August 9, 2022 8:50 pm

Kashmir’s Changing Weather

KASHMIR weather has been erratic this spring and summer. Beginning March, which was exceptionally hot with temperature crossing 29 degrees, the summer has been warm. In between the temperature has plunged steeply, creating uncertainty about the ripening of crops. The rainfalls, hailstorms and flash floods have been on the rise. Fifteen Amarnath Yatra pilgrims lost their lives in July after a cloudburst hit near the Holy Amarnath cave triggering flash floods. Now a recent study has indicated that changing precipitation pattern may have a negative impact on the environment that will have a deep impact on the Valley’s food security and ecological sustainability.

Last week, the Reconstituted Committee of Climate Change Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) held a dialogue on climate change at the University of Kashmir to take stock of the changing weather in the Valley. Scientists who attended the event stressed the need for climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation. Mitigation, they said, is possible if we take measures such as reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. At the same time, the creeping climate change has left us no option but to adapt to it.

In recent years, the Indian subcontinent has experienced the detrimental fallout of climate change. India,  Pakistan and Bangladesh between them are home to around  1.7 billion people and any disruption in the climate pattern could severely impact them. So, the three countries, as well as other countries in the region need to wake up and work toward a global response to the looming catastrophe.

To be sure, India has supported global action and initiatives to combat climate change. Addressing the COP26 summit at Glasgow earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ‘one sun, one world, one grid’ can be crucial to re-establishing the environmental balance.

The COP26, in turn,  followed the grim report by an UN-appointed panel that warned of the far-reaching effects of climate change if no immediate measures were taken to remedy the damage already done. The report caused a global alarm after its release.

There is thus an urgent need for the world to come together and take remedial measures to pre-empt the catastrophe.  In Kashmir too, climate change has led to considerable changes in weather patterns. Triggering alarm bells is the slowly shrinking glaciers that are the source of the Valley’s water bodies. But the factors causing climate change are global in nature and so any effort to reverse the damage has to be backed by the world. And this should be done sooner than later. Time is running out fast.

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