When it comes to going for a vacation, one can never go wrong with Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. The scenic beauty, the snow covered mountains and the unfiltered sun rays on your skin feels like a heavenly escape from your daily hustle-bustle. 

So, when the lockdown was lifted and people suddenly started posting stories and reels of the magnificent mountains, it did make all of us feel a little jealous. But in-between all those Instagram stories and reels everyone forgot how our beloved mountains are in danger. 

The horrifying Uttarakhand glacier burst and avalanche in the Joshimath area of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district was a grim reminder of that. 

This natural calamity was a big slap on everyone's face who thought climate change is just a hoax. But what was more concerning for experts was the timing of this calamity despite the fact there was no cloudburst. 

Cloudburst would be a rare event during this time of the year. It does look like a GLOF event right now. 

Several experts tried to find the reason behind the incident. While some called it a GLOF or glacial lake outburst flood, some blamed the reduced snowfall this winter as the cause of the disaster.  

But the end result just pointed out that climate change and global warming is at an all-time high. This is eating the Himalayan glaciers at an alarming speed.      

This recent Uttarakhand avalanche was an evident eye-opener. But the mountains and other hill stations especially have been suffering right in front of our eyes. Reason? The rise in temperatures, global warming and human intervention for several years now.   

Case in point, many cities and districts in Himachal Pradesh witnessed their warmest February after decades. Where a tourist city like Kalpa is 14 degrees above the average temperature, Shimla is at least eight degrees above normal temperature this month. 

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Source: IndiaTV

Soaring temperatures are affecting the plain areas as well leading to this February being the warmest in Delhi in at least 15 years. 

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Source: India TV News

But that's not it. Due to the lack of precipitation, cities like Shimla and Manali didn't receive snowfall in the month of January this year. This is a matter of grave concern since an inadequate amount of snowfall will lead to water shortage and the drying up of rivers not just in HP but also in other mountain regions.  

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Source: The Culture Trip

Water availability, both in terms of drinking water and water for agriculture is tied to winter snowfall. The mountain communities are dependent on the springs for our pre-monsoon irrigation and that only comes from snowmelt and glaciers. 

The atmospheric warming also led to winter wildfires in the state of Uttarakhand for the very first time. Due to dry winters and low perspiration in the state, the forest fires which otherwise take place between mid-February to mid-June started in October last year and are still continuing. This phenomenon also resulted in a decrease in the bird and butterfly population in the state.   

Moreover, several species of flowers in Uttarakhand, including rhododendron are blooming much earlier than they should due to the increase in temperature. 

Moreover, when the local mountain communities say that it isn't as cold as it used to, they actually are right. According to Livemint, the rapid rise in temperatures has led to Himalaya becoming less cold. The number of frigid days has declined 4 days in the past 5 decades.  

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Source: DownToEarth

Anyone who has been a 'mountain person' can also very evidently see how the water level of all the rivers have been decreasing at various places. The buzzing sound of the streams and rivers are suddenly nowhere to be heard.  

All the places that used to have inches of snow are totally dry. Small puddle-like waterbodies have taken the place of those large rivers.          

So, don't be fooled by the pictures of snowcapped mountains and snowfall. That is happening at some very isolated places in the mountain regions. Despite the fact that it is being neglected, global warming and climate change is occurring at a rapid pace and this is leading to a very worrisome situation in the mountains.