Freak weather a sign of climate change: Experts

SRINAGAR: The increased frequency of freak and stormy weather in Jammu and Kashmir — the latest being the summer snow last month — is a manifestation of the climate change while the region is registering increase in temperatures, experts have warned.

editorial@tribune.com

Azhar Qadri

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 9

The increased frequency of freak and stormy weather in Jammu and Kashmir — the latest being the summer snow last month — is a manifestation of the climate change while the region is registering increase in temperatures, experts have warned.

The freak weather in the state during the past decade includes the 2010 Leh flood, 2014 Kashmir flood, record snowfall of 38 mm in 12 hours in Leh in February this year and the June snowfall in parts of the Kashmir valley.

“There is an increased frequency of extreme weather which is a manifestation of climate change,” Sonum Lotus, scientist and director of the Srinagar Meteorological Centre, said at a workshop in the city here.

The three-day workshop, which began on Tuesday, has been jointly organised by the Centre for Media Studies, Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme and Department of Science and Technology.

The speakers, which included climate change experts and scientists, warned about the increasing vulnerabilities due to climate change and its widespread and devastating impact.

Renowned innovator, scientist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Sonam Wangchuk also gave a presentation on the impact of climate change which focuses on the ice stupas, the artificially created mini-glaciers in Leh district, which are increasingly filling the water deficit in the remote region.

Irfan Rashid of the Earth sciences department warned of the increasing recession of the glaciers in Kashmir and said Kohlai, the largest glacier in the region, was retreating at an alarming level of 60 metres a year.

Lotus, who had forewarned heavy rainfall that led to the 2014 flood, said the state received 70 per cent more precipitation this year.

“Extreme weather and climatic events, interacting with vulnerable human and natural systems, may lead to disasters,” he said. “Climate change has now come to touch the lives of ordinary people who had no role in its making and who do not know what it is,” he said.

Lotus said the annual mean temperature was increasing by 0.01 to 0.05°C in the Kashmir valley while the minimum temperature in the Jammu region was increasing by 0.03 to 0.08°C per year.

The average annual temperature in Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, has increased by 0.8°C in the last century while the mean maximum temperature in the city has increased by 1.7°C.

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