Climate shift hitting border dists most: Scientists

SOLAN: The bordering areas of Solan, Sirmaur and Una are highly exposed to climate change while the inner districts such as Kangra, Chamba and Mandi are moderately exposed.

editorial@tribune.com

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, December 2

The bordering areas of Solan, Sirmaur and Una are highly exposed to climate change while the inner districts such as Kangra, Chamba and Mandi are moderately exposed.

Scientists have made these observations in an ‘Action Plan on Climate Change’ compiled by the Department of Environment and Science and Technology.

The report has assessed the climate change vulnerability of various districts based on critical factors such as sensitivity, adaptive capacity and exposure to various changes.

As per the report, Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu and some areas of Shimla and Sirmaur districts are highly sensitive towards climate change while Hamirpur, Mandi, Solan, Una and Kangra are moderately sensitive. The sensitivity is measured on the basis of agriculture, water resources, livelihood and forests.

The report also indicates that low-lying river bed areas, including hydro power projects, are more sensitive to the effect of rising water level and flood-like situations.

Factors such as decrease in the forest cover owing to urbanisation alter the land use pattern, thus making an area vulnerable to climate change. Invasion of pine vegetation into oak deodar is an illustration of this point and this has affected fodder availability for the livestock, affecting people’s livelihood in certain areas of the state.

Variations in rainfall and temperature are the other major factors pointing towards the changing climate. As per the report, an increase of 33.5 per cent, 54.3 per cent and 51.5 per cent in rainfall was recorded in a time span of 25 years for the tribal districts of Kinnaur, Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti. A decrease of 8.7 per cent, 13.3 per cent and 26.6 per cent was also recorded in Solan, Shimla and Sirmaur districts.

The report also indicates that the temperature has risen in the range of 1.5 to 2.8 degree centigrade in the last four-and-a-half decades and average temperatures have found to vary. Higher temperatures indicate higher vulnerability to climate change.

Observations say the adaptive capacity to cope with the impact of climate change in Kinnaur, Lahual-Spiti and some areas of Kangra, Shimla and Mandi is better while that of Chamba, Hamirpur, Una, Solan and Sirmaur has been rated as poor. Adaptive capacity is the ability of a system to respond successfully to climatic changes and is measured on the basis of socio-economic conditions of an area.

This clearly indicates that the bordering areas of the state which are exposed to maximum urbanisation are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Dr Suresh Attri, Principal Scientific Officer, Department of Environment, said Himachal was much ahead in adopting climate change interventions in the Asian Himalayan region.

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