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, 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.
- 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, 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.
- 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.
- 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.