"We will not only be able to find the climatic trends in Himalayan region during last 3,000 years but also forecast the future trends as well," said Dr BS Kotlia, a geologist of Kumaun University who is working on three projects of studying limestone caves in Uttarakhand in order to determine the climatic conditions in the past.
"We are studying year-to-year climatic conditions of last three thousand years in Uttarakhand making these limestone caves a symptom of climate change," he said.
Kotlia said that his studies on limestone caves of the region will focus on the climatic conditions that had prevailed during the last 3,000 years.
"It will reflect the rainfall and temperature from year to year as well as the trend of climate," he said.
The Himalayan caves are made of limestone which contains calcium carbonate which is soluble in water, he said.
"As raindrops fall on calcium carbonate, it dissolves with water and a blank part of other stones remains during the course of a period of thousands of years as carving on the caves," said Kotlia.
"Every year, rainfall forms a ring on the stone in an upward direction. We study that ring at 400 times magnified form before doing uranium thorium dating on them," said Kotlia, adding, if a limestone rock has to be studied for climate change it should contain at least 1 PPM of uranium on it.
Asked why he did not take the period prior to 3,000 years, Kotlia said in the time before that the Himalayan region was fully snow-covered for about 22,000 years.
"From 16,000 years back in time from today, the snow, which had covered the area upto Haldwani and Kotdwar started melting and thereafter the climate of the region changed frequently, witnessing thousand times extreme cold and hot conditions, symptoms of which are still seen in the limestone caves," he said.
According to the geologist, he has studied 32 caves in Pithoragarh, Chaukhutia (Ahmorg) and Chakrata (Garhwal) for his project along with some lakes of Garhwal.
"Some of these caves are as high as 3-storeyed buildings bearing on them the marks of various frequencies of climate in the last 3,000 years," said Kotlia.