Times of India: Once known for its cool climes, Himachal Pradesh is witnessing the ill effects of global warming as, in the last four decades, the average maximum temperature has increased by 5.2 degrees Celsius in the state. While the average rainfall has remained static, the cycle of rain and snow has changed marginally.
A study data released by department of economics and statistics, titled “Compendium of Environmental Statistics, Himachal Pradesh – 2012″ has revealed that the highest temperature registered in 1971-72 was 28.5 degree Celsius, which has now increased to 33.7 degree Celsius in 2010-11, while the minimum temperature remained almost static. Minimum temperature in 1971-72 was registered at 5.6 degree Celsius, which is 5.8 degree Celsius now.
“The major source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had been motor vehicles, which numbered only 9,116 four decades ago, but has gone up to 1,67,264 now,” said the report, released by chief minister
Prem Kumar Dhumal on Tuesday.
Commenting on the rise in temperature, Dr J C Kuniyal, senior scientist at GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Himachal unit at Mohal in Kullu, said that this was because of the fact that the effects of global warming in the Himalayan region were not only affecting the crop pattern, but also leading to unusual weather.
“In Kullu valley alone, it has become warmer on an average by 0.9 degree Celsius from 1965 to 1998. In 1965, the apple belt existed at a height of 1,000 metres above sea level. Now, it’s at 2,000 metres above sea level, towards northern latitude.” Apple, which was grown at Bajaura (1000m) area a decade back, is now found only in Katrain (2000m) near Manali.”
Data released on Tuesday has shown that food crop yield had also increased from 9,54,000 MT to 14,98,000 MT while fruit cultivation area increased from 44,329 hectares to 2,08,154 with increase in production from 148.58 MT to 1,027.82 MT. Substantial increase in off-season vegetable production had also been registered with the launch of schemes aimed at motivating the farming community to diversify their traditional farming practices towards cash crops and off-season vegetable cultivation.
The data further showed that forest cover had increased by 16,460 sq kms during the past four decades. While the state had 20,540 sq kms of forest cover in 1970-71, it has now increased to over 37,000 sq kms.
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