Glacial calving high up in the Himalayas is the main reason for the flash flood which happened in Uttarakhand that killed many and washed away new dams and bridges. Glaciers in the Himalayan region are shrinking fast, increasing the risk of floods and landslides.
Glacial melt not only increases the risk of disasters through calving but also causes a surge in floods. The Indian government ignored warnings about the region's environmental instability when it went ahead with the now destroyed hydroelectric developments.
The fact that Himalayan glaciers are melting is also seen in data recorded by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, which collects standardized observations about the changes the world’s glaciers are undergoing.
Selected glaciers in India and Nepal display the annual change in the mass of glaciers in the Himalayas in recent years. Between 2016 and 2018, glaciers in the region lost the equivalent of 0.5 to 2.5 meters in thickness across their whole surface areas per year.
2019 proved a slightly better year for glaciers in India, if not in Nepal. Some Indian glaciers gained the equivalent of around 20-50 centimetres that year, while losses of more than one meter per glacier continued in Nepal.