Climate change, cryosphere and impacts in the Indian Himalayan Region
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Climate change and related impacts over the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) remains poorly quantified. The present study reviews observed and modelled changes in the climate, cryosphere and impacts related to hazards, agriculture and ecosystems. An increasing temperature trend over the IHR is reported, which over a few locations is found to be higher than the global average. For precipitation, a complex and inconsistent response with considerable variation in the sign and magnitude of change is observed. Future projections show significant warming. Climate-driven changes and impacts are clearly observed. Snow cover has declined since the 1960s, with an enhanced decreasing trend during the 1990s and variable trends since 2000. Glaciers are losing mass and retreating at varying rates since the early 20th century, with an exception over the Karakoram region. An observed heterogeneous response of glaciers to atmospheric warming is controlled by regional variations in topography, debris cover, circulation and precipitation. Initial assessments of permafrost extent of 1 million km(2) across the IHR roughly translate into 14 times the glacier area. Extreme floods represent the most frequent natural disaster in the IHR. Studies have highlighted the significant threat from glacial lakes. Landslides occur in combination with heavy rainfall and flooding, with poor land- use practices such as road-cutting and deforestation being additional drivers. Climate change has also stressed traditional subsistence agriculture and food systems. Improving systematic and coordinated monitoring of climate and related impacts is crucial to contribute to effective climate change adaptation and response strategies.
Dimri , A P , Allen , S , Huggel , C , Mal , S , Ballesteros-Canovas , J A , Rohrer , M , Shukla , A , Tiwari , P , Maharana , P , Bolch , T , Thayyen , R J , Stoffel , M & Pandey , A 2021 , ' Climate change, cryosphere and impacts in the Indian Himalayan Region ' , Current Science , vol. 120 , no. 5 , pp. 774-790 . https://doi.org/10.18520/cs/v120/i5/774-790
© 2021 Current Science Association, Bengaluru. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at https://doi.org/10.18520/cs/v120/i5/774-790
DescriptionThis study has benefitted from collaborations promoted by the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (www.ihcap.in), a project under the Global Programme Climate Change and Environment of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (GoI), and with support from the Government of Himachal Pradesh and National Mission of Himalayan Studies, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, GoI.
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