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Glacial advances over thousands of years synchronize with climate variability, finds study

A study conducted by a group of scientists from the Wadia Institute of Geological Sciences revealed that the moisture-deprived valleys in the Himalayas react sensitively to precipitation.

The term MIS 3 refers to the alternating warm and cool periods that occurred during the Earth's Palaeoclimate found through oxygen isotope data reflecting temperature fluctuations.

The oldest known glacial advance from Uttarakhand was observed in the central Himalayas’ Yankti Kuti valley, which is located in the extreme eastern part of the state. Through its geomorphological mapping, the scientists were able to identify four events of glaciation that happened during the past 52,000 MIS 3. These events were associated with decreasing magnitude that synchronizes with climate variability, found the study.

The term MIS 3 refers to the alternating warm and cool periods that occurred during the Earth’s Palaeoclimate found through oxygen isotope data reflecting temperature fluctuations. A study conducted by a group of scientists from the Wadia Institute of Geological Sciences revealed that the moisture-deprived valleys in the Himalayas react sensitively to precipitation.

The study, which was published in a journal, Quaternary Science Reviews provided a robust timeline of the events that occurred during the MIS 3 period. It also highlighted the significant ice volume that was recorded by the various glacial materials that were deposited during this period.

“Last glacial maximum (LGM) glaciation was associated with temperature decline and enhanced westerlies and glacial advances in Yankti Kuti valley synchronizes with climate variability,” it said. LGM refers to the maximum global ice volume during the last glacial cycle.

Earlier, various researchers have been able to provide information about the nature of the glacial movement in the Central Himalayas by using modern dating techniques. However, a limitation of this research is the data on the landforms that were formed during this period is still less due to the inaccessibility of these regions. Thus the correlation between the Indian summer monsoon and the glacier advance and westerlies in the region remains unclear.

The findings of the study could help improve the understanding of the relationship between the climate and glacier dynamics in the Himalayas and help climatologists to find out how the Indian summer monsoon and westerlies can influence the development of the glaciers in the Central Himalayan region.

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