Gobar Gyan Glaciers cover 10 per cent of the world’sland area but store about 75 per cent ofits freshwater! As they need some specific climatic conditions to exist, theyare mainly concentrated in regions abovethe snow line i.e. mountainous areas orthe polar regions. Because glaciers are so sensitive tochanges in temperature, they are used asbaro meters by scientists to study climatic conditions of the past ages. And to findvital clues to what may happen in thefuture. Absolutely fascinating, right? Thebad news is, they paint a horriblyalarming picture for Planet Earth.
Sincethe early twentieth century, with few exceptions, glaciers around the world have been retreating at anunprecedented pace. In fact, some icecaps, glaciers and even an ice shelf have disappeared altogether in this century.The situation is getting grimmer, with themass balance of snow in the Himalayan glaciers reaching a particularly precarious state. Their snowline, too, is shifting steadily backwards. For example, the 25km long Gangotri glacier, which is the source of the holy river Ganga, is retreating bymore than 16.5 metres every year.