Snow cover down at mountains in Himachal-

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Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  The majestic Himalayas, known for their snow-capped peaks and mountains are facing a severe threat due to climate change. The snow cover in Himachal Pradesh during the winter season in 2022-23 declined by  14.05 per cent in comparison to 2021-22’s 19 per cent more in comparison to the year earlier. 

These variations may have large implications on the water flow pattern on the rivers originating from the Himalayas which depend upon the seasonal snow cover during peak summer season for their discharge dependability and ultimately going to effect the hydro power generation of the hill state besides water availability during peak summer season.

These facts came to light in the study conducted Himachal Pradesh Council for Science Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) and it further stated that during 2022-23, snowfall was estimated and analysed with reference to the average value of the total area under snow in each month from October to April. There was early snow fall in October and November, there by leading to have positive trends in the Chenab and Beas basins, whereas the Ravi and Satluj has the negative trends, decrease in area under snow cover during 2022-23.

According to the study, there has been 4.18 per cent decline in Chenab basin in 2022-23 in comparison to 2021-22, whereas in Beas the decline was of 9.06 per cent, in Ravi 10.02 per cent and in Satluj the decline was 22.20 per cent in 2022-23 in comparison to 2021-22 in terms of the total spatial distribution of the snow cover area.  

A total 14.05 per cent decline could be seen in the entire Himachal Himalayas covering all the four basins; Chenab, Beas, Ravi and Satluj based on the monthly average of the area under snow cover in each basin in 2022-23 in comparison to 2021-22, it added. 

Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena said that the temperature on the Higher Himalayan region is comparatively higher than the low-lying area which is affecting the Himalayan reserves, which is evidenced by the fact that most of the glaciers are losing mass. 

Besides this a large shift has also been observed in the snow fall patterns during winters affecting the river discharged during the peak summer season.  “We have also seen the rising temperature effects during winters this time in Shimla as there was no snowfall, which seems to be major change in the weather patterns and if this continues, we may face shortage of water in the coming years,” he said.

“There is a need to take the concrete steps and government has taken note of this and introduced of e-vehicles and shifted to renewable energy which would definitely help in reducing the Green House Gas emissions, so that the rise in temperatures could be checked even at micro scale as well,’’ he said.

Worrying trend

One third of the total geographical area of Himachal remains under thick snow cover during winter season
Major rivers originating from Himalayas and flowing through Himachal
Chenab, Beas, Parvati, Baspa, Spiti, Ravi & Satluj depend upon the seasonal snow cover

CHANDIGARH:  The majestic Himalayas, known for their snow-capped peaks and mountains are facing a severe threat due to climate change. The snow cover in Himachal Pradesh during the winter season in 2022-23 declined by  14.05 per cent in comparison to 2021-22’s 19 per cent more in comparison to the 
year earlier. 

These variations may have large implications on the water flow pattern on the rivers originating from the Himalayas which depend upon the seasonal snow cover during peak summer season for their discharge dependability and ultimately going to effect the hydro power generation of the hill state besides water availability during peak summer season.

These facts came to light in the study conducted Himachal Pradesh Council for Science Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) and it further stated that during 2022-23, snowfall was estimated and analysed with reference to the average value of the total area under snow in each month from October to April. There was early snow fall in October and November, there by leading to have positive trends in the Chenab and Beas basins, whereas the Ravi and Satluj has the negative trends, decrease in area under snow cover during 2022-23.googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-8052921-2’); });

According to the study, there has been 4.18 per cent decline in Chenab basin in 2022-23 in comparison to 2021-22, whereas in Beas the decline was of 9.06 per cent, in Ravi 10.02 per cent and in Satluj the decline was 22.20 per cent in 2022-23 in comparison to 2021-22 in terms of the total spatial distribution of the snow cover area.  

A total 14.05 per cent decline could be seen in the entire Himachal Himalayas covering all the four basins; Chenab, Beas, Ravi and Satluj based on the monthly average of the area under snow cover in each basin in 2022-23 in comparison to 2021-22, it added. 

Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena said that the temperature on the Higher Himalayan 
region is comparatively higher than the low-lying area which is affecting the Himalayan reserves, which is 
evidenced by the fact that most of the glaciers are losing mass. 

Besides this a large shift has also been observed in the snow fall patterns during winters affecting the river discharged during the peak summer season.  “We have also seen the rising temperature effects during winters this time in Shimla as there was no snowfall, which seems to be major change in the weather patterns and if this continues, we may face shortage of water in the coming years,” he said.

“There is a need to take the concrete steps and government has taken note of this and introduced of e-vehicles and shifted to renewable energy which would definitely help in reducing the Green House Gas emissions, so that the rise in temperatures could be checked even at micro scale as well,’’ he said.

Worrying trend

One third of the total geographical area of Himachal remains under thick snow cover during winter season
Major rivers originating from Himalayas and flowing through Himachal
Chenab, Beas, Parvati, Baspa, Spiti, Ravi & Satluj depend upon the seasonal snow cover

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