A case study from Bagrot Valley


Hinarche glacier in upper Indus catchment is one the giant mass of flowing ice among all others. It has been reported in several other glacio-hydrological studies and is considered as a retreating glacier. Variation in climatic conditions of the valley has been convicted for the retreating behavior  of Hinarche glacier so called “Climate change”. Now a days study of Hinarchi glacier become very essential because this flowing mass of ice was reason for number of glacio-hydrological hazards in valley.  However  number of other environmental parameters might be cause of ice retreat, i.e. anthropogenic (Glacier mining) and local geology. Historically less attention has been given to analyse the possible effects of glacier mining and local geology on the advancing and retreating behavior of glacier.

The current research expedition on (27-30 Oct, 201) to Bagrote valley was aimed to realize the effect of anthropogenic activities and current status of Hinarch and Barpu Glacier. Results of this preliminary study will help to analyse potential natural hazards to life and to the natural resources in Bagrote valley.  The present available data regarding to anthropogenic activity (mining of ice from Hinarch Glacier) has shown, tones of ice has been removed in last year 2016-17. Hinarchi Glacier has been mined continuously since last 30 years (magsi 2015). Remarkable changes on glacier terminus has been reported. Ice is bad conductor of heat so the hidden part of ice get preserved until the outer layer of ice remain freeze over it. Mining of ice leads to remove tones of ice mechanically and expose hidden part of ice to melt down. And also disturbs the natural environment of debris covered ice (Hinarchi Glacier). Combine effect of mining and changing climate may results in the rapid removal of glacier ice in valley. Glacier tounge of Hinarchi glacier is debris covered, ice mining also effects the thermal resistance of glacier ecosystem, this ultimately increases ice melt rate. Geo-morphological features above 3100 m a.s.l. of Hinarche glacier shows no any remarkable changes in behavior of ice but the terminal position despite the retreat of glaciers.  So we can conclude that the retreat of glacier snout might be result of anthropogenic activities. However, data of complex parameters like emission rate of CO2, CH4, precipitation and temperature is required to validate the discussion on retreating / stagnant behavior of Hinarche glacier.

However Hinarchi Glacier starts from minimum elevation of 2600 m a.s.l. If mining of Hinarchi Glacier continues for few more years then there will be no more ice in lower elevations of Bagrote valley. Hinarchi Glacier is one of the big natural resource in valley. Many life depend directly on the melt water so it is very important to have knowledge about the behavior of Hinarchi and other ice masses for sustainable use of available resources.

Terminal of Hinarchi Glacier