Gangotri glacier retreated by 0.15 sq km between 2007 and 2016, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday.
Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan in a written reply said the melting of Gangotri glacier has been studied by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by taking Survey of India maps of 1962 as the base.
He said that the area of Gangotri glacier was estimated as 224.42 sq km from the maps of 1962, while from 1990 onwards satellite data was used to monitor the Himalayan glaciers.
“The study by the ISRO during last four decades has revealed that loss in area of Gangotri glacier during the years: (i) 1962 and 2005 was 3.19 sq km; (ii) 1990 and 2007 was 0.13 sq km and (iii) 2007 and 2016 was 0.15 sq km,” he said.
Major initiatives taken under the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) include establishment of a Centre for Himalayan Glaciology at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun and setting up of six thematic task forces, he said.
They include natural and geological wealth, water, ice, snow including glaciers, micro flora and fauna and wildlife and animal population, Himalayan agriculture, traditional knowledge system and forest resources and plant diversity.
He said state climate change centers have been set up in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and West Bengal.
He added that as per the fifth assessment report (AR5) of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2014, globally land and ocean surface temperature has risen by 0.85 degrees Celsius (0.65 to 1.06 degrees) over the period of 1880 to 2012.
Many extreme weather and climate events like heat waves, heavy precipitation and severe weather phenomena have been observed since about 1950, he said.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), in line with rising temperatures across the globe, all India mean temperature has risen by nearly 0.60 degrees Celsius over the last 110 years.
“Further, IMD studies have highlighted that extreme events like heat waves, extreme rainfall events of moderate (>5 cm/day) and high (>10 cm/day) intensity have shown significant positive trend,” he said.