Bad news from scientists: Thar desert growing fast

May 22nd, 2008 - 9:40 am ICT by admin  


New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) The Thar desert is expanding in the eastern and northeastern directions, scientists say and warn that desertification is a challenge that India is going to increasingly face. “Projections indicate significant increase in the desert area over India over the next 100 years,” says scientists P. Goswami and K.V. Ramesh of the CSIR Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation at Bangalore.

Their findings were published in the Current Science journal, a respected journal founded in 1932 and brought out from Bangalore in collaboration with the Indian Academy of Sciences.

Goswami and Ramesh said efforts had been made to choose a reliable projection “which shows a sharp increase in the size of the Indian desert in the next 100 years”.

Rainfall patterns had also been studied for the purpose.

The Thar desert, also known as the Great Indian desert, is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. It has an area of more than 200,000 sq km, and currently is the world’s seventh largest desert.

It lies mostly in the state of Rajasthan and extends into the southern portion of Haryana and Punjab and into northern Gujarat. In Pakistan, the desert covers the eastern Sindh province and the southeastern portion of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The Thar desert is bounded on the northwest by the Sutlej river, on the east by the Aravalli range, on the south by the salt marsh known as the Rann of Kutch (parts of which are sometimes included in the Thar), and on the west by the Indus river.

C-MMACS, as the Bangalore-based centre is called, was set up after the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in the late 1980s, recognised the growing significance of mathematical modelling and computer simulation.

Officials say it then “became evident” that modelling approaches were critical for illuminating the structure and evolution of complex systems that were “invading the areas of scientific analysis and technological design”.

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