Bali et al. (2011) introduce their review of what we know about Himalayan glaciers by noting that a "glacial inventory carried out by the Geological Survey of India reveals the existence of over 9,000 valley glaciers in India and at least about 2,000 glaciers in Nepal and Bhutan," citing Raina (2006). And they say that "following the alarmist approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)," a number of subsequent reports related to the bleak future of Himalayan glaciers have been issued, mainly through the media. These reports, as they describe them, have suggested that "almost all Indian glaciers including the Gangotri glacier will vanish from the earth in the next few decades." More particularly, they say the reports suggest that "initially, there would be flooding followed by the drying of glacial fed rivers of the Indian subcontinent, desertification, rise of sea level, submergence of the coastal areas, spread of diseases, drop in the production of food grains, etc.," all due, of course, to "anthropogenically induced global warming (AGW)."
So what's the real story?
The four researchers - all of whom are associated with the Centre of Advanced Study in Geology at India's Lucknow University - write that in the Garhwal Himalaya, the Gangotri glacier, which was earlier receding at a rate of around 26 m/year between 1935 and 1971 (Raina, 2003; Sharma and Owen, 1996; Naithani et al., 2001; Srivastava, 2003), "has shown a gradual decline in the rate of recession," coming down to around 17 m/year between 1974 and 2004, and that it has lastly showed "a recession of about 12 m/year during 2004 and 2005 (Kumar et al., 2008)." They also say that the Dokriana glacier has "maintained an overall constant rate of recession (around 16-18 m/year) between the year 1962 and 1995 (Dobhal et al., 2004)," and they indicate that their monitoring of the Pindari glacier in the Kumaun Himalaya suggests that "the rate of recession has come down to almost 6.5 m/year between 1966 and 2007 (Bali et al., 2009), as compared to around 26 m/year between 1845 and 1906."
Read more at CO2 Science - here.