resulting from agriculture burning (in the western part of India), forest fires (along the Himalayan slopes) in summer and to some extent by the contribution from long-range transport of pollutants in winter, depending upon the prevailing meteorological conditions.

The research, led by Dr. PS Negi from WIHG, was published in the scientific journal Atmospheric Environment. The Equivalent Black Carbon aerosols contribute significantly to global warming due to its light-absorbing nature.

Reason to worry

The presence of an Equivalent Black Carbon in the eco-sensitive zone, such as the Himalayan glacier valleys, is a matter of serious concern and needs to be meticulously monitored.