Kashmir’s farmers suffer floods and drought as glaciers melt

Climate change is melting ice and snow in the Himalayan mountains too quickly, too early, leaving crops either drowned or parched.

Scientists have long warned that warming temperatures linked to climate change are eating into glaciers and ice sheets around the world, driving rising sea levels. Image: Kiril Rusev, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Flickr.

When spring flooding in Kashmir’s Himalayan mountains drowned the mustard crops on Ghulam Hassan’s farm, he knew at least he would have his summer rice harvest to provide food for his family and fodder for his cattle.

But when summer came, the glacier-fed stream he uses to irrigate his crops filled to only a fraction of its usual level. His rice plants died of thirst and the corn and beans he tried to plant instead also perished.

“All this land you see around you was an upsetting sight in summer – farmland is of no worth if water is not available,” Hassan said, as he tied together a bale of grass gathered from around his farm in the village of Goripora, in the south of Indian-administered Kashmir.

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