In the Himalayas, glaciers are melting faster than ever before during the summers as global warming plays havoc with weather conditions across the globe. The melting glaciers often form lakes in the higher reaches, and soon turn into one of the biggest natural calamities in the hilly regions—flash floods due to glacial lake bursts. Several such glacial lake burst floods, often referred to as GLBF, have caused unprecedented devastation, including the 2013 Kedar valley flash floods in Uttarakhand. In Sikkim, a tiny northeastern state nestled in the Himalayas, the state government has been draining water from dangerously overflowing glacial lakes to turn the excess water into ‘ice towers’—which also become a repository of water for the hill state. In the cold desert of Ladakh, where water is a scarce and precious commodity, environmental engineer Sonam Wangchuk has ‘ice stupas’ as high as 65 feet; these become a source of water for the people in the driest months of the year.
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