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109 Highly fragile Glacial Lakes formed in Himachal Pradesh in last Two Years: Study

In the Satluj basin alone, the number of glacial lakes increased by 352 in the two-decade period from 1993 to 2013

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Shimla, Oct 7, 2016: Highly fragile moraine-dammed lakes, an increasing phenomenon in the Himalayas, increased from 596 to 705 in barely two years in Himachal Pradesh, raising the spectre of glacial lake outburst floods, warns a state government study.

The study, conducted by the State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, says there is accelerated glacial melting in the Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj river basins in the state, resulting in the formation of 109 new lakes between 2013 and 2015.

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In the Satluj basin alone, the number of glacial lakes increased by 352 in the two-decade period from 1993 to 2013. However, between 2013 and 2015, unlike other three rivers basins, the Satluj has recorded no new addition of glacial lake formation.

The study said a number of such glacial lake outburst floods have occurred in the Nepal Himalayas. However, no such case has been reported in India so far.

The floods in Uttarakhand in 2013 have been correlated with the bursting of a lake.

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“Regular monitoring of moraine-dammed lakes will help avert any future natural disasters like glacial lake outburst floods in the Himalayas,” Kunal Satyarthi, Joint Member Secretary of the Council, told IANS.

He said the Council’s Centre on Climate Change has been carrying out studies in the state’s Himalayas since 1993, which includes the monitoring of snow and glaciers, maintaining the inventory of the glaciers, seasonal snow cover mapping and monitoring of all moraine-dammed glacial lakes.

The Parchu lake, which originates from Tibet in China, is also being monitored regularly during ablation period from April to September every year.

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The number of lakes in Chenab basin has increased to 192 in 2015 from 116 in 2013 — their number was only 55 in 2001.

In the Beas river basin, there were 67 lakes in 2013, while in 2015 they have increased to 89. Similarly, the Ravi basin saw an increase of 12 lakes during this period.

In the Satluj basin, out of 390 lakes, 42 lakes are spread over 10 hectares each. This basin has the maximum number of large lakes compared to the three other river basins.

“The lakes with area more than 10 hectares and area between 5-10 hectares can be seen as potential vulnerable sites,” Satyarthi said. (IANS)

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine
Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 3, 2018: Although winegrowers seem reluctant to try new grape varieties apparently to protect the taste of the wines, new research suggests that they will ultimately have to give up on their old habit as planting lesser-known grape varieties might help vineyards to counteract some of the effects of climate change.

vineyards. wikimedia commons

“It’s going to be very hard, given the amount of warming we’ve already committed to… for many regions to continue growing the exact varieties they’ve grown in the past,” said study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, Assistant Professor at Harvard University.

“With continued climate change, certain varieties in certain regions will start to fail — that’s my expectation,” she said.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that wine producers now face a choice — proactively experiment with new varieties, or risk suffering the negative consequences of climate change.

“The Old World has a huge diversity of wine grapes — there are overplanted 1,000 varieties — and some of them are better adapted to hotter climates and have higher drought tolerance than the 12 varieties now making up over 80 per cent of the wine market in many countries,” Wolkovich said.

“We should be studying and exploring these varieties to prepare for climate change,” she added.

Unfortunately, Wolkovich said, convincing wine producers to try different grape varieties is difficult at best, and the reason often comes down to the current concept of terroir.

Terroir is the notion that a wine’s flavour is a reflection of where which and how the grapes were grown.

Thus, as currently understood, only certain traditional or existing varieties are part of each terroir, leaving little room for change.

The industry — both in the traditional winegrowing centres of Europe and around the world — faces hurdles when it comes to making changes, Wolkovich said.

In Europe, she said, growers have the advantage of tremendous diversity.

They have more than 1,000 grape varieties to choose from. Yet strict labelling laws have created restrictions on their ability to take advantage of this diversity.

For example, just three varieties of grapes can be labelled as Champagne or four for Burgundy.

Similar restrictions have been enacted in many European regions – all of which force growers to focus on a small handful of grape varieties.

“The more you are locked into what you have to grow, the less room you have to adapt to climate change,” Wolkovich said.

New World winegrowers, meanwhile, must grapple with the opposite problem — while there are few, if any, restrictions on which grape varieties may be grown in a given region, growers have little experience with the diverse — and potentially more climate change adaptable — varieties of grapes found in Europe, the study said.

Just 12 varieties account for more than 80 per cent of the grapes grown in Australian vineyards, Wolkovich said.

More than 75 per cent of all the grapes grown in China is Cabernet Sauvignon — and the chief reason why has to do with consumers.

“They have all the freedom in the world to import new varieties and think about how to make great wines from a grape variety you’ve never heard of, but they’re not doing it because the consumer hasn’t heard of it,” Wolkovich said. (IANS)