Turkish experts in the field of the environment have warned of repercussions affecting plants due to the decline in snowfall rates in the northern hemisphere, including Turkey.
Murat Turkes, a faculty member at the Center for Climate Change Research and Applications and Policies at the University of Bosphorus, touched on the decrease in the number of days in which snow falls, its thickness on the ground, and the speed of its melting in the northern hemisphere.
The melting of snow in the spring season, according to Turkis, is an important tributary for feeding the groundwater.
He explains that the snow cover protects the plants from frost, saying, “The absence of snow means that the frost will reach deeper levels in the soil, which means damage to the roots of trees, wild plants, and agricultural plants.”
According to studies conducted by the Turkish team, the short duration of snow cover delays plant growth because snow protects plants from sudden changes in temperature and harmful insects.
Turkis said, “Snowfall has become confined to the high peaks, and in many countries of the northern hemisphere, including Turkey, the duration of snow has decreased after it has fallen, and its density and the area it covers has decreased, and the main reason for this is climate change.”
The snow cover is a source of moisture for plants, and its loss will cause great damage to the natural and agricultural ecosystem. The expert said: “This year is witnessing drought on the one hand and high evaporation rates on the other hand. Turkey and southern European countries will witness a rise in temperature rates.”
With the exception of northern and northeastern Turkey, snowfall rates throughout Turkey will fall below the average rate, according to Turkis.
On the other hand, Youssef Srangel, a professor at the Department of Forestry Engineering at Cerrahpaşa University in Turkey, confirmed that snow is a greater benefit to groundwater than rain.
Srangel explained that the summer months, between June and September, do not receive rain, and here comes the importance of snow that feeds rivers and groundwater by melting from high mountain peaks, such as the Taurus Mountains near the Mediterranean Sea and the Qashqar Mountains near the Black Sea.
He said, “In the coming years, we may witness dry riverbeds and valleys. Snowfall means the flow of riverbeds throughout the year.”
He added that the impact of water droplets on the soil causes its erosion, but snow does not cause this due to its slow melting.