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‘Cold desert Ladakh was actively flooding during the post-glacial warming’

Scientists have shown that the cold desert of Ladakh Himalaya once experienced large floods that rose much above the present-day river level. It implies that in the scenario of global warming, when the higher Himalaya regions are expected to respond dramatically, flood frequency in Ladakh may increase, which may call for serious urban and rural planning.

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Large floods that naturally occur in major rivers of India fed by melting snow and glaciers and a continental scale precipitation regime of Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) and Westerlies and East Asian Summer Monsoon (EASM) significantly modify the landscape and impact lives and economy of all that encroached into its geomorphic domain.

A team of students and scientists lead by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology at Dehradun, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, travelled through the tough terrains of Zanskar and Indus drained Himalaya and looked minutely into geological signatures of past floods in Ladakh region that date between 15-3 thousand years before present. This study was recently published online in the Geological Society of America Bulletin.

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