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Kashmir without Snow

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: IE


Context: This winter, Kashmir and Ladakh, including the popular tourist destination Gulmarg, have experienced a lack of snowfall, impacting winter tourism, ski resorts, and overall local livelihoods.


 Reasons for Dry Winter in J&K:

Decreasing Trend of SnowfallAttributed to a decline in western disturbance events and a gradual rise in temperatures, indicating the role of climate change.
El Nino EventThe prevailing El Nino event in the eastern Pacific Ocean is considered an additional factor affecting snowfall in the region this year.
El Nino ImpactPersistent El Nino event influencing global atmospheric circulation.
Rising TemperaturesTemperature increase observed, with a higher rate in upper elevation areas compared to plains.
Srinagar temperatures are sometimes comparable to or higher than Delhi, contributing to the decline in snowfall.
What are Western Disturbances?Large eastward-moving rain-bearing wind systems originating beyond Afghanistan and Iran (near the Mediterranean Sea)
The primary source of winter precipitation in the Himalayan region.
Pick up moisture from the Mediterranean Sea and even the Atlantic Ocean.
About four to six western disturbance events typically occur every month during winter.
The recent decline in the frequency of western disturbance events affects overall winter precipitation in northern regions.
Impact of Dry Winter: Long-term Implications
Generation of less hydroelectricity.
Increase in the rate of glacier melting.
Adverse impact on drinking water supply due to scanty snowfall leading to minimal groundwater recharge.
Impact of Dry Winter: Short-term ImplicationsIncreased risk of forest fires and agricultural drought.
Drop in crop production.
Possibility of an early spring leading to early flowering, potentially reducing crop yield.
Winter snow is crucial for providing steady moisture to the soil, and vital for winter crops, especially in horticulture.
Adverse effects on yields of key crops like apples and saffron, impacting the local economy.