From melting glaciers to cloudbursts - How climate change is impacting Kashmir

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Srinagar: According to experts, with rising temperatures, the melting of glaciers has become inevitable phenomenon. The glaciers in Kashmir region are melting at an unusual pace posing a big threat to the environment as well as to the people in the region, shows a study.

Across the Jammu & Kashmir region of Northern India, the heat records are being shattered and at the same time frequent rainfalls, hailstorms and flashfloods are on rise. While extreme heat is impacting some areas of the region, flooding and frequent rainfall is impacting other areas.

For the past two months, especially in July, high rainfall was recorded in Kashmir region, triggering a dozen flash floods in the Valley that caused damage to the agricultural fields and other assets. In July, at least 15 Amarnath pilgrims died in a cloudburst incident near the Holy Amarnath Cave triggering flash floods. On the other hand, frequent landslides and shooting stones triggered by heavy rains at various places have blocked the national highway many times.

Researchers also suggest that the recent climate change in Jammu & Kashmir has a huge impact on the glaciers.

Dr. Mohammad Muslim, Assistant Professor, of Environmental Science at University of Kashmir indicates that the global phenomenon is casting its shadow on the Himalayan region.

“The climate change has impacted freshwater resources by disturbing the hydrological cycle and we can see increased activity of Indian summer monsoons winds into the valley,” said Dr. Muslim.

Linking the phenomenon with increased rainfall, he said,  “Our main source of water comes from the glaciers which are already melting at a rapid speed, and additional rainfall in the summer months means additional water in the rivers that is a worrisome issue.”

He further blamed 'deforestation' for the climate change and said, “the pace at which we are cutting down forests in Kashmir is to be worried about, when we cut down the trees the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere again as CO2. This is how deforestation and forest degradation contribute to global warming and forests plays a strong role in water balance.”

"We are also losing unique species,” he added.

How can we tackle climate change?

Scientists believe that climate crisis is getting worse, but there are many ways we can do to secure our future. These actions fall into one of two broad categories: Climate change adaptation and Climate change mitigation.

Mitigation means reducing the impact of climate change by reducing the flow of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.

While as Adaptation means altering our behaviour, adjusting to the actual or expected future climate.

“The need of the hour is to aware and educate people about the climate change through different methods, making them aware and future ready can help us in many ways,” says Muslim.

According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, global warming will have major impact on Asia and India is at high risk amongst the Asian countries.

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