Monday, December 12, 2011

WHITE OUT New reports identify impacts of climate change on world's highest mountains

Findings from the most comprehensive assessment to date on climate change, snow and glacier melt in Asia's mountainous Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region - site of Mount Everest and many of the world's tallest peaks - highlight the region's extreme vulnerability to climate change, as rising temperatures disturb the balance of snow, ice and water, threatening millions of mountain people and 1.3 billion people living downstream in Asia's major river basins.

The findings, published in three reports by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), were released last week during Mountain Day, a convening of mountain experts, policy makers, and climate change negotiators on the sidelines of UN climate talks.

The three reports published by ICIMOD provide the most up-to-date compilation of information on the current status of climate change in the HKH region and the first authoritative data on the number and extent of glaciers and the patterns of snowfall in the world's most mountainous region.

"The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region is like a gentle giant. While physically imposing, it is one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the world," said David Molden, director general of ICIMOD.

"We must meet the intensity of climate change in these mountains with an equal intensity of will to mitigate and to adapt to the impacts." more