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2-March-2024-Special-Article

March 2 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

DISTINCT DISQUIET IN THE HIMALAYAS

The Himalayan Region, known for its breathtaking beauty, is facing unprecedented challenges due to accelerated impacts of global warming. Shifts in weather patterns, increased frequency of extreme events, glacial melting, and loss of ice are posing significant threats to the region and its inhabitants.

    

Shifts in Weather Patterns:

Monsoon Patterns:

  • Evidence suggests a shift in southwest monsoon patterns, with deviations occurring more frequently in the Indo-Gangetic plain, leading to excessive rainfall in arid regions and deficient rainfall in coastal areas.
  • This reversal of historical precipitation patterns exacerbates the vulnerability of affected areas to floods and droughts.

Temperature Rise in the Arabian Sea:

  • Abnormal warming of the Arabian Sea’s upper layer has increased evaporation, potentially altering southwest monsoon behavior.
  • This warming trend has led to a 50% increase in cyclones in the Arabian Sea between 2001 and 2019, posing threats to coastal regions.

Extreme Rainfall and Cloudbursts:

  • The frequency of thunderstorms, cloudbursts, and hailstorms has surged, triggering landslides and flooding.
  • Cloudbursts, characterized by intense rainfall and heavy raindrops, pose significant risks to lives and property, particularly in hilly regions.

Glacial Melting and Glacier Lake Outbursts:

Glacial Melting:

  • Rising temperatures have accelerated glacier melting in the Himalayas, leading to the formation of glacial lakes.
  • Increased cloudbursts exacerbate the risk of glacial lake outbursts, causing floods downstream and endangering lives and property.

Loss of Glacial Ice:

  • The Himalayas have lost over 40% of their ice, with projections indicating a potential loss of up to 75% by the end of the century.
  • This loss affects vegetation, agriculture, and water resources, posing challenges to livelihoods in the region.

Adaptation Measures:

Improved Monitoring and Forecasting:

  • Enhanced monitoring of glaciers and glacial lakes, coupled with better forecasting and early warning systems, can help mitigate risks associated with landslides and floods.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • Mitigating climate change requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources to curb global warming and safeguard the Himalayan region.

Sustainable Construction Activities:

  • Sustainable construction practices, including understanding terrain characteristics, assessing climate vulnerability, and managing development impacts, are essential to mitigate risks in hilly regions.

Enhancing Adaptive Capacity:

  • Improving services, infrastructure, and livelihood options in hill towns can enhance adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change impacts.

Government Initiatives

National Mission on Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem (2010):

  • Part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, aimed at addressing climate change impacts in the Himalayan region through various initiatives.

Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP):

  • Focuses on enhancing resilience of vulnerable communities in the Indian Himalayas by strengthening capacities in climate science and related areas.

SECURE Himalaya Project:

  • Aims to promote sustainable management of alpine pastures and forests in the Himalayan ecosystems, funded by the Global Environment Facility.

Mishra Committee Report 1976:

  • Provided recommendations on addressing land subsidence in Joshimath, emphasizing restrictions on construction activities and tree felling in the region.

Conclusion:

The Himalayan Region is at the forefront of climate change impacts, necessitating urgent action to mitigate risks and enhance resilience. By implementing adaptation measures, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and fostering sustainable development, governments and stakeholders can safeguard the Himalayas and its inhabitants.

Mains Question:

  1. Analyse the distinct challenges faced by the Himalayan Region due to accelerated impacts of global warming. Evaluate the effectiveness of existing government initiatives and propose comprehensive strategies to mitigate the adverse impacts and enhance resilience in the region. (150 WORDS)

Details

Date:
March 2
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: