The study titled, ‘Glacier retreat, dynamics and bed overdeepenings of Parkachik Glacier’, published in Annals of Glaciology journal on July 18, reveals that the retreat “drastically escalated between 2015 and 2021 at an average rate of 20m per year, which is significantly up from a rate of 4m per year between 1971 and 2015”.
Surface ice velocity in the lower ablation zone was 45m in 1999-2000 and 32m in 2020-2021, thus reduced by 28%,” the report states. The field and satellite-based observations indicate that “the calving nature of the glacier margin and the development of a proglacial lake may have enhanced the retreat.
The significant slowdown, extensive surface lowering, progressive growth and expansion of the proglacial lake at the terminus, and consecutive calving of the snout since 2015 suggest accelerated glacier demise”. Experts warn that “if the glacier continues to retreat at a similar rate, three lakes of different dimensions may form”. Popularly known as locals, Parkachik is one of the largest glaciers in the Suru river valley covering 53 sq kms and is 14 kms long and northward trending. This glacier originates from the Nun and Kun peaks south of the Suru river.