Climate perceptions of local communities validated through scientific signals in Sikkim Himalaya, India

Article

Abstract

Sikkim, a tiny Himalayan state situated in the north-eastern region of India, records limited research on the climate change. Understanding the changes in climate based on the perceptions of local communities can provide important insights for the preparedness against the unprecedented consequences of climate change. A total of 228 households in 12 different villages of Sikkim, India, were interviewed using eight climate change indicators. The results from the public opinions showed a significant increase in temperature compared to a decade earlier, winters are getting warmer, water springs are drying up, change in concept of spring-water recharge (locally known as Mul Phutnu), changes in spring season, low crop yields, incidences of mosquitoes during winter, and decrease in rainfall in last 10 years. In addition, study also showed significant positive correlations of increase in temperature with other climate change indicators viz. spring-water recharge concept (R2 = 0.893), warmer winter (R2 = 0.839), drying up of water springs (R2 = 0.76), changes in spring season (R2 = 0.68), low crop yields (R2 = 0.68), decrease in rainfall (R2 = 0.63), and incidences of mosquitoes in winter (R2 = 0.50). The air temperature for two meteorological stations of Sikkim indicated statistically significant increasing trend in mean minimum temperature and mean minimum winter temperature (DJF). The observed climate change is consistent with the people perceptions. This information can help in planning specific adaptation strategies to cope with the impacts of climate change by framing village-level action plan.

Keywords

Climate change People perceptions Increase in temperature Mann-Kendall statistics Sikkim Himalaya 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Climate Change Cell, Sikkim State Council of Science and TechnologyVigyan BhawanGangtokIndia

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