Kashmiris worried about 'faster melting' glacier

 Kolahoi glacier, some 35 km from this south Kashmir tourist resort, is feared to be melting faster than other Himalayan glaciers, according to a study which says it has shrunk 2.63 sq km in the past three decades.

The three-year-long Kolahai study was led by known glaciologist Shakil Ramsoo, assistant professor in the department of geology at the University of Kashmir.

“The glacier is shrinking 0.08 sq km a year, which is an alarming speed,” the study says.
What has renewed concerns is the dry winter in the Kashmir Valley this year resulting in a huge deficit in rain and snow so far. 

“I don't about other glaciers but Kolahai is indeed shrinking and we are worried it may result in less irrigation this year threatening our agriculture produce,” said Sultan Neka, 60, a farmer in Pahalgam.

The relatively hot winter with almost no snow this year is also alarming, Neka said.
Fifty-six millimetres of rain or snow in the Kashmir Valley in January is the long-term average. But until the third week of the month this year, it has received only 5.0 mm precipitation. That includes a short spell of snowfall.

The weather department has estimated that the valley will have a deficit of 20- 30 percent of rain or snow this winter. With less accumulation of snow this year - almost nothing so far - experts fear the glacier may recede further.

Spread over a little above 11 sq km, Kolahai is the main source of water for Kashmir. The river Lidder, which flows from the glacier, irrigates a large tract of agricultural land in south Kashmir. Even the biggest river of Kashmir, Jhelum, gets its water from Kolahai.

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