India’s Thar desert growing fast

May 19th, 2008 - 5:43 pm ICT by admin  

Bangalore, May 19 (IANS) Northwestern India’s Thar Desert is expanding in both east and northeast directions, scientists say, and warn that desertification is becoming a more serious challenge to the country. “Projections indicate significant increase in the desert area over India in the next 100 years,” said scientists P. Goswami and K.V. Ramesh of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation here, a centre of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Their findings were published in the ‘Current Science’ journal, founded in 1932 and brought out 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 hundred years”.

Rainfall patterns had also been studied for this 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 states and into northern Gujarat state. In Pakistan, the desert covers eastern Sind province and the southeastern portion of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The Cholistan Desert adjoins the Thar desert spreading into Pakistani Punjab.

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.

Its boundary in the north is ill defined. So the size of the Thar desert varies widely, depending on which areas are included.

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