By ML Verma
Shimla, Sept 4
Depleting snow cover is a cause of worry. The snow cover in the state of Himachal Pradesh has reduced by 18.52 percent, claimed a report released by the state environment, science, and technology developmental council. The hill state which had almost one-third of its area under snow cover has depleted by 18.52 percent in 2020-21, stated the 20-page document.
The report has been developed by the State Centre on Climate Change( SCCC) and ISRO on the basis of satellite data Assessment of Spatial Distribution of Seasonal snow cover during the year 2020-21. The report was authored by I.M. Bahuguna and B.P Rathore of ISRO Ahmedabad and SS Randhawa, Nishtha Gautam of State Centre on Climate Change said that area under snow in Himachal Pradesh measured 19183 square kilometers which were 23542 sq km in the previous year 2019-20 showing decrease in minus 18.52 pc.
Talking about river basins, the report said that most of the snow cover receded by minus 23.49 percent under Ravi Basin in the state as it was 1619.82 sq km in 2020-21 compared to 2108.13 sq km of 2019-20, followed by minus 23.16 pc on Satluj basin, which measured 9045.50 sq km compared to 11823.1 sq km.
The snow cover comes down by minus 18.54 pc in Beas basin recorded 2002.03 sq km viz a viz that of 2457.68 sq km in previous years and Chenab basis minus 8.92 pc (6515.91 in 2020-21 and 7154.11 sq km in 2019-20).
The state snow cover thaws into major rivers like Chenab, Beas, Parbati, Baspa, Spiti, Ravi, Satluj, and their perennial tributaries originating from the Himalayas. This report was prepared annually by the two organizations on the basis of satellite mappings and it serves as a major input in controlling and understanding of the hydrology of the river basins.
It is worthwhile to mention here that Himachal Pradesh is 17 largest state in the country, total area 55,673 sq. km of which 37,033 sq km(66.52%) geographical area is under forest (restrictive forest area) and under snow cover 23,542 sq km.