Monday, January 14, 2008

Sikkim has the largest number of glaciers in India

Sikkim, comprising 0.5 per cent of India's landmass, has 84 glaciers, the largest number as compared to any other state or union territory.

The present number of glaciers at 84, with the mapping exercise still underway to find about out more ice caps in the state has grown by about four times over the past six years as the figure of glaciers stood at 21 at that time, a senior scientist of the science and technology department, which has been carrying out mapping of the glaciers and other landscapes of the state, told PTI.

The glaciers have been mapped by using remote sensing application system and capturing data through satellite, he said.

The rise in the number of glaciers belied the impact of the global warming phenomena in this region with the scientist pointing out that the impact of global warming has never been a factor in the climate of the border state with the state being landlocked and surrounded by the mountainous landscape on all sides.

While most of the glaciers are found in the north district, the Zemu glacier in West Sikkim, which lies in a u-shape, is the largest such ice cap with an ice mass spread over 26 km, he said.

The department has plans to map the lakes and forest cover of the state through remote sensing application system, besides sending a team to the interior parts of the state to collect information on the number of glaciers, lakes and forests, the scientist said.

The state government had set up a nine-member commission under the leadership of a scientist, T S Singh, last year to find out the impact of global warming phenomena on the topography of the mountains.

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