J&K witnessed 48% rain deficit in March

SRINAGAR — Jammu and Kashmir continued to witness a shortage of rainfall with a deficit of 48 % in the month of March, a probable cause of worry for the farmers this year.

J&K’s rainfall shortage has continued into March, with the area experiencing a deficit of 48 % for the month, an independent weather observer Faizan Arif said on Sunday.

He said this marks the third year in a row that March has suffered the most from a lack of rainfall.

However, there was no official data available regarding the deficit of rainfall during the period in Jammu and Kashmir.

Arif said between March 1 to March 31 Jammu and Kashmir recorded a meager 78.9 mm of rainfall, which is significantly below the average of 152.9 mm.

He said the Ladakh Union Territory also remained deficient by a staggering 73 %, with just 1.1 mm of rainfall recorded against an average of 4.0 mm during the period.

He said March is when the Kashmir region receives the most rainfall and snowfall, with heavy snowfall in the higher areas contributing to the growth of its glaciers. Though, this year’s March has seen an improvement compared to that of the previous year, the overall trend remains concerning, he claimed.

Airf said that at the beginning of March, he had predicted, after evaluating the available data, that there was high probability of below-average rainfall, with some possibility of precipitation remaining within the normal range during the month.

The Independent Weather observer said that this winter season, the rainfall deficit grew to 34 % compared to the previous winter that recorded a shortfall of 9 % between December 2021 and February 2022.

The 2020-2021 winter seasons saw a 37 % lack of rainfall compared to the average figure, he added.

“I believe the rainfall shortages in the winter and spring seasons, for last three years that Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed, are due to La Niña conditions. Now that we may see an El Niño developing towards the later part of the year and there are chances that the trend of below-normal rain during winter and spring seasons may break,” Arif said.

He said the below-normal rainfall may have significant impact on agriculture sector, as it is a primary source of water for crops and can result in reduced crop yields that might increase food inflation.

He said the low rainfall may also lead to soil erosion and degradation, reducing the productivity of agricultural land for future crops. Farmers may also face financial hardship due to decreased income from lower crop yields, potentially leading to job losses and economic instability in rural areas, Arif added. — (Agencies)