Even though temperatures of Jammu and Kashmir starts dropping at the beginning of December, the coldest period in winters start by the third week of December and last until the end of January.
The minimum temperatures of the Union Territory are already going down. Anantnag, Kukernag, Banihal, Gulmarg, Batote, Kupwara and Qazigund are witnessing minimum temperatures in the range of -3 and -5 degree. Srinagar and Gulmarg are going through minimum temperature around -6 degrees. Most of the districts of Jammu and Kashmir are witnessing freezing morning and nights.
The 40-day period of extreme cold weather in winter in Kashmir is known as ‘Chillai-Kalan’ in the local language. This time period will begin on December 21, 2020, and it will end on January 31, 2021. During this period, often snowfall takes place in upper reaches of the valley. During this time period, western disturbances are usually very high. High snowfall causes subzero temperatures across the valley. Chillai-Kalan period is also known for freezing temperatures. During this period, lakes and river often get frozen in the region.
During these 40 days, snowfall chances are the highest, and the maximum temperature also drops. During Chillai-Kalan, the weather in Kashmir valley remains very cold and minimum temperatures keeps around freezing point. The snowfall during this 40-day period is generally very heavy and lasts longer.
The cold wave continues even after Chillai-Kalan. Chillai-Kalan is followed by a 20-day-long period called ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold). This lasts between January 31 and February 19 and is followed by a 10-day-long period ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold) between February 20 to March 2.
Top scientists believe that such harsh and unexpected weather conditions could be caused because of climate change.
Dr Bhupinder B. Singh, senior scientist at the government’s premier Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR) at Pune says that the climate change is affecting the intensity and frequency of Western Disturbances. This can result in bringing the temperature down in the northern region of the nation in upcoming years, while central and southern regions of India could be warmer.
The scientist said that the shrinking forest belt is among the few culprits for climate change. Other than that, greenhouse gases, particularly aerosol-like fine dust particles in the air, are responsible for making conditions worse.