By Bilal Bashir Bhat
AS scientific predictions become reality, the emergency is becoming palpable, indisputable, and widespread, with dramatic weather events reported with an ever-increasing frequency. Such patterns have disastrous, far-reaching effects on the natural world, global food supplies, health, infrastructure, and more. The climate disaster is here with soaring heat across Jammu, erratic weather phenomenon with increasing and devastating cloud bursts, and flashfloods in Jammu and Kashmir leading to deaths and damage to property worth lakhs. Scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and large storms are likely going to become more frequent or more intense with this human-induced climate change.
J&K is a mountainous area, which is very susceptible to global warming and climate change. Climate change and warming are global trends, and their impact on Jammu and Kashmir is significant. In the last few months, especially in July 2022, we have witnessed increasing cloud bursts and Flash Floods. Devastating cloud bursts hit the Balthal (Songmarag), Doda, Poonch, Kathua, and many other districts in Jammu and Kashmir leading to deaths, injuring many, and damaging property. Erratic rainfall, snowfall patterns, and unusually warm winters are some of the characteristics of climate change in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a report, the temperature in Jammu and Kashmir has risen by an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius against a global increase of 0.8 to 0.9 degrees Celsius over the last 100 years. The increasing average temperature has resulted in melting glaciers and greater precipitation, which could lead to disaster in the state. The early snowfall, heat waves in winters, cloud bursts, and Flash Floods in summers are indicators of Climate change in Jammu and Kashmir and the effects of climate change are already being felt in the Kashmir valley. The 2014 devastating Flood caused by the cloudburst was the first indicator of global warming in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a report prepared by the State Disaster Management Authority, since 2010, many flash floods and cloudbursts which have hit J&K resulted in the killing of 300 people. In 2022 alone cloud bursts killed almost 40 people and injured many in Jammu and Kashmir. The revenge of Climate change is increasing and we should act to prevent this increasing wrath.
As climate change continues, it will likely lead to more frequent and severe natural hazards. The impact will be heavy. Climate change causes poverty and food shortages and forces even higher numbers of men, women, and children to flee their homes. The increasing disasters speak for themselves. Policymakers, humanitarian and development organizations alike need to address, prevent and lessen the fatal impact of climate change before it’s too late.
- The author is an Environmental Specialist J&K, State Climate Centre J&K (DEERS)
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