SRINAGAR: While December 2014 was a dry month, January 2015 witnessed 5.6 mm rainfall. This winter as well, December continued to remain dry while January was comparatively better as it witnessed two wet spells. But the rainfall received was below the normal.
With temperature rising up to 10 degree Celsius during the day, there is no news of snowfall from the Valley’s famed weatherman Sonam Lotus. He says there are no chances of snowfall in the plains in the coming days.
The Valley is witnessing its second dry spell in the last two years. While December 2014 was a dry month, January 2015 witnessed 5.6 mm rainfall. This winter as well, December continued to remain dry while January was comparatively better as it witnessed two wet spells. But the rainfall received was below the normal.
Even in Chillai Kalan, the 40-day harshest winter period which usually begins from December 21 and ends on January 31, Srinagar was dry.
From 1901 the valley has witnessed 13 such years which remained completely dry with Srinagar receiving less than 11 mm of rain or snow.
“If we have more such snowless winters in succession for few more years, it is a matter of concern. Glaciers are directly linked with the livelihood of people. Continuous dry spells could lead to food security issues as these glaciers are melting”, Lotus told Mail Today.
A 2009 study on Kashmir’s biggest glacier, the Kolahoi glacier, pointed out that the glacier is melting faster than other Himalayan glaciers, threatening the water supply of tens of thousands of people living in the region. The study had said Kolahoi has shrunk 2.63 sq km in the past three decades, shrinking at alarming speed of 0.08 square kilometers a year.
The Kolahoi is spread over 11 sq km and feeds main river of the region,
Fortunately, the prolonged dry spell has not affected the tourism in Kashmir valley. According to officials, in contrast to the 16,303 tourists who visited Kashmir in January 2015, around 75,387 tourists including 1400 foreigners visited the valley this year. But the same does not hold true for Gulmarg.
With the government providing lot of facilities to the skiers in Gulmarg, the officials were expecting large number of foreign skiers to Gulmarg, which is oldest ski destination in Asia.
“We were expecting good number of foreign skiers. But we are satisfied with the number of tourists who came this year. We think this year tourism industry will do great”, said deputy director, Department of Tourism, Peerzada Zahoor.
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