Snow Cover Recedes in Himachal, Shimla Records Highest-Ever Minimum Temperature
Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand have received delayed snowfall and lesser-than-average precipitation
Climate change is becoming glaringly obvious in the mountain state of Himachal Pradesh, where snow cover has receded exponentially over the past couple of years. The entire North Western Himalayan region has experienced a pattern of decreased precipitation. The state of Himachal Pradesh has witnessed lesser snow in the past decade with a continuing pattern, worrying the environmentalists.
The seasonal snow cover is a major input in controlling the hydrology of the river basins in the ecologically fragile state. Moreover, the effective duration of winter has gone down in the past 30 years. Reduced snowfall followed by early melting of the snow has resulted in lesser water accumulation over the catchments. Amid the rising temperatures, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, recorded the highest-ever minimum temperature last week at 14.4 degrees Celsius.
Surender Paul, head of the IMD, Himachal Pradesh said;
The temperatures in most places of Himachal Pradesh are above normal. On Saturday, Shimla recorded a minimum temperature of 14.4 degrees Celsius, surpassing the previous highest for this time of year, at 14.2 degrees Celsius on February 26, 2015. At 29.5 degrees Celsius on February 16, this year, Solan, too, surpassed its previous highest of 28.5 degrees Celsius on February 26, 2021.
The record was exceeded on February 16 when the minimum temperature was recorded at 29.5 degrees Celsius, he said. Both the maximum and minimum temperatures are currently 4 to 5 degrees above normal; whereas the temperatures are 8 to 10 degrees above normal in some areas. The decreased precipitation this year has resulted in a rise in daytime temperatures. Although there are several reasons for the rising temperatures, the change in the local weather patterns and climate conditions is one of the leading causes.
Many hill stations in Himachal documented above-normal minimum temperatures, with Dalhousie noting a minimum of 15.2 degrees Celsius and Jubbarhatti in Shimla at 13 degrees Celsius. Kangra documented a minimum of 10.4 degrees Celsius, along with Palampur at 10 degrees Celsius, Narkanda at 9 degrees Celsius, Kufri at 12.9 degrees Celsius and Rekong Peo in Kinnaur district at 6.2 degrees Celsius.
While the chances of rain and snowfall seem bleak, the IMD has forecast snowfall in higher reaches of the state with rain in the low-lying regions.