HPAS Mains Syllabus General Studies Paper 1 : Himachal Geography
Question : Describe the different types of climatic zones in Himachal Pradesh. 4 Marks
The State of Himachal Pradesh is situated in the subtropical latitudes but owing to high altitudes, orographic features and snow covered peaks, the climate of the greater part of the state resembles to that of mountainous and Continental parts of the temperate latitudes.
Natural vegetation is the reflection of climate of a region. Climate itself is a function of temperature and precipitation. Having a Mountainous relief the climate and vegetation of Himachal Pradesh is driven by its topography and location.
The general physiographic divisions from south to north are:
1. The Outer Himalayas (Shivaliks)
2. The Lesser Himalayas (Central zone)
3. The Greater Himalayas and Trans-Himalayas (Northern zone)
According to the climate and Vegetation type Himachal could be categorised in three zones –
1. Humid Sub-Tropical or Warm Temperate Climate having Semi-Evergreen to dry and moist deciduous forests.
This climate is found in the Shivalik range consists of lower hills (600 m above sea level). The hills of this region are composed of highly unconsolidated deposits which results in a high rate of erosion and deforestation. It constitutes Hamirpur, Una, Bilaspur, the lower hilly areas of Kangra, and the lower parts of Mandi, Solan & Sirmaur districts. The climate here is hot and sub-humid tropical to warm temperate. The annual precipitation varies from 150-300 cm. Major forest types are Sal, riverine Khair & Sisham, Chir Pine, Dry Deciduous & Lower Moist Broad Leaved Forest.
2. Wet Temperate zone having Evergreen and Semi-evergreen coniferous forests.
This type of climate is found in The lesser Himalayas are spotted by a gradual elevation towards the Dhauladhar and the Pir Panjal ranges. A number of glaciers exist here and several passes lie across the Pir Panjal. The Rohtang Pass (3,978 m) is one of these. The climate here is humid cool temperate. The annual precipitation varies between 100-150 cm. Natural vegetation is Ban, Kharsu and Moru Oak, Deodar, Blue Pine, Fir, Spruce, Chir Pine & Mixed Broad Leaved Forest.
3. Dry Temperate zone having Temperate Grasslands. There are many glaciers over the Zaskar and the Great Himalayan ranges. Here climate is alpine dry temperate which has snow cover of 6 months a year and depicts cold desert characteristics due to their location at the rain-shadow area of summer monsoon. The annual precipitation is nearly 50cm. This type of climate prevails in the upper reach of chamba, Kinnaur and lahaul and spiti. The main species of dry alpine forests are juniper, artemesia, lonicera, Cotoneaster etc. Extensive alpine pastures are the characteristic feature of this forest type which supports large flocks of sheep and goats during summer months. These alpine pastures remain covered with snow from October to April or May, depending on the altitude and location. Major forest types of Alpine region are High level Blue Pine, Fir, Spruce, Alder, Birch & Rhododendron Forest & Moist Alpine scrub.
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