COIMBATORE: Ooty, one of the most preferred tourist destinations in South India, is fast losing its charm. A recent study — which compiles and compares temperatures recorded in the hill station between 1960 and 2018 — has found the number of warmer years has increased significantly since 90s.
The study, conducted by ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, divides the data into two sets — temperatures recorded 1960-1989 and 1990 to 2018. It was found that in the 30-year period between 1960-89, there were only two years when the annual mean temperature was higher than the average of 20 degree celsius.
However, in the period between 1990 and 2018, the number of warmer years increased to a whopping 15.
S Manivannan, principal scientist of the study, warns the change in climatic patterns could affect ecology, availability of water and thereby the trade, agriculture and livelihood of people living in the region.
The rise in temperatures in Ooty may affect duration of winter and the period of fog and dew, says scientist V Kasthuri Thilagam. “Unseasonal fog can damage crop yields. This change in weather patterns, in the long run, can also lead to extreme events of rainfall and drought.”
Blaming the global warming for changes witnessed in the hill station, experts recommend drastic steps. “Number of BS-I, II and III vehicles permitted to the hill station must be limited,” says the study. Vehicles must be upgraded to meet emission criteria. Manivannan says green cover must also be increased in Ooty to combat the changes. “Farmers and residents must be sensitised to harvest rainwater. These measures will help us in the longer run. The scientists have plans to extend the study to other areas of Tamil Nadu as well.