Research Highlight

Water properties point to climate change

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.345 Published online 30 November 2009

New studies have shown that the Indian Sundarbans are experiencing the effects of climate change over the last three decades1.

Researchers observing variables such as surface water temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen and transparency say these parameters have shown significant long-term variation over a period of 27 years (1980–2007).

The temperature in these waters has risen at the rate of 0.5°C per decade, much higher than the globally observed warming rate of 0.06°C per decade.

The researchers have found that the waters of the western rivers (Hooghly and Muriganga) are fresher now than in the 80s and 90s, probably due to the increased amount of meltwater from the Gangotri Glacier which is receding at the rate of 23 m/year.

The authors of this study are from: Department of Marine Science, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India and School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA.


  1. Mitra, A. et al. Observed changes in water mass properties in the Indian Sundarbans (northwestern Bay of Bengal) during 1980–2007. Curr. Sci. 97, 1445-1452 (2009)