An influential UN panel is facing the heat over its 2007 statement that Himalayan glaciers were retreating faster than those anywhere else and would entirely disappear by 2035, if not sooner. By Vivek Dev
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC), said that the UN body was studying how the report "derived" the information about glacier retreat, a spokesman of The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi said. According to the spokesman Pachauri said glaciers were melting, but the 2035 date was in question. The report raised concerns about water-supply issues in India as the glaciers feed rivers of the Gangetic plain, which is home to millions.
Though there is little possibility of the revelations overturning the scientific consensus on glacial retreat, they have nevertheless, brought into question IPCC's data on Himalayan glaciers and the manner in which it was collected and reviewed.
"The IPCC report said Himalayan glaciers are receding faster than anywhere else in the world and that's not correct," said Dr J Graham Cogley, a professor of geography at Trent University in Ontario.
Cogley, a glaciologist who contributed to another part of the 2007 IPCC report is one of the first scientists to raise questions about some inconsistencies in the section on Himalayan glaciers. He said the 2035 date was also likely wrong.
"There's a failure to review this data adequately by qualified experts," Prof Cogley said.