Heavy snowfall augurs well for glacier, water bodies

Heavy snowfall in different parts of Uttarakhand this winter augurs well for the Gangotri glacier and water bodies in Uttarkashi district fed by the Ganga, scientists feel.

High altitude areas of Uttarakhand, including Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Tehri, parts of Dehradun, Nainital and Pithoragarh districts, have received heavy snowfall over the past fortnight.

"Snowfall this year is estimated to be around 40 per cent more than received annually over the last four years. It augurs well not only for the Gangotri glacier but also for different water bodies fed by the Ganga in Uttarkashi district," said DP Dobhal, a scientist at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.

Heavy snowfall this year is also likely to expand snow cover area by 60 per cent which would mean that the temperature in the glacier region will remain well below freezing point for a long time, he said.

Extended snow cover area will not only substantially reduce the rate of melting of the Gangotri glacier during summer but will also keep water bodies fed by the Ganga in the area well replenished, he said.

Scientific studies in the past have found that the Gangotri glacier is melting at a rate of 22 metres per year.

(with news agency inputs)