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Heavy rains confirm high precipitation trend

Srinagar, Apr 20: The recent spell of rains after a dry winter may have come as a relief, but they only reflect a trend of increasing rainfall since 1980.
According to the Meteorological Department’s data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor, there has been an increase in seasonal precipitation since 1980 in Kashmir Valley in first four months of the year.
According to official data, Srinagar, the summer capital, as per the data, received 246 millimeters (MM) of rain in 1980 in first four months (January February March and April), which increased to 272 mm in 1991, 346 mm in 2014, 465 mm in 2015, and 328 mm in 2017.
The data indicates that there has been 50 per cent increase in precipitation in Srinagar in the last 28 years.
Kokernag in south Kashmir received 419 mm of rain in 1980, which increased to 492 mm in 1990, 506 mm in 2014, and 523 mm in 2017.
The frontier district of Kupwara in north Kashmir received 211 mm of rain in 2000 that increased to 402 mm of rain in 2012, which escalated to 546 mm of rain in 2015 and 458 mm of rain in 2017.
The picturesque Pahalgam recorded 455 mm of rain in 1980 that has increased to 505 mm of rain in 1996, 570 mm of rain in 2011 , 607mm of rain in 2015, and 575 mm of rain in 2017.
However, the ski resort of Gulmarg emerges as an exception. It received 823 mm of rain in 1980 that has decreased to 532 mm of rain in 2014, but registered an upward spurt receiving 630 mm of rain in 2017.
Experts attribute this erratic rainfall to global factors and predict that it is set to continue.
“With continuous variations in western disturbances, the overall climate pattern has become erratic resulting in increased rainfall,” said Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director Meteorology Department.
According to the report by the Department of Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing (EERS), Kashmir is likely to witness 50 percent increase in precipitation by 2030 due to “climatic change” across the globe.
“All seasons in the Himalayan regions indicate an increase in rainfall, with monsoon months of June, July, August, and September showing the maximum increase in the rainfall. The winter rain in the month of January and February are also projected to increase whereas minimum increase is indicated in October, November and December,” reads the report.
The report further says that the number of rainy days in the Himalayan region in 2030s may increase by 5-10 days on an average, with an increase by more than 15 days in the eastern part of the Jammu and Kashmir region.
An official of EERS said, “The current glacial extents are out of balance with current climatic conditions indicating that glaciers will continue to shrink in the future even without further temperature increase.”
He said, “The rate of recession of glaciers is varying which is being attributed to winter precipitation climate warming and anthropogenic elements.”