Smaller glaciers in the Himalayas are proving much more vulnerable to climate change impacts than previously thought, with significant implications for the livelihood and freshwater supplies of millions, according to a new report by WWF-India and Birla Institute of Technology (BIT). 'Witnessing Change: Glaciers in the Indian Himalayas' analyses continuing monitoring of two central Himalayan glaciers since 2006, trying to overcome the lack of baseline data on glaciers that is hampering studies of this key climate indicator. One of the glaciers studied is Gangotri, a 30km long glacier famed and sacred as a principal source of the Ganges. Overall, nearly 30% of Ganges water comes from snow and glacier melt, with variations in snowfalls, melt rates and flow regimes having potentially profound effects across a huge area of northern India. Kafni Glacier, whose now separate elements are 4.2km long, also empties into the headwaters of the Ganges. Kafni is not only losing ice faster than Gangotri but its former and now hanging tributaries are losing ice faster still. The WWF study explores how the glaciers in the Indian Himalayas are going through change by using scientific data as well as empirical evidence of ground level parameters. In order to understand the impact of hydro-meteorological parameters, the team has installed two automated weather stations� one at Bhojwasa near Gangotri and another in Kafni. The initial results from the field study indicate that the Himalayan glaciers are retreating, but at a reduced rate and the larger glaciers like Gangotri are unlikely to disappear in near future, due to their large mass balance. Smaller glaciers like Kafni are not only retreating at a faster rate, but are losing more of their glaciated portion and tributary glaciers � a trend which has been observed across the Himalayas for many other smaller glaciers as well.