SOLUKHUMBU, March 3: The main season of snow usually begins from the last week of January or the first week of February in the Khumbu area of Solukhumbu district. But this year, snow came late and it was less than usual. Much to the surprise of the locals, snowfall was not even enough to cover the mountains surrounding the area.
Last year, during the snow season, the area would witness heavy snowfall, bringing up to two feet of snow throwing normal life out of gear. Gelu Sherpa, a local, shared that snowfall earlier would last for another one month. “But this year, even into half a month of the snow season, there isn’t much snow,” he said.
Locals suspect climate change might be the reason. Another local Pemba Sherpa doubts if the area will witness heavy snowfall in the weeks to come. “The season is already over. If it doesn’t snow now, the main snow season, I doubt if it will snow in the coming weeks,” she said.
Mountaineer Wangda Sherpa also feels that snow has decreased in the mountains. “Earlier there used to be thick snow in the mountains. It was easy to climb mountains due to the presence of thick snow. But now, snowfall is not as heavy as it used to be and as a result the rocks are visible,” he added.
Dhananjaya Regmi, a mountain researcher, said that the temperature in the mountains is increasing annually by 0.4 to 0.6 Celsius. “Even locals have started to gradually feel the impact of climate change. We have already initiated bidding process to install a station to record the temperatures of the Himalayan region,” he said.
He also attributed climate change for low snowfall in the Himalayas.