Comparison of Eastern Himalayas and Western Himalayas
Himalayas are also divided in terms of Eastern and Western Himalayas, the two parts which are different from each other in many ways. The following table makes these important distinctions:
|Western Himalayas||Eastern Himalayas|
Some more observations
- Western Himalayas are above 36°N Lat. (Mt. Godwin-Austin), and eastern Himalayas are below 28°N Lat. (Kanchenjunga). Thus the 8° difference in the latitude between the two ends of the Himalayas has affected the altitude of the regional snowline so that it is lower in western Himalayas and higher in the east. .
- The difference in the observed level of the snowline in western and eastern Himalayas is also due to yearly changes in the climatic conditions of the region. In the Himalayas, volume of precipitation changes from year to year, and with that the altitude at which snow falls also changes. In the years of high precipitation, often snow falls at lower altitude than the years of low precipitation.
Northern Slopes and Southern Slopes of Himalayas
The Southern slopes in Himalayan region are covered with thick vegetation, while the northern slopes are generally barren. The reasons are many. The first is that Southern slopes receive more precipitation, as we all know and northern slopes in a rain shadow area. Further, the northern slopes usually receive sun rays only for a few hours during the day at a low angle. The southern slopes receive comparatively vertical rays during the middle of the day. As a result, southern slopes being warmer fall in the area of greater evapotranspiration, and that is why the vegetation is up to a higher altitude in southern slopes. Longer periods of sunshine also have an effect on the volume of snow accumulation on the southern slopes. Due to longer period of sunshine, less snow accumulates on the southern slopes than on the northern slopes. That is why; the snowline on southern slopes is lower in comparison to the northern slopes.
- Himalayas are oriented east-west and their southern slopes are in direct sunshine for a larger part of the year so the snowline on the southern slopes of the ridges is higher than the northern slopes.
- Volume of precipitation decreases from the south towards the north, therefore southern ranges in eastern Himalayas have lower snowline than the northern ranges.
- Volume of precipitation increases with altitude.