Climate pattern in Jammu and Kashmir has seen perceptible change recently. The J&K is currently experiencing vast changes in its Western Disturbances which normally bring moderate to heavy rains in this part of the globe, more so during winters. The amount of rainfall and their distribution varies with every western disturbance. They are responsible for most of the winter precipitation, which is crucial for agriculture in this part of the globe.
As per experts, the changes in Western Disturbance frequency are attributed to the projected widening and weakening of the winter subtropical jet as well as decreasing meridional wind shear and midtropospheric baroclinic vorticity tendency, which also explain the changes in intensity. The impact of these changes on regional precipitation is obvious. The decline in Western Disturbance frequency and intensity will cause a decrease in mean winter rainfall.
The J&K has seen rising temperatures recently and rainfall has been very minimal. In March it remained way short of the average. As per the local meteorological department, Jammu and Kashmir received large deficient rain (<-80%) due to absence of any strong Western Disturbance.
Jammu city received only 2.1mm against normal of 68mm (96%) while Srinagar had 21.3mm of rainfall as against normal of 117.6mm (81.88%). The deficit, MeT said, was as a result of absence of any strong western disturbance. The weather remained fair and mainly clear on most occasions which led to early onset of spring and above normal temperature compared to the last few years.
The mean temperature in Jammu city in March this year was 23.3 ℃ which is quite high but not unusual as mean temperature even touched 24℃ in 2004 and 2010. The mean temperature in Srinagar city in March this year was 13.7℃ which is quite high but not strange as mean temperature touched 13.6 and 13.7 ℃ in 2004 & 2010 also in Srinagar.
There is no denying the fact that climate change is making itself felt in various manners. This means it is no longer a theory that can be disputed but it is a reality that has to be dealt with.
It is being manifested not just by warmer temperatures but also by changing rainfall patterns. This scenario calls for a need to look at the current situation in J&K more closely and scientifically.
Given the rainfall deficit, there is a need to advise farmers and orchardists as regards the steps needed by them in advance.