Eminent Climate Experts on Restoration of Greenland and Himalayan Glaciers

First published on April 26, 2021

By Rituraj Phukan

On April 23, 2020, the Healthy Climate Initiative, Arctic Ice Project, and The Climate Reality Project India held an interactive webinar on 'Restoration of Greenland and Himalayan Glaciers'. This webinar was a prelude to a symposium to be held later this year, to communicate the realities and urgency of slowing the melt of the HKH and Greenland glaciers and to avert catastrophic impacts on the life and livelihood of billions of people.

His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, (Chairman, Arctic Circle and former President of the Republic of Iceland), climate scientists Sir David King, Dr. Peter Wadhams, Dr. M.R. Bhutiyani, Dr. Leslie Field, and Healthy Climate Initiative (HCI) President Dr. Soumitra Das were among the speakers.

It is well established that the Arctic and Himalayan glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. Unless checked, the melting would have profound implications for life forms around the world. His Excellency Grímsson gave an overview of the glacial loss in the Arctic and HKH regions, the challenges faced by people living in these regions, and a roadmap for collaborative action, following the introductory speech delivered by HCI President and one of the Co-Conveners Dr. Soumitra Das.

"The limited time that is at our disposal, means that every effort that we want to implement has to be scalable. We can no longer afford to spend another decade on scientific experiments. That time is over."

- His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

Sir David King, Emeritus Professor at Cambridge University and former Special Representative for Climate Change to the Foreign Secretary, UK, in his presentation spoke about the implications of the loss of sea ice across the arctic, methane leakage from the ocean floor and across the Russian arctic.

Dr. Peter Wadhams, Emeritus Professor, Ocean Physics, and Head, Polar Ocean Physics Group of Cambridge University spoke about the need for interim solutions to restore the Arctic and Himalayan ice sheets.

Dr. Mahendra R. Bhutiyani, Director (Retd.), Defence Terrain Research Laboratory shared his vast research on the subject in a presentation entitled 'Climate Change, its implications, and mitigation strategies – A Himalayan Perspective.' "Our mitigation strategies should address - how to decelerate the abnormally high rate of winter warming, save depleting winter snow cover, and restore the health of our retreating glaciers," said Dr. Mahendra R. Bhutiyani.

Dr. Leslie Field, Founder and CTO of Arctic Ice Project and Co-Convener of the event elaborated on the Arctic Ice Project's solution to restore the Arctic ice sheet and the potential of extending it to slow the melting of Himalayan and Greenland glaciers.

After an interactive Q&A and discussions on the way forward, Co-Convener Rituraj Phukan delivered the 'Vote of Thanks' on behalf of The Climate Reality Project India.