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Conference on Climate Change: Shifting Science and Changing Policy


14 October 2011

Phirozeshah Mehta Building , Mumbai University ,

Vidyanagari, Kalina, Mumbai

Session 4: Geological evidence

  • Prof. Arun Deep Ahluwalia: Climate Change or Global Warming: Man Made or Natural or Both (Read Abstract) 
  • Prof. Rajinder K. Ganjoo: Glacial Response to Environmental Changes in Nubra Valley (Ladakh) (Read Abstract)
  • Dr. Rohinton Avasia:  Holocene Sea level changes along the West Coast of India  (Read Abstract)

  • Dr Kandasamy Selvaraj, Effect of Mountain Glaciers in the Desert (Read Abstract)


Abstracts of papers to be presented in session on Geological Evidence.

Climate Change or Global Warming: Man Made or Natural or Both


By : Prof. Arun Deep Ahluwalia


Climate change, normally a highly scientific issue, has in the last many decades become a highly contentious and political issue. In early seventies, trillions of dollars were being spent on research to avert an impending ice age. In the last couple of decades, focus was on “An inconvenient truth- a global warning”. Quickly “Global warming” has been replaced cleverly by discussions on “Climate Change”.. From a geologist’s perspective, all this hype about “global warming” or “climate change” being man made, sounds disproportionate to the fascinating geological history of the planet earth. Geologically, brief ice ages coupled with world wide regressions of seas, have come and been followed prolonged phases of global warming and coincident sea level rise. If the earlier coolings and warmings happened without man, current and the latest phase of global warming and sea level rise commencing about 18,000 years back cannot and must not on a long term geological time scale, be attributable to man. Even the Ozone whole attributed to man is to a great extent natural. The man survived the last ice age spanning briefest of all major ice ages i.e. around 2.5 million years. The first two major ice ages were Snow Ball events making entire planet covered in a blanket of snow several kilometers thick for nearly a hundred million years each time.


Truth about man made global warming must be bared. I want to blow up the political humdrum and economic exploitation of the poor countries by the big wigs masquerading as climate scientists without even a nodding acquaintance with geological history and scientific causes of global warming and cooling. The politics of climate change and climate of worldwide poverty needs an honest and God fearing approach. Even during last 18000 years of scientific global warming, we have had three mini ice ages. It has been scientifically proven and accepted by global geological communities. Mini global warming and global cooling has alternated even during this period succeeding the last major ice age in Earth’s History. These fascinating scientific facts of Earth history have been totally knocked out by the massive hype of man made global warming now cleverly called climate change. Man indeed may be a pygmy before nature and incapable of causing or reversing a global warming or climate change. To err on the side of caution let us presume man may be contributing a minor fraction towards warming of the earth. The planet has a great resilience we must not however forget.




Glacial Response to Environmental Changes in Nubra Valley (Ladakh)

By :
Prof. Rajinder K. Ganjoo

The 114 glaciers of Nubra valley, Karakorum, Ladakh of various dimensions are divided into seven classes of 5km interval each, based on the length of the glacier. Almost 52.6% of the glaciers are of the size less than 5 km and 31.5% of the total glaciers are between the size of 5 and 10 kms. This clearly suggests that Nubra valley is occupied by a large number of small glaciers. Majority of largest glaciers are confined to the southeast segment. The SE facing glaciers comprise nearly 84% of the total glacier area of 114 glaciers. The study of 114 glaciers has been divided into two groups of 84 and 30 glaciers. The change in the area of first group comprising 84 glaciers has been made for the years 1989 and 2001, the time series for which the satellite imageries are available for the area. The change in the area of 84 glaciers with effect from 1969 could not be studied due to the non-availability of Survey of India (SOI) topographic sheets covering these glaciers. The second group comprising 30 glaciers has been studied in detail with respect to change in the area for the years 1969, 1989 and 2001. The selection of 30 glaciers for their detail study on change in area since 1969 was primarily because of the availability of SOI topographic sheets covering these glaciers in the Nubra valley.

Twenty-five glaciers, out of the 84 glaciers in Nubra valley show gain in area from 1989 to 2001. Good percentage (24%) of the glaciers in this category is oriented in east, followed by northwest and west directions that are represented by 16% glaciers each of this category. Twelve percent of glaciers of this category are in southeast direction, followed by 8% each in north-northwest and southwest directions, whereas 4% each of glaciers are in northeast, south southeast and south-southwest directions. The glaciers in this category occupied an area of 1096.39 sq km in 1989 that enhanced to 1104.33 sq km in 2001.

Twenty-six glaciers, out of 84 glaciers in Nubra valley are those who vacated the area between 1989 and 2001. The dominating orientation of glaciers in this category is in southeast (23%), followed by northeast (19%). Equal percentage (15% each) of glaciers belonging to this category is oriented in south and east directions. Besides, 8% each is represented by north, south-southwest and southwest directions, whereas 4% of glaciers are oriented north-northeast. The glaciers in this category have reduced in area from 330.542 sq km in 1989 to 326.007 sq km in 2001.

Thirty-three glaciers, out of 84 glaciers show no change in their area between 1989 and 2001. The glaciers occupy an area of 1733.219 sq km from 1989 to 2001. Dominating percentage of glaciers belonging to this category are oriented in west (31%) followed by north (15%). The other directions represented by this category are northwest (12%), northeast (9%), east (9%), southeast (9%), south (6%), south-southwest (6%) and southwest (3%).

Thirty out of 114 glaciers of the second group are those who have record since 1969. The critical comparative evaluation of glaciers marked on the SOI topographic sheets of 1969 with Landsat imagery of 1989 and LiSS-III imagery of 2001 shows that three glaciers have gained area since 1969, eight glaciers have gained area from 1969 to 1989 and then vacated the area from 1989 to 2001, five glaciers show vacation of area from 1969 to 1989 but subsequently gain in area from 1989 to 2001, seven glaciers show constant vacation of area from 1969 to 2001, three glaciers show gain in area from 1969 to 1989 but subsequently no change in area from 1989 to 2001, whereas four glaciers show vacation of area from 1969 to 1989 and subsequently no change in area from 1989 to 2001.

The changes in the glaciers of Nubra valley are varied and complex. Some glaciers show change in length with respect to area whereas some glaciers show variation in area and not in length. In absence of intensive weather data from the Nubra valley, it would be premature to conclude upon the causes for such complex and varied changes. However, it is beyond doubt that glaciers of the Nubra valley do not show much change in their length and area between 1989 and 2001 compared to the time period 1969 to 1989.

Holocene Sea level changes along the West Coast of India


By: Dr. Rohinton Avasia




Raised Beaches of Holocene Epoch occurring along the West Coast of India are termed ‘Littoral Concrete’ in Indian Geological Literature. These remnants of the former sea level rise are dated to interpret the eustatic variation of sea level related to the repetitive episodes of Warmer Climate in Holocene Epoch. This data, in turn, is considered useful in interpretation of the age and evolution of Stone Age Sites in the coastal regions of Maharashtra.


Effect of Mountain Glaciers in the Desert

By: Dr Kandasamy Selvaraj

Establishing the precise timing of continental glacial dynamics and abrupt high-latitude climate events is crucial to understanding the causes of global climate change. Here I present multi-proxy records in a lake sediment core from arid Inner Mongolia that show two distinct events of glaciers-originated sedimentation at ~26.2-21.8 ka BP (thousand years before present-ka BP) and ~17.3-11.5 ka BP. Fine sediments from the Last Glacial Maximum separate these moraine-derived sediments. Within these intervals, the occurrence of granite clasts at ~24-23.5, 17.3-17 and 15.6-14.1 ka BP suggests sediment discharge by melt water from Tibetan Plateau as well as strong current flow in the Yellow River. Additional analyses of surface characteristics of quartz grains and spot elemental analysis of black specks in these intervals indicate physical weathering dominance of provenance rocks under glaciated conditions. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time mountain glaciers-impacted sediments have been detected in any desert lake in the Yellow River basin. Interestingly enough, the occurrence of pink granite clasts correlates with ice-rafting (Heinrich) events in the North Atlantic, suggesting synchronous ice sheet dynamics in high and mid-latitude regions during the last glacial period. This study provides an unprecedented evidence for the influence of remote mountain glaciers in arid Inner Mongolia during the deglacial interval, implying that future global warming may enhance the flow energy of glaciers-born rivers in Asia.

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