Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh may witness a temperature increase of up to 6.9°C by the end of the century due to climate change, according to a study which warns that the glaciers in this Himalayan region could shrink by 85 per cent if the projections come true.
The study, published in the journal ‘Climatic Change’, predicted the impact of future climate change in the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh Himalaya, by the end of the twenty-first century using an ensemble of 11 models under three greenhouse gas emission scenarios.
It also highlights the changes in the distribution of the prevalent climate zones in the region.
“The study has been carried over the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir, including Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Aksai Chin and other regions across the Line of Control (LoC),” noted Professor Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, Dean of Research at the University of Kashmir.
“The average annual temperature is projected to increase by 4.5°C, 3.98°C, and 6.93°C by the end of the twenty first century under three different scenarios, respectively,” Romshoo, lead author of the research said.
The temperature increase of 6.9°C for the Jammu and Kashmir Himalayas is way more than the projected average rise in the global and national temperatures by the end of the century.
Romshoo added that if the current emission rates of the greenhouse gases are sustained, the global average temperature is likely to rise by nearly 5°C by the end of the twenty-first century under the worst case scenario.
Similarly, the average temperature over India is projected to rise by approximately 4.4°C under such a scenario, he said.
Romshoo noted that there will be significant impacts on almost every sector of the economy in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh due to this climate change driven temperature increase.
“The glaciers, the most important resource of the region, are going to shrink by around 85 per cent by the end of the century if the projections come true,” the professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Kashmir, noted.
The researchers, including Jasia Bashir and Irfan Rashid from the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Kashmir, noted that the drivers of climate change are primarily the increasing emission rates of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse gas emission is directly related to fossil fuel use, industrialisation, deforestation, air pollution, and other environmental unfriendly activities across the globe, they explained.