Uttarakhand CM issues alert, what causes glacier burst?


Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat issued an alert, on April 23, 2021, after he was informed of a glacier burst incident in Sumna, Neeti Valley near the India-China border in Chamoli district.

“A glacier burst has been reported in Sumna, Niti Valley. I have released an alert in this regard. I am in constant touch with the district administration and BRO,” T S Rawat tweeted.

The district administration has been instructed to get complete information about the incident. Orders have been given to NTPC and other projects to stop work at night so that no untoward incident occurs, he further tweeted.

नीती घाटी के सुमना में ग्लेशियर टूटने की सूचना मिली है। इस संबंध में मैंने एलर्ट जारी कर दिया है। मैं निरंतर जिला प्रशासन और बीआरओ के सम्पर्क में हूँ।

जिला प्रशासन को मामले की पूरी जानकारी प्राप्त करने के निर्देश दे दिए हैं। एनटीपीसी एवं अन्य परियोजनाओं में रात के समय काम रोकने के आदेश दे दिए हैं ताकि कोई अप्रिय घटना ना होने पाये।

— Tirath Singh Rawat (@TIRATHSRAWAT)
April 23, 2021

The Indian Army has informed of rescuing 384 persons so far. Rescue operations are still in place.

What are Glaciers?

•Glaciers are huge masses of ice that are formed when fallen snow stays in one location for many thousands or hundreds of years and compresses into large, thick ice masses. There are two types of glaciers: Valley Glaciers such as found in mountain regions like the Alps or Himalayas, and Continental Glaciers such as found in Antarctica.

•Except in Australia, glaciers are found mostly on every continent.

What causes glacier bursts?

•The glacier burst incident in Sumna, Neeti Valley occurred when an avalanche broke out about 4 km ahead of Sumna on Sumna-Rimkhim road in Uttarakhand.

•In February 2021, a similar glacier burst incident of the Nanda Devi glacier was reported at Joshimath in Chamoli district that led to a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river.

•Environmentalists say that mountain glaciers have been melting and shrinking alarmingly due to global warming and climate change. Global warming and erratic weather patterns due to climate change have caused the warming of snow-covered mountain regions that has resulted in the melting of glaciers.

Can glacier bursts be predicted?

•The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of India, has been working on establishing a robust warning system to reduce risk from Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods (GLOFs). As of now, there are no operational Early Warning System (EWS) for Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods in the Himalayas.

•In a recent study by scientists from IIT Kanpur, setting up satellite-based real-time monitoring of glacial catchment areas in Himalayan regions could help to strengthen the early warning system of glacier outbursts.

•India has a robust warning system for Landslide Lake Outburst Floods (LLOFs).

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