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Climate Change

How Is Climate Change Affecting India’s Ski Industry?

Due to a lack of snow, tourists have to cancel their holidays, dealing a blow to the tourism and agriculture-focused economy of the Indian Himalayas

How Is Climate Change Affecting India's Ski Industry?
Scientists have linked the "unusual" winter to the active El Nino weather phenomenon and also climate change

Srinagar: A lack of snowfall has led to empty ski resorts and holiday cancellations in the Indian Himalayas, with scientists linking the “unusual” winter to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

The dry spell in Kashmir has pushed skiers to skip the popular resort of Gulmarg, one of the highest in the world, and left hotels in the scenic region waiting for fresh falls to draw tourists to the panoramic views of snow-capped peaks.

Scientists said that this winter’s conditions in northern India have not been seen for about a decade, marked by the absence of snowfall in the mountains and biting cold made worse by thick fog in the plains.

Also Read: Climate Change Declined Snowpack In Northern Hemisphere Between 1981, 2020: Study

Farhat Naik, 35, a Gulmarg snowboard instructor, ruing at the sight of dry, barren land that would normally be covered in a knee-deep layer of snow, said,

Fifty percent of the season is already gone. We are now hoping for snowfall in February first week.

He added that all his European and American clients have cancelled their trips due to a lack of snow – a blow to the tourism and agriculture-focused economy of the region.

Travel industry executives in the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand also complained of cancellations.

Bookings have dropped to 20% for Blue Poppy Resort in the ski resort of Auli, in Uttarakhand, its owner Kushaal Sangwan said,

Our cancellations have jumped and people cancel (just) days before the booking if there is no snow.

Also Read: Climate Change Is For Real, Kashmir’s Winter Wipeout Is The Proof

Winter snow and rain in northern India, including the Himalayas, are brought by a weather pattern known as the western disturbances – frequent extra-tropical storms that originate in the Mediterranean Sea.

There are usually many such storms during winter but they have been largely absent this season, said R.K. Jenamani, a senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department (IMD). He said,

When there’s no weather system, how can there be (snow).

The disappearance of western disturbances is linked to changing wind patterns and rising temperatures due to the active El Nino weather phenomenon and also climate change, said Gufran Beig, a former chief scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

The current weather was very unusual for this time, Mr Beig said.

It’s January and it is still very cold in Delhi. There is excess moisture in the air but there’s also no snow. It’s been one of the most polluted and prolonged stretches of winter.

Also Read: Logged Forests, Climate Change Driving Birds In Tropical Mountains To Higher Elevations: Study

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India. 

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