Signs of Global Warming and Climate Change
The signs of global warming are everywhere and every summer appears to be hotter than the last. Wells are running dry and the ground water has depleted. In April, all of India experienced the temperatures that are usually common in May.
In Uttarakhand and Himanchal Pradesh, the states famous for their apples, the production has fallen due to temperature rise and less rain and snow. The apple belt has shifted 30 kilometers northward to higher altitudes from 9000 feet to 12,000 feet above sea level.
In high altitude areas like Laddakh, with less agricultural possibilities, now it is possible to grow a larger variety of vegetables due to the increase in temperature.
Houses in the foothills of the Himalayas have begun to install ceiling fans for the first time, as the average temperatures have increased. The increase in temperature has brought with them mosquitoes and house flies, which were uncommon until now. Malaria, which is found to be rare at a height of 1500 meters above sea level, is now more common in towns like Nainital, which is 2000 meters above sea level.
Farmers all over India are switching over to crops requiring less water as the rains have become irregular. In many places, the farmers are planting the upland rice varieties that do not require stagnant water like the coastal varieties.
Grapes are requiring a larger amount of water for irrigation and growth; this again is attributed to the climate change.
As the winter rains have shifted to April in Himanchal Pradesh, they wash away the pollens of the apple flowers, thus contributing to a lower yield of the crop.
Wheat production in India is decreasing every year due to the change in climate and other global warming effects. According to IARI, every 1oC increase in temperature reduces wheat production by 4-5 million tons.
In high altitude areas like Leh, the tropical vegetables like bitter gourd, pumpkin, tomato, watermelon, and capsicum could not be grown locally and had to be imported from lower altitude areas in the past. It is now common to see farmers from these areas growing the same vegetables for personal as well as commercial use.
In fact, the seas and the fisheries also have been affected by global warming as the Sardines are shifting from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, traditionally not their normal habitat.