Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is currently experiencing a spell of intense cold weather, with the city and its surrounding areas blanketed in a dense fog. The chilling temperatures and reduced visibility have significantly impacted daily life, slowing down vehicular movement and forcing residents to bundle up in warm clothing.
The Meteorological Centre in Srinagar has forecasted dry weather over Jammu and Kashmir, with morning fog at isolated places across the plains of the Kashmir division for the next 24 hours. “Today, Srinagar experienced dry weather with a cloudy sky, and haze and fog engulfed many areas, including the famous Dal Lake and Boulevard road, which affected visibility.”
On the Boulevard Road, located on the banks of Dal Lake, tourists bundled up in warm clothes, including headgears, as they boarded vehicles for sightseeing. The minimum temperature in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded at 1.6 degrees Celsius, while the maximum temperature reached 12.6 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
Qazigund, located on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, recorded a minimum temperature of 1.8 degrees Celsius on Sunday. The tourist hotspot of Pahalgam in south Kashmir was the coldest place, with a minimum temperature of -2.0 degrees Celsius. Kupwara recorded 1.2 degrees, Kokernag 1.8 degrees, and the ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded 1.0 degree Celsius on Sunday, according to the MeT office.
Climate Change and Fog in Kashmir
Experts believe that the increased intensity and frequency of such weather events in Kashmir link to climate change. They also say that the changing weather patterns, including the prevalence of dense fog, form part of the broader impacts of climate change observed in the region.
Dr. Seema Mehra Parihar, an environmental expert, has expressed concern over the current levels of particulate matter in the air, which are significantly higher than normal. She suggests that while fog is a common occurrence in valleys like Kashmir, the current intensity is unprecedented and worrisome.
The expansion of horticultural land in the valley has led to an ‘unprecedented’ increase in fog intensity, a phenomenon that is being observed for the first time in the region, raising concerns among environmentalists.
Mukhtar Ahmed, an official at the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Kashmir office, has also noted that global warming is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events in the region. He stated, “We are witnessing flash floods, cloudbursts, and unusually high temperatures more often now”.
Impact of Climate Change on Dense fog
The impacts of climate change in Kashmir extend beyond just weather patterns. It has been observed that the average temperature in the Kashmir Valley has risen by 1.45°C over the last two decades. This rise in temperature is causing the glaciers in Kashmir to melt, which could lead to water scarcity and a decrease in crop productivity in the future.
Climate change has a significant impact on weather patterns, including the intensity and frequency of fog and cold temperatures in regions like Kashmir. Rising global temperatures, a key indicator of climate change, can lead to changes in atmospheric conditions that increase the likelihood of fog formation.
Moreover, climate change can lead to more extreme weather events, including intense cold spells. As global warming disrupts normal weather patterns, regions may experience unusually cold weather alongside other extreme conditions.
In Kashmir, these changes manifest as dense fog and chilling temperatures, particularly during the winter months. The fog, while a common occurrence in valleys, has seen unprecedented intensity, raising concerns among environmentalists. This dense fog, coupled with the severe cold, significantly impacts daily life, slowing down vehicular movement and affecting visibility.
Furthermore, the changing climate also has broader impacts on the region. It has been observed that the average temperature in the Kashmir Valley has risen over the last two decades. This rise in temperature is causing the glaciers in Kashmir to melt, which could lead to water scarcity and a decrease in crop productivity in the future.
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