Srinagar: Wondering why, when the Chillai Kalan is about to end, the Valley is yet to receive snow or rain? The culprit is global warming, according to a noted glaciologist.
Professor Shakeel Ramshoo, a glaciologist who has studied variations in Kashmir weather, said the unusually warm and clear weather this winter is an indicator of the effects of global warming on Kashmir.
He said archival data of the past 127 years has shown that Kashmir’s temperature has risen by 1.3 degrees Celsius.
Because of the climatic changes triggered by global warming, snow in plains melts during winter and during early spring in the higher reaches.
“In the next 40 years, many glaciers, a constant source of waters to our rivers, would melt fully which would create water issues in the region,” he added.
Ramshoo said that although the higher reaches of Kashmir have been receiving snow during the winter months since 2010, the snowfall in plains has been less and erratic.
The Valley usually received snowfall in the beginning of the Chillai Kalan, the harshest 40-day winter period from December 21 to January 31. It witnessed rainfall only once since December 21. Many tourists, who had planned trips to Gulmarg in anticipation of snowfall, have cancelled their trips.
Deputy director general of New Delhi-based Centre of Science and Development, Chandra Bushan, said they had predicted that Kashmir would experience a rise in temperatures and would be vulnerable to extreme precipitation in the form of rain and snow.
“The climate change triggered by global warming unfortunately has an adverse impact in the Himalayas. So the rise in the winter temperature should be seen in that context,” Bushan said.
“It is ironic that those places which do not contribute to global warming would be the worst hit. They would be the sufferers,” he said.
He said the devastating September floods, flash floods in Ladakh and Uttrakhand are an indication how the global warming is contributing towards an erratic weather pattern in the Himalayas.
Many experts have been skeptical of the phenomenon of global warming. Abdul Majeed Kak, an environment researcher at Islamia College, said dry spells in winter are a normal phenomenon and do not necessarily indicate that the weather of a particular region has changed.
“Global warming has its negative impacts, but in our case its effect is not huge,” he added.