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No Snow In Gulmarg This Year? Video Shows Dry Ground In Kashmir Town

2024-01-09 07:32:50

No Snow In Gulmarg This Year? Video Shows Dry Ground In Kashmir Town

A photo of Gulmarg last year shows the area covered in a thick blanket of snow.

Popular winter tourist destination Gulmarg, known for its snow-covered slopes that attract skiers from across the country, received barely any snow this season, raising concerns over the effects of global warming on India’s winters.

In a video posted by news agency ANI on X, the picturesque town appears barren and dry with only sparse patches of snow visible on the ground. Not only Gulmarg, but Kashmir’s Pahalgam along with hill states Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand also received below-average snowfall.

The long dry spell means that areas that usually receive a minimum of four-to-six feet thick snow have hardly any snow.

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A striking photo of Gulmarg from last year shows the area covered in a thick blanket of snow with not an inch of ground visible. This year, the region appears dry with no snow covering the ground.

Why is Gulmarg experiencing a dry winter?

The weather office has said the tourist town witnessed a dry spell this winter with the Kashmir Valley seeing a 79% drop in rainfall and barely any snow. 

“The whole of December and the first week of January has been dry. There are no major precipitation chances in the coming days. The weather may remain dry till noon of January 16. There was a pattern of early snowfall for the last three to four years which is missing this year. There is no major spell. El Nino has persisted since November and may continue till next month,” Director of Kashmir Meteorological Centre Mukhtar Ahmad told new agency ANI.

According to the meteorological department, no immediate relief is expected as the dry weather conditions will persist till next month. 

Meteorologists attribute the low snow to the ongoing El Nino weather event that led to 2023 being the warmest year on record. The El Niño effect, is characterised by the warming of sea surface temperatures which can disrupt global weather patterns. The weather phenomenon is likely to raise the heat in 2024 as well. 

The India Metereological department also said the absence of western disturbances, which bring snowfall in the higher reaches and rain in the plains, has resulted in no major snowfall so far which is likely to continue this month.

Mahesh Palawat, Vice President at Skymet Weather had told NDTV that this season, India will witness a delayed and short winter.

“Usually, western disturbances begin around October and the last two months of the year see heavy snowfall and severe winter in the north. Now, these disturbances are weakening and snowfall is receding. Every year, October to February are getting hotter leading to shrinking winters,” he said.

Tourism affected

The Himalayan town’s economy majorly depends on tourists who make their way to the town in the winter months to enjoy snow sports. With no snow on the ground, tourists have begun cancelling their trips to Gulmarg. Last year, the tourist town had recorded the highest footfall with more than 1.65 million tourists.

The Khelo India Winter Games that will be held from February 2 might also be affected by the low snowfall.

“If it continues any longer, it can have a huge cascading effect on socio-economic activities. If you don’t get (enough) snow, you don’t get replenishment of water, it will impact agriculture, your health and can, in turn, impact your economy,” glaciologist and Himalayan researcher AN Dimri told news agency PTI.

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