Claim: Global Warming and Snow is Killing Soldiers in the Kashmir Standoff

Siachen Glacier.

Siachen Glacier. By w:user:Saravask, based on work by w:user:Planemad (see Image:Kashmir map.svg) – Own workInternational Borders: University of Texas map libraryIndia Political map 2001Disputed Borders: University of Texas map libraryChina-India BordersEastern Sector 1988 & Western Sector 1988Kashmir Region 2004Kashmir Maps.State and District boundaries: Census of India2001 Census State MapsSurvey of India Maps.Other sources: US Army Map Service, Survey of India Map Explorer, Columbia UniversityMap specific sources: Map of Kashmir,., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2083137

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Indian military commanders have claimed Global Warming is killing soldiers on the roof of the world, the Himalayan Siachen Glacier, probably the world’s most alpine military hot zone.

Global warming Army’s new foe

Increased frequency of avalanches threatens troops at Siachen; 10 killed in Feb.

In the wee hours of February 3 this year, an unprecedented ‘ice avalanche’ hit the northern part of the Siachen glacier. It killed 10 soldiers and put spotlight on the new risk posed to troops by global warming on the glacier and the adjoining 18,000-ft-high peaks of the mighty Karakoram mountains.

It’s now emerging that the frequency of avalanches has increased by some 30 per cent at Siachen and also on the higher peaks of the Karakoram range on which India has a vital toehold in eastern Ladakh. The range in India largely falls in an area defined by military as the sub-sector north (SSN).

The quantum of snowfall has doubled, winter is setting in late and the maximum snow is being witnessed in April; thirdly, the rise in minimum temperature is not allowing the snow to freeze into hard ice. Thus, snow remains moist, resulting in slippery slopes that are avalanche-prone.

In the past four to five years, the average minimum temperature has risen. From minus 40°C in 2012, it has risen to minus 30°C this year. Similarly, the average maximum temperature has gone up from 13°C in 2012 to 15.5°C in 2016. The snowfall increased from average 650 cm in 2012-13 to 1,300 cm in the winter of 2015-16.

Read more: http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/global-warming-army-s-new-foe/269523.html

The extreme conditions in the Siachen region have killed far more soldiers than enemy fire. The evidence that changes in observed conditions are due to global warming seems a bit thin – a warm, snowy winter could easily be due to natural variation, if -30C (-22F) could be considered in any way “warm”.

Blaming “global warming” might be a convenient way to deflect rising public outrage, at the ongoing environmental attrition of Indian (and Pakistani) soldiers.

Lets hope that India and Pakistan find a peaceful way to resolve this decades old military standoff, instead of continuing to pointlessly waste the lives of their young people, in a futile ongoing struggle over ownership of a useless tract of ice.

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54 thoughts on “Claim: Global Warming and Snow is Killing Soldiers in the Kashmir Standoff

  1. From -30 to – 20 , well the snow will never turn to ice at -20 maybe -20.5 but never -20 .
    another day another claim a 2 year old can see thru .

  2. Kashmir is politically serious, but it is also a part of the political theater of the region. Like the supporters of two opposing football teams, the people need to be taught why they support that team and not the other. The simmering conflict in Kashmir serves that purpose wonderfully, and so neither side wants a resolution.
    The pantomime at the Wagah border crossing between Pakistan and India serves the same purpose. It is political theater, in the same spirit as any football match.

    .
    But make no mistake that the underlying tensions here are religious, rather than pure political. Pakistan was created out of the bitter ‘partition’ conflict, when the Muslims were encouraged to move north and the Hindus were exiled to the south, to create a majority Muslim Pakistan. Much to the dismay of Ghandi and others.
    British rule had prevented these underlying tensions from surfacing. But when British rule of law was ended, the socio-religious fractures resurfaced and the region erupted into civil war. Exactly the same happened in Yugoslavia, when the control of the USSR was lifted. And in the Levant and Israel, when British control was lifted. And in Syria, when French control was ended. And in Nigeria, when British control was ended. And in Iraq, with the expulsion of all the Iraqi Jews when British rule ended in 1947. And in all North Africa with the expulsion of the North African Jews, when French control came to an end. And the same religion was involved in each case, as it often is.
    But none of this has anything to do with the climate, by any stretch of the imagination.
    Ralph

    • Actually much of the blame belongs to Britian. It deliberately enflamed religious tensions in India as
      part of a “divide and rule” strategy. It used muslim police and troops in hindu areas and via versa. Thus
      the irony of the Indian Mutiny was that Britian managed to find a way to unite both Muslims and Hindus again the British by using cartridges greased with both cow and pig fat (or so the rumour went). Similarly in
      Ireland it provoked religious hatred between Catholics and Protestants as a way of ruling.

      • Though the British left India in 1947, their legacy continues even today and the successive indigenous rulers have used the same policies successfully for capturing and perpetuating the political power.

      • >>Actually much of the blame belongs to Britian.
        Blame? I think you will find that keeping the peace is the primary duty of any responsible authority. And divide and rule is a very effective technique.
        Why do you think that Rome had Syrians and Sarmatians holding the peace in Britain? And this policy was so successful, it was called the Pax Romana, the Roman Peace. Why do you think that the French used Assad’s Alawites in Syria, who had formerly been much persecuted and had lived in the gutter of Syrian society for a thousand years? How do you think the British retained control in lawless Iraq (and why they divided it into three competing cultures)?
        And I think ‘blame’ is also highly pejorative in the achievements of British government in greater India (including Pakistan and Bangladesh). Who united 600 fractious principalities under one national banner? Who put in the railway system, the dams, the irrigation system, electrical system, and the telephone system? Who linked the Indian telephone system to Europe? And gave India a tea industry, to help its balance of trade? And gave India a common language, and a common parliament? And prevented the barbarity of Suttee and female infanticide? Amongst many other achievements.
        R

    • My thoughts exactly. Another outstretched hand. A first-order cause and symptom of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

      • In that sense, the pot o billions at the UN for climate change is a big incentive to undermine science on a global scale.

  3. Seismic activity is increasing avalanche threat. Wow, I didn’t realize that CO2 can impact seismic activity.

    • Actually, that has been proposed. There were articles in several news outlets early last year saying some scientists have postulated a link between volcanoes and techtonic activity and increased CO2. There is nothing global warming cannot do.

      • Yes, I recall having a good belly laugh over that one. The causal chain was something like AGW caused more drought which meant that runoff of unreplaced surface water on land was un-weighting the crust which was then rebounding, which allowed magma an easier path to push up through the crust.
        Ha ha ha …. what an imagination…

      • Reality old soul,
        You speak 101 octane truth.
        “There is nothing global warming cannot do.”
        Global warming: –
        Causes Giant Badgers to devour whole Southern Railway trains seeking to flee London and the Giant Badger terrors.
        At least, I think that is vastly more reasonable than the three mutually contradictory excuses heard tonight [1659 from London Bridge] ‘held at a red signal’; ‘the train has a fault’; and ‘there is another train blocking the station ahead’. 3 hours for a – normally, even with Southern incompetence – forty or forty-five minute journey.
        Third time this week.
        Only 5 working days . . .
        Impressed?
        Yes. Ohhhh yes.
        Ahhh – but – believe me, just not at all favourably.
        Global warming.
        Causes Leicester City to win the Premiership [and foul up the I before E, except after C rule].
        Global warming.
        Causes cooling temperatures – of winter, of summer – of every season – be attributed to ‘Global warming and get your cheque books out’.
        Global warming.
        Causes peculiar haircuts to become fashionable amongst the young – at least since 1630; my father was scathing, too… . . . . .
        Global warming.
        Causes the EU to promise a European Union Army . . . . .
        There’s NATO; Brexit; and only France of the remaining 37 or 47 [or whatever, I don’t care] members spends more than a euro per head per day on defence of their realm.
        [Do you start to see where one D. Trump may get ideas??]
        Global warming.
        Causes men to become interested more in their fellow man.
        If not – I need a grant. Please importune the IPCC on my behalf.
        Global warming.
        And probably makes the lion lie down with the lamb.
        Global warming.
        Causes another six impossible things before breakfast . . . .
        Global warming.
        Auto – seeking a computer model that is not Garbage In – Garbage Out.
        But – by definition, I guess, I will never get that!

    • And, obviously, having troops running around the area letting off explosives isn’t going to make any contribution to dislodging avalanches …

    • @Mark
      “… I didn’t realize that CO2 can impact seismic activity.”
      Evidently the high priests of the Environmentalizm religion have rewritten Matthew 19:26, substituting “GW” for “God”:
      But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with GW all things are possible.

  4. We are fast reaching the point where climate alarmists are going to predict that climate change will wreck havoc upon regions of world bringing death through hypothermia and heat stroke on the same day, in the same locations and to the same people. I wish I were exaggerating, but I am afraid not. Watch for it.

    • Why be afraid? Let them do it. All they are selling is snake oil and the more exaggerated their claims of a cure the more skeptics they will create. And in doing so the less money they will get.
      There comes a point where even the most assured alarmist, perfectly correct in their thinking will reach their own personal BS level and try to out BS the others.
      I say let them hang themselves. The money is gone and it is never going to be returned. Now’s the time to start making popcorn.

  5. ‘The extreme conditions in the Siachen region have killed far more soldiers than enemy fire.’ Napoleon could have said the same about his Russian Campaign.
    Usually the major cause of non-combat-related deaths among deployed troops is incompetent generals who are ill-prepared for the conditions they are facing.
    In this case the soldiers should never have been placed in the path of a potential avalanche, which can be identified easily using aerial photography by a skilled photointerpreter.

    • “‘The extreme conditions in the Siachen region have killed far more soldiers than enemy fire.’ Napoleon could have said the same about his Russian Campaign.”
      The Indian military is conveniently attributing this to AGW because that makes them look like they are more in control of the situation than they are: They know the cause of the accident, CO2, and presumably know how to fix it, if given the chance. It was not the Indian military’s fault, it was CO2.

      • But if the military blames co2 emissions, then India should perhaps stop buidling new coal power plants 😕

  6. i am guessing that it gives them access to $millions in “climate adaptation” funds.
    my experience is that all apparent concerns about climate change in the non-annex-1 countries are best understood in these terms.

  7. Funny how they use artillery to cause avalanches in and around ski slopes and popular areas that have Avalanche risks, and yet……the artillery in and around a war zone, ummmm, isn’t at all causing those blasted avalanches.

  8. Major hypocrisy there. All while claiming “global warming”, they are essentially using the Siachen glacier as a dumping ground for all types of waste, toxic or otherwise, which can never biodegrade, in addition to other environmental abuses. They ride the “global warming” faux issue the same way the Chinese do.

  9. Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:

    In the past four to five years, the average minimum temperature has risen. From minus 40°C in 2012, it has risen to minus 30°C this year. Similarly, the average maximum temperature has gone up from 13°C in 2012 to 15.5°C in 2016. The snowfall increased from average 650 cm in 2012-13 to 1,300 cm in the winter of 2015-16.

    So now we only need 4-5 years? In which case America is going to go permanently into the freezer – if trends from the past 4-5 years are anything to go on 😉

  10. Lets hope that India and Pakistan find a peaceful way to resolve this decades old military standoff, instead of continuing to pointlessly waste the lives of their young people, in a futile ongoing struggle over ownership of a useless tract of ice.
    Thanks, Eric Worral – what’s more to say!

    • I was kinda hoping they’d use nukes to settle their differences – finally. Maybe get China involved too. A trifecta of useless nations reducing their populations to something sustainable.

    • @ Johann, 9:44 am, Sadly it seems like very country on the planet is sacrificing their young people in wars, while the Elites sit in their ivory towers and enjoy feasts

  11. Of course global warming is killing soldiers. Inept commanders never kill soldiers.

  12. Reality check July 22, 2016 at 6:02 am
    “Actually, that has been proposed. There were articles in several news outlets early last year saying some scientists have postulated a link between volcanoes and tectonic activity and increased CO2. ”
    That could be closer to reality than some may assume.
    Only requirement is that the seismically active area is part of a subducting tectonic plate, as is the case in the west of Balkan peninsula (the area I know well) among the least industrialised parts of Europe but with the highest CO2 concentration.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/WB-CO2

  13. Casualties from avalanches have been common throughout the history of mountain warfare. During World War One, in the fighting between the Italians and the Austrians in Italian Alps, there were many thousands of soldiers killed by avalanches. After heavy snowfall in December of 1916, avalanches buried an estimated 10,000 Italian and Austrian troops in two days. To blame “global warming” for avalanche casualties shows the people making such a claim are either extremely ignorant of mountain warfare, or they are blatant liars. And since it is military commanders making the claim, I believe it is the latter.

  14. There is a laboratory of the Indian army dedicated to studying this very problem, avalanches and related mortality of their soldiers. It is called SASE (Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment), it is in the Himalayas in the vicinity of the city of Chandigarh. I visited this lab twice as our company supplied to this lab a microCT scanner (xray 3d imager) for studying the 3D architecture of snow. This helps to (you guessed it) do computer simulations and models of avalanche formation. Avalanche inception is essentially a mechanical failure of snow, its failure to bear its own weight or the weight of snow above it. Different temperatures at formation and temperature histories including partial melt-refreeze result in a wide range of 3d architectures. You can get a flavour of this research field from their group leader Praveen Srivastava:
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.634.7512&rep=rep1&type=pdf
    As a scientific field it is related to the medical field of osteoporosis, also the study of mechanical failure of a complex chaotic-cellular porous structure (trabecular bone in the spine or hip) so there are links between these research fields.
    How did we scan snow without it melting? The scanner was placed in a cold room at -20 degrees. It was damn cold operating the machine, I caught a heavy cold on that training visit. (But the scanner loves those low temperatures which lower the noise dark current of the ccd-coupled xray camera.) Beautiful scenery though.

  15. In the spectacularly beautiful Kashmir region, too many people keep their eyes closed and focused on the ugliness behind their own eyelids.

  16. This brings to mind the stated goal of the USAF to control battlefield weather conditions in a few decades. Just as hubris a notion.

  17. this is embarrassing. But then again, liberals never let facts get in the way of even a terrible lie. This is so ridicules that it is not worth even saying any more!

  18. Shouldn’t we see statistically relevant data in the balloon and satellite data to back this up? Right? Oh that would make this actually worth something, which it is NOT!

  19. It all goes back to the Maharajah of Kashmir, ruler of a a predominantly muslim province, deciding to join India rather than Pakistan back in 1949.

  20. The idea that the atmosphere holds enough energy to have much of any effect at 5000 meters is viscerally absurd to anybody who has been at those altitudes .

  21. It’s the Jerry Brown blame game for money claims. Yes, you too can have a high speed rail line project paid for. It will provide for carbon free rides direct to the military front line courtesy of faceless taxpayers and their families in progressive socialist countries. Just stay on script and the rewards can be yours.

  22. The funny thing with snow and ice is that it doesn’t melt when the temperature is below 0C. Perhaps this revelation would come as a surprise to the Indian high command.

  23. So global warming causes lack of snow hence lack of melt water and too much snow? Alternatively, every other year? Both at the same time?

  24. “an unprecedented ‘ice avalanche’ hit the northern part of the Siachen glacier.”
    “the rise in minimum temperature is not allowing the snow to freeze into hard ice. ”
    I do not understand how one can have an “ice avalanche” when the temperature does not allow snow to freeze into hard ice. Perhaps it was soft ice in the avalanche.

  25. Let me see… There have NEVER been major avalanches in this area of the world in ALL of history? [mountains to 18.000 ft in the Himalayas] Or perhaps the Indian soldiers were simply not there when there were?
    Any bets on which is closer to reality?

  26. I think the biggest risks to those soldiers are a) being soldiers in Kashmir and b) sitting on glaciers.

  27. Well, has anyone proved that there is not a change in the glacier etc as described or that there is not a change in avalanche risk?
    and if not other explanation than global warming is there?

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