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Fallout of climate change: Annual precipitation level drops considerably in Kashmir

January 2, 2020
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Srinagar:  Serene Kashmir is feeling the pinch of climate change as new study has revealed consistent decrease in the annual precipitation level across the valley.

Entitled `Recent trends in precipitation regime of Kashmir valley, India’, the 2019 study was jointly conducted by Mifta ul Shafiq, Zahoor ul Islam, Abida, Wani Suhail Ahmad, Mohd Shafi Bhat and Pervez Ahmed of Department of Geography and Regional Development, University of Kashmir, and Department of Geography, Aligarh Muslim University.

It was aimed to analyze the nature and behavior in annual and seasonal precipitation in the Kashmir valley since 1980.  “The trend analysis showed a consistent decrease in annual precipitation in Kashmir Valley at the rate of -5.1 mm/year,” reveals the study.

Precipitation is one of the most important variables of the climate and is used as an indicator of climate change.  “Any variability in the patterns of the precipitation may lead to increased extreme weather events like floods, droughts, ecological imbalances and food insecurity,” says the research. 

The research was based on the data recorded at six meteorological stations of Kashmir — Srinagar, Gulmarg, Kokernag, Kupwara, Pahalgam and Qazigund.  “The analysis carried out on separate stations also showed a decrease in annual precipitation with high altitude station of Gulmarg recording the maximum decrease of -15.6 mm/year while the lowest decrease was found in Pahalgam station -1.7 mm/year,” it says.

Furthermore, other stations have also shown a negative trend, as per the study with Srinagar recording at -2.6mm/year, Kokernag -1.8mm/year and Qazigund -5.5 mm/year but statistically insignificant except the Kupwara station which is statistically significant at 90% confidence interval with a negative slope of -5.5 mm/year. 

Kashmir region is a low-lying basin surrounded by Himalayas. The mountain areas act as a roadblock to circulation patterns of the atmosphere for both summer monsoon and winter monsoon.

 “In the recent decades, significant changes are observed in the amount, intensity, duration and frequency of all types of precipitation (such as snow, ice, rain etc.) over different regions of the globe,” the study reveals.

Professor Shakil Romshoo, Department of Earth Sciences, Kashmir University, said due to climate change, the form of precipitation is changing.  “The precipitation is decreasing but not at significant level,” he added.

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Hirra Azmat

When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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