Monitoring the Role of Temporal Land Cover Changes on Mountain Hazard Susceptibility in Beas Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India

Ghosh Sayanta, Lata Renu, Gouda Krushna Chandra
EGU General Assembly

In the last 50 years, drastic change in the spatio-temporal variation of climate patterns have been
observed over the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) resulting increase in the frequency of Extreme
Weather Events (EWE) such as cloud burst, flash flooding, land slide etc. Change in climate
parameters has direct impact and consequence on the Himalayan ecosystem, which in turn
adversely affects livelihood of people living in the high altitude area. Also, alteration in Land Use
Land Cover (LULC) have occurred rapidly in the already vulnerable IHR for the last few decades.
Few studies have carried out to analyse the impact of land cover changes and regional climate
variability on mountain hazard susceptibility in different parts of the world. But there’s a lack of
such type of study in high altitude areas of IHR. Here, we have made an attempt to assess the
impact of regional climate variability (Precipitation, Air Temperature, Soil Moisture, Relative
Humidity) as well as spatio-temporal variations in LULC on the increasing frequency of EWE in
Beas river basin of Kullu district, India. For this purpose, using multi-temporal LANDSAT data and
high resolution Terra Climate monthly data, temporal Land Cover Changes as well as climate
variability over the period of 21 years, i.e., from the year 2000 to 2020 for Beas valley of Kullu
district, India have been assessed. Disaster data highlights a drastic increase of 378% in the
average occurrence of EWE during present years (i.e., 2016 to 2020) than that of last 16 years
(2000 to 2015). Socio-economic survey have been carried out in the disaster prone villages of Beas
basin to study people perception. 68.6% respondents believe that the increase in EWE is due to
change in climate pattern. It is observed from LULC change detection that a massive increase in
Agricultural land, including orchard expansion, of 123 % occurred during the year 2020 than that
of 2000 in Beas Valley. Also, there’s a sharp increase of 40.63 % in settlement areas which includes
the tourism activities such as hotels, restaurants, etc. during the year 2020 than that of 2000. The
average rise in average air temperature is observed as 0.53° Celsius in study area over the period
of 21 years. Annual precipitation shows a decrease of 76 mm to 325 mm during the year 2020
than that of year 2000 whereas the number of extreme rainfall days increases by 33.3% within the
same interval. Outcome of the paper will be helpful in better understanding the impact of land
cover dynamics and regional climate variability on the frequency of EWE in the Beas Valley of Kullu
district, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Indian Himalayan Region
Extreme weather events
Climate variability
Electrical and Electronic Equipment