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Delayed Snow, Cause of Alarm

We can't blame nature for a long to be catastrophic when we are overexploiting the natural resources. Let’s be environmental oriented to save our planet. Let’s unite to fight climate change.

There are four seasons in Kashmir and all the seasons have a characteristic phenotypic charm. The winter season is known for its chilly cold and snowfall.

The snowfall has a deep impact on agriculture, tourism, and economy of the state.

From the geological point of view, snowfall is of immense importance. It brings the temperature to certain limits that force several pathogens to undergo dormancy that would otherwise cause various health problems and agricultural losses. The low temperature is also responsible for the phenomenon of vernalisation.

Chillai-kallan is known for sub-zero temperatures and bulk snowfall. It starts from 21 December to 31 January. These 40 days form the core of winter. The chances of a bulk snowfall are maximum during this period. But unfortunately, from last several years, we are witnessing the reduced amount of snowfall during these severe cold days. This year too, the crude chillai-kallan left without a flake of snow. This is of serious concern and might point to a disturbing reality of climate change that threatens the valley.

A report prepared for the state’s department of ecology, environment and remote sensing in 2013 claimed average temperatures in the Kashmir valley had risen by 1.45 degrees Celsius over two decades. Due to increasing atmospheric temperature and reduced snowfall, the glaciers of Kashmir are retreating at an alarming rate. Two researchers, Shakil A Romshoo and Khalid Omar Murtaza who had studied the health of nine glaciers in Kashmir Himalayas between 1980 and 2013 reported that the glaciers in Lidder valley have shrunk by 17%. Lidder river originates near Sonmarg from Kolhoi Glacier and give rise to Lidder Valley. The waters of this river are mainly used for irrigation purpose through different canals and drinking through water treatment plants. It joins the river Jehlum near Anantnang district of Jammu and Kashmir.

As glaciers represent an important reservoir of fresh waters, their drastic depletion is of serious concern. If they continue to retreat at the current pace, it will pose a threat of drinking water shortage, agricultural losses, and ecological imbalance. Most of the greenhouse gases like methane, CO2 and CFCs are released into the atmosphere by anthropogenic activities, that in turn raise the atmospheric temperatures. Because of the political dispute in the state, the environmental issues are getting less concern. The government should take the matter seriously before it gets too late to restore. The public awareness about the consequences of global warming should be raised through advertisements and social programmes. We can't blame nature for a long to be catastrophic when we are overexploiting the natural resources. Let’s be environmental oriented to save our planet. Let’s unite to fight climate change.

Author is a Research Scholar, Department of Botany, Kashmir University. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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