Geography and You, New Delhi.
Tiny bubbles of air trapped in ice blocks, hundreds of years ago, help scientists decipher how the world’s climate changed over eons. These ice blocks are locked up in glaciers that sheet most of Arctic and Antarctic, apart from closer home, the Himalaya. Interestingly these trapped air bubbles can reveal not only past atmospheric compositions and temperature variations but also types of vegetation. We today know that there has been several Ice Ages through these tiny air bubbles of the past.
The windy heights of the lofty Himalaya are not only the Indian sub-continent’s water tower, but also a barometer of climate change. The cultural matrix intricately linked with the icy realms of the Arctic and the Himalaya is threatened by these heightened changes. Thus, the melting of the glaciers, in a warming global scenario, is a concern that needs a wider canvas of understanding.
Any research begins by building knowledge—one that is provided by the collective wisdom gathered by brave hearts who have hiked over hundreds of frosty kilometers with heavy equipment, just so that you and I could learn. The past eras reconstructed and the future projected, allows us to devise adaptive strategies to help drive policy.
This issue of G’nY tries to capture the essence of scientific findings related to glaciation in the backdrop of the 4th Conference on Science and Geopolitics of Himalaya, Arctic and Antarctic, which was held on Nov 30 and Dec 1, 2017. In addition, an article on poor solar panel efficiency norms in India is an eye-opening account. In just a few years, these poorly performing panels will be discarded, creating yet another toxic environmental challenge for India.