How Climate Change is Wrecking Havoc in India’s Himalayan States


The Hindu Kush Himalayan region greatly influences monsoon season during Indian summers. Over the last 60 years, the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region has witnessed extreme changes with extreme with extreme warm weather that was unknown to this region previously. 

It is thought that climate change has led to extreme changes in weather patterns across India; especially in the Himalayan range, which is simultaneously important ecologically but fragile. 

The HKH region is part of the Himalayan mountain range, is 3,500 square kilmoteres in size, and spans across eight different countries including India, Nepal, and China. Ten of India’s states fall under this region which include Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhan, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, and hill regions of Assam and West Bengal. 

This region is known to be a heat source in summers and a heat sink in winters. 

According to a climate assessment released earlier this year in February by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a Kathmandu-based intergovernmental body, the mountain in the HKH region have been heating up at a much faster rate than the global average.  

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Drastic changes in heat weather patterns have occurred over the past 60 years with warm nights increasing by 1.7 per decade and warm days increasing by 1.2 per decade. 

Along with these findings, there has been excessive rainfall that has led to deluges, flash floods, and cloud bursts, which before witnessed extreme heatwaves and was high-deficit in rainfall. 

Many districts in Arunachal Pradesh were under severe rain deficit until the first week of July; after which extreme rainfall occurred causing floods that mainly affected the Tawang and West Kameng districts in the state. 

Four of Assams districts –  Dhuburi, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta – witnessed the most severe rainfall and flooding in the state between the end of June and the end of July. The flood conditions did not relent until August 6. 

Flooding struck Meghalaya in mid-July with the Khasi and Garo hills witnessing the most extreme rainfall. 

In Uttarakhand, the most extreme rainfall and flooding occurred in a varied pattern between July and August. Local flash floods and landslides hit districts such as Nainital, Bageshwar and Tehri Garhwal. Cloudbursts also hit the region. 

According to some reports, at least 22 people, including two people from Nepal, died and others were injured due to extreme rain and flooding in Himachal Pradesh. The report added that in the Kathua and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir, heavy rainfall led to flash floods, raised water level in major rivers like the Tawi, and left low-lying areas submerged in water. 

According to a report published by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), degrading ecosystems, outmigration as well as increase in air pollution could be behind the rampant climate change observed in the HKH region. 

According to the report, even implementing the most ambitious goal of restricting global greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius recommended in the Paris Agreement would lead to 2.1 degrees rise in temperatures by the end of the century. 

While human-induced climate change has spiked the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes since the mid-20th century, it has been much evident in 2019. Countries across the globe have seen record-breaking extreme temperatures, starting from January, and have experienced climate related events such as coldwave, heatwave, floods, drought and cyclones, among others.

While the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes have spiked since the mid-20th Century, these changes have become much more evident in 2019. It is thought that these drastic changes in weather patterns are due to climate change which is human induced. All over the world, there are reports of record-breaking temperature extremes, cold waves, heat waves, droughts, cyclones, and other extreme weather patterns. 


Original Source: DownToEarth

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