Military activity responsible for glacier tragedy: Expert

Published: April 14, 2012

Debunks ‘myth’ that Siachen is melting due to global warming. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: 

Experts believe that military activity across the Siachen area caused the glacier to ‘surge’, which led to the recent tragedy in the Giari sector.

“It was neither a cloudburst nor an avalanche, but a ‘glacier surge’ that took the lives of our soldiers,” said Arshad Abbasi, an authority on glaciers and a consultant with the Sustainable Development and Policy Institute (SDPI).

Glacier surges are caused either by a rise in temperature or tectonic movements, during which glaciers advance substantially, he said.

Having checked the record of tremors occurring in the last month and not finding any evidence, Abbasi insists that a rise in temperature caused the ice at the base of the glacier to melt, reducing the frictional resistance keeping it from sliding downwards.

The rise in temperature is directly proportionate to the excessive military presence in the area, he said.

The latest images of the glacier show “visible cracks in its midst and the number of glacial lakes formed beneath it,” he added. Abbasi also rejected the impression that global warming was causing the Siachen glacier to melt.

The adjoining Baltoro Glacier is not only stable, but has also gained mass compared to its volume in 1904, he said.

He cited a NASA report titled ‘Advancing Glaciers and Positive Mass Anomaly in the Karakoram Himalaya’ which states that more than 65% of glaciers in the Karakoram are growing.

“Therefore, it is a myth that Siachen is melting because of global warming; it is a case of direct human interference,” Abbasi said.

He said it is time that the global community works with Pakistani and Indian leaders to save Himalayan glaciers by solving the long-standing Siachen dispute.

Meanwhile, adviser to the federal government on climate Qamar Zaman Chaudhry said heavy military presence of India and Pakistan has definitely had an impact on the glacier surge in Siachen.

He agreed that the area needs to be declared an independent glacier park by withdrawing forces from both sides.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Harry Stone
    Apr 14, 2012 - 9:35AM

    What happened to global warming?

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  • Mirza
    Apr 14, 2012 - 11:05AM

    What are the credentials of this expert who is single handedly rejecting the global warming? If the glaciers are melting and growing at the same time that means there would and should be no shortage of water in the rivers. However, the water is becoming more and scarcer.

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  • Bilafond
    Apr 14, 2012 - 11:35AM

    Military activity in this particular area has never been a factor even remotely to be considered.

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  • MarkH
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:09PM

    Ice can expand pending on temperature/what step in the process of freezing and melting the ice is in. One such example being when it’s initially melting it expands.

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  • Truth Seeker
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:43PM

    Any expert who can shed light if this massive snow slide might have been the result of using some sophisticated resonance equipment or a laser beam. I guess, even if quite a little energy is applied at some critical point, then initially a small scale snow slide can build into what happened here.

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  • maestro
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:47PM

    Can someone explain to me why we are both (Pak-India) fighting over a GLACIER?? What are we gonna do – build a PC resort over there at 15000 feet? JUst make it neutral and both armies get out of there – enough lives have been lost on both sides for no reason!!

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  • raw is war
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:52PM

    Sorry- siachin is still is ours.

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  • Truth Hurts
    Apr 14, 2012 - 4:42PM

    @raw is war:
    In your dreams!

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  • saeed
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:07PM

    take Siachian take the whole world ,but just save one LIFE

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  • Jan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:14PM

    @raw is war:
    Keep dreaming!!!

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:09PM

    Did he warn Military authorites and what was their response? Real experts warn before something happens. There is no shortage of monday morning quarterbacks in our nation. The simple truth is, there are many places on earth where human beings should not leave their footprint. If we travel in Pakistani mountains, there is hardly any place where houses are not built. Only very high unapproachable mountains are spared from humans and these humans have least respect for nature. Majority of the hills and mountains have been wiped out of trees and grass. Is there any report from experts about this humiliation of nature? After disaster, these experts will come forward to deliver their lectures, but it will be too late then.

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  • Arshad
    Apr 14, 2012 - 8:07PM

    The expert’s opinion seems logical. Both India and Pakistan must be stopped by the UN to deploy troops on glaciers which are damaging the environment.

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  • its (still) the economy stupid
    Apr 14, 2012 - 9:00PM

    Even a slight pressure from a skier can trigger avalanches. Do not blame Military activity.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 14, 2012 - 11:13PM

    @Arshad:
    I agree with you, and that part of the expert is correct and both countries should back off. Theset things can be triggered by and dynamic activity and the arming of glacier must be stopped.
    However, the part that I disagree with the expert is the denial of global warming and in fact increase in the amount of glacier and its mass.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • Babar Saleem Marwat
    Apr 14, 2012 - 11:31PM

    wow, so many experts in the comments panel: idiots the writer is right in claiming about glacial gains [gain in ice mass] in karakorams and himalayas/ the report came about a few months back. there is global warming [i am not sure whether there is or not, but experts say there is such stuff] but it haven’t effected this region, instead the region is showing gains.

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  • Maheen
    Apr 15, 2012 - 2:25AM

    The global warming theory was nothing but a scam and it has already been approved that this all drama was staged to get massive funds under this umbrella and use them elsewhere. This is also proved that Karakorum and Himalayas are growing in volume. Both these reports are accepted and published months ago and there is no ambiguity in them. Its just Scientific Backwardness to believe such theories which are already being nulled by logic. Weathers are growing extreme. Winters are becoming more COLD and Summers more HOT. also the cycle have moved a little forward. Like in our part of the world winters have moved forward by a month or so but if u see it on the other end it has also moved forward. It is April and still moderate,Not too hot. Every thing is going back to the basics, The areas like Islamabad where it used to snow some 80 years back its coming back. Allah has better plans and nobody knows it better then him how to balance things . There is always a BALANCE and there will always be a BALANCE. that is the principal of universe. Happiness is balanced by Sadness. Summers by winters. Highs by Lows, Male Female what nt. And this Siachen activity was not natural. Something definately have been humanly planned and executed on the world’s highest battlefield. I still hope we WITNESS a miracle that has never been witnessed before(INSHALLA). Because for ALLAH nothing is impossible. He kept Hazrat Younis alive in fish’s stomach HE can do it too (ONLY IF HE INTENDS AND IF IT IS FOR THE BETTER,SURELY HE KNOWS WHAT WE DONT KNOW)Recommend

  • Maheen
    Apr 15, 2012 - 2:36AM

    @Mirza:
    Glaciers are growing and not melting because there is no global warming happening. Thats why there is scarcity of water . Your own statement is enough to prove this theory of global warming wrong. Think…. open the inner eye my brother.Recommend

  • Dr. Khan
    Apr 15, 2012 - 5:33PM

    It is serious discussion on complex subject, ask the families of more than 800o soldiers on both sides.
    But here let make point that Mostly almost 80 % Glaciers in Karakorum are growing, except Siachen.
    Please read latest 342 pages, Book ‘The Karakoram Anomaly’ based on field observation by R. Baudo, Gianni Tartari, Elisa Vuillermoz – published in 2007.

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