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Impact of Climate Change in J&K
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma1/23/2019 10:31:06 PM
The Himalayan region is considered as one of the most important mountain ranges in the world and is said to be the "Third Pole" and the "Water Tower of Asia." The Himalayas affect the lives and livelihood of more than 300 million people. Because of their huge fresh ice reserve, the Himalayas affect the flow of water to thousands of rivers and rivulets. J&K state is also having a part in the Himalayan mountain range and is located in the northern part of the Indian sub-continent and sharing international border with Pakistan and China. The mountains of J&K play a pivotal role in improving the state economy, which heavily depends on the horticulture, agriculture, tourism, agroforestry, water towers for hydropower and water supply. The state is very rich in the biodiversity, socio-cultural diversity and ecological-wealth. The people of the state are very simple and consider the mountains sacred and have great reverence for them. They consider the mountains as their pride and necessity. The state is rich in the natural beauty but the ecosystem of the state is considered as the most fragile on the earth. The livelihood of the people of the state is mainly dependent on the agricultural resources and climatic conditions. Flash floods, landslides, droughts, human health, biodiversity, endangered species, agriculture, horticulture, livelihood and food security are the climate concerns of the state. Traditional agriculture in the Himalayan mountains has been a rich repository of agro biodiversity and resilient to crop diseases.
Climate change has greatly affected the agriculture, horticulture, agro forestry, tourism, biodiversity, water resources, natural habitats, wildlife and livelihood of the people. As per INCCA report by 2030, the number of rainy days in the Himalayan region 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. The intensity of rain fall is likely to increase by 1-2 mm/day. It may have an impact some of the horticultural crops. The rate of recession of glaciers is reportedly varying which is being attributed to global warming, winter precipitation and anthropogenic elements. Temperature, rainfall and cold wave may inversely impact the agricultural and horticultural sectors. It has been observed that global sea level rose about 17 cm in the last century because of melting of glaciers. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century. From 1901 to 2010, the global average sea level rose by 19 cm as oceans expanded due to warming and ice melted. It has been observed that the Earth has warmed since 1880. Most of the warming has occurred since the 1970,s with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all the 10 warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. It has been that from 1880 to 2012, average global temperature increased by 0.85°C.
In Jammu & Kashmir deficit in food production is increasing. Most of the cultivated area of the state is rain fed and with the reduction in rainfall, the rain-fed agriculture will be greatly affected. Horticultural crops like apple and walnut are also showing decline because of reduction in the timely rainfall. Climate change has also impact on human health because of water quality, water-borne diseases, thermal stress, food availability, vectors and air quality, etc. It is expected that malaria, dengue, infectious diseases etc. will also increase.
The annual temperature is expected to increase from 0.9±0.6oC to 2.6±0.7oC by 2030. The net increase in temperature ranges from 1.7oC to 2.2oC with respect to the 1970s. Seasonal air temperature also varies. The annual rainfall in the Himalayan region is expected to vary between 1268±225.2 and 1604±175.2 mm by 2030. The projected precipitation is likely to increase by 5% to 13% by 2030s with respect to 1970s. The intensity of rain fall is likely to increase by 1-2mm/ day. The water yield in the Himalayan region especially by the Indus river is expected to increase by 5%-20% in most of the areas. Some areas of J&K may show an increase in the water yield up to 50% with respect to the1970s. Vegetation patterns are mainly controlled by the climate. With global warming of 1 - 2 °C, most of the ecosystems and landscapes are expected to be impacted through changes in species composition, crops productivity and biodiversity. It is expected that upward movement of plants will take place due to the global warming. Increase in temperature, changes in vegetation, rapid deforestation and scarcity of drinking water, habitat destruction and land fragmentation may lead to a great threat to extinction of wild flora and fauna. It is expected that with the concomitant increase in forest fires and increase in drought cycles some pine species will be replaced by other species and thus reduce in the yield of non-timber forest products from the forests. Change in the forest may influence the economies from forestry, agriculture, livestock husbandry and medicinal and aromatic plants based livelihoods.
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