Perhaps this is the effect of global warming that despite record snowfall at Rohtang pass, all melted about two months before the estimated time period. First, it was estimated that people will get to see the snow till August this year but it disappeared in the last week of June.
Rohtang on 2010 had received about 25 feet of snow which lasted till first week of July but the same mountain this year had received more than 50 feet of snow which melted faster than the previous year. Even the Rahni and Sagu glaciers near Rohtang are on the verge of ending up. In 2008 and 09, Rohtang had recorded 20 and 25 feet snow respectively which too lasted till July month.
The nearby town Manali had recorded the minimum temperature of -7 degrees this winter which was 3 degrees below than the last year’s minimum temperature. Still melting of snow unusually fast has raised many questions regarding global warming.
“No doubt this is the effect of global warming,” senior scientist with Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Himalayan environment and development, Dr JC Kuniyal said, adding that pollution has increased the heat absorption capacity of aerosol particles which are leading to the global warming. He said, “Common people might not realize the global warming but this is true that the Himalayas are becoming warm gradually. The disappearance of snow from Rohtang is only an example.”
If winters of 2011 were so cold, the summers were recorded warmer than previous years. According to temperature gauge installed by Manali based snow and avalanche study establishment (SASE), the average maximum temperature in June and July is close to 28 degrees Celsius this year while it was around 26 degrees Celsius in June and July last year. Increase of 2 degrees Celsius in temperature in the surroundings of Rohtang pass may have triggered melting of snow fast here.
Rohtang had experienced frequent snowfall in June and July of 2010 but no snowfall was recorded in June and July this year. Dr Kuniyal said though the pass received good amount of rainfall but the atmosphere on the mountain was not able to create favorable conditions for snowfall.
Roshan Lal, who does seasonable business at Rohtang pass every year said that Rohtang was covered with snow till July last year but whiteness has disappeared completely this year. “When we installed our tents here in May, the whole mountain was covered with heaps of snow. Certainly, Rohtang had received more snow than last year but it disappeared so quickly. Now it’s just earth and greenery all around here,” he added.