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Kashmir’s Dry Winter

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Kashmir Valley and Ladakh experiencing an unusual and severe dry spell during the winter season.
  • Gulmarg, a prominent winter tourism destination and ski resort in Kashmir, facing a lack of snowfall, impacting the local economy.
Importance of Snowfall

·       Crucial for maintaining the local climate, supporting winter crops and horticulture.

·       Plays a vital role in ensuring water availability in streams and rivers, which is essential for various sectors including agriculture.

Reasons for Dry Winter

Western Disturbances:

  • Western Disturbances, the main contributors to winter precipitation in the Himalayan region, have shown a declining trend. Only one feeble western disturbance event occurred in December and another in January, both without significant rainfall.
  • Originating as low-pressure systems over the Mediterranean Sea, these disturbances influence weather conditions in the Indian subcontinent.

Temperature Rise:

  • Unusual rise in temperatures in the region, with Srinagar experiencing comparable or even higher temperatures than Delhi with a typical temperature pattern impacting the typical winter weather conditions and snowfall.

El Nino:

  • El Nino, a global climate phenomenon, has affected atmospheric circulation and may contribute to deficit precipitation in the region.
  • Its influence on weather patterns can lead to disruptions in normal precipitation, impacting regions dependent on seasonal weather patterns.

Impacts

Short-term Implications:

  • Increased risk of forest fires due to dry conditions.
  • Agricultural drought, potentially leading to a decline in crop production.
  • Early spring could result in a reduction in yields for certain crops.

Long-term Implications:

  • Generation of less hydroelectricity due to reduced water availability in streams and rivers.
  • Accelerated melting of glaciers, impacting water resources in the region.
  • Adverse effects on drinking water supply as scanty snowfall results in minimal recharge of groundwater.

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