Himachal Pradesh has observed a marginal decrease in snow cover of the state recorded from October to May, during 2019-20.

This data has been collected by the State Center on Climate Change, functioning under HP Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) Shimla. . The Centre has been undertaking various studies to understand the impact of climate change on different aspects of life.

A detail analysis of the data , the state has witnessed a marginal decrease of 0.72 percent in area under snow during the last year in comparison to total area covered under snow in 2018- 19 . The total area recorded during 2018-19 was 20 210.32 kilometers which have been reduced to 20064.kilometrs during the current year.

The snow cover during peak months has also reduced gradually from February onwards, likely to affect the runoff pattern in the summer months.

The data suggests an increase in snow cover has been observed in Satluj basin during winter months from November to January in comparison to the Beas and the Ravi basins, whereas the Chenab basin has not shown any change.  

 The Centre has been utilizing application of space technology by applying Cryospheric technique for Himachal in collaboration with India Space Application Center (ISRO) Ahmadabad.  

Most of the rivers in the state get good flow of water during summer months from snow ranges and glaciers covered under snow and the snow cover helps in controlling the accumulation and ablation patterns of glaciers in the State.

The date collected for summer months suggests in the Chenab basin 65 percent and in the Sutlej basin 50 percent of the total area is likely to contribute flow of water in these rivers when snow melts, which was lesser during 2019-20.

Himachal Pradesh receives winter precipitation in the form of snow at the higher altitudes. About one third of the total geographical area of the State remains under thick snow cover during the winter season and flow of water in summers depends on the snow cover.

D C Rana, member secretary of HIMCOSTE said, “The snow cover in the state provides important input which helps in monitoring hydrology of the river basins and by using satellite data it has become possible to map the geographical extent of the snow cover.”

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