Himalayas: snow cover depletion during pandemic

It’s a known fact that the Himalayas are going through adversities of climate change but it’s yet another sight to witness it with naked eyes. Himalayas are not healthy as they were before. The extent of snow cover over the Himalayas have receded to a greater extent and it was eminent from my observation. Usually during this time of the year, the Himalayas were covered with thick blanket of snow to a much greater extent but somehow I could make out the bare rock facets which were previously covered with snow.

©Receded snow cover, drainage pattern Himalayas

I usually take flight from Delhi and prebook window seats so as to enjoy the breathtaking view of the mighty snow covered Himalayas. But due to Corona pandemic I was unable to travel since two years. Somehow, I made my mind to travel this time and meet my family after many long years. When the flight neared Bagdogra, one is naturally astounded by the picturesque view of the mighty Himalayas. I too enjoyed the view, however, I felt the snow cover has receded to a greater extent. The clustering townships and settlements have risen exponentially within two years, mostly alongside river drainage area. Despite the survey reports, one can observe loss in the green cover. I tried to take pictures from my mobile phone therefore the picture quality is poor.

©Bird’s eye view of Himalayas

In the month of December,despite of dense fog in New Delhi airport, our flight managed to take off and very soon I could see the bird’s eye view of Delhi. The flight slowly started gaining altitude and I could easily demarcate the thick layer of smoke or polluted air over the skies surrounding Delhi NCR. It’s nothing new for me, pollution and Delhi has intricate relation. Machine started gaining speed and altitude and my hopes fastened to have glimpse of the Himalayas again. The aircraft touched the lower stratosphere and I was excited to enjoy the view of the Himalayas, but the clouds somehow obstructed my view.

©Clouds in the lower stratosphere

I could see thick black layer of dust particulates in the lower areas specially over cities with higher urbanisation and industrialization. The thick band was more prominent over heavy industrialised regions. Otherwise lower stratosphere was clearer where there was less pollution. During the pandemic although there were reports that nature is thriving back but the reality is bitter, which has future impacts on health, environment, economic as well as political situation worldwide. Sometimes I wonder, whether mankind should start building settlements somewhere else in universe.

© Beautiful display of clouds

Nature believes in isostacy, today it facing the wrath of mankind, better hope that mankind doesn’t the wrath of nature.

Thank you!!!

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Published by Dr. Chandrima Debi

Hi, I am Chandrima Debi. I am a Doctorate in Forestry and an independent researcher. Ever since childhood, I experienced deep-rooted connection with nature, forest and wildlife. I have written various research articles, case studies based on geology, forests, medicinal plants, biodiversity and conservation. Through this blog I share my experiences with nature and forests around us and aid towards the protection and conservation of biodiversity, wildlife and the values associated.

2 thoughts on “Himalayas: snow cover depletion during pandemic

  1. Yes it is very concerning that we didn’t see more drastic changes fro the better during the pandemic – the Himalayas without snow would be catastrophic for aesthetic and other reasons. Even if the climbers liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

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