High Mountain Glaciers and Climate Change: Challenges to Human Livelihoods and Adaptation

Aug 10th, 2014 | By | Category: Books, Publication

Climate change is causing significant mass loss of glaciers in high mountains worldwide. This report calls for accelerating research, monitoring and modeling of glaciers, snow and their role in water supplies.

Although glacier systems are inherently complex overall trends indicate that globally glaciers are receding. This is likely to accelerate in the coming decades. Impacts of the shrinkage of mountain glaciers include changes in the flow characteristics of glacier-fed rivers, glacier lake outburst floods and changing flood severity and frequency. This will most likely increase human vulnerability in concerned areas, and have major impacts on food security.

Recommendations of this report are as follows:

  • strengthen glacial research and trans-national collaboration with emphasis on mass calculation and the effects of glacial recession on biodiversity and water resources availability downstream
  • improve modeling of precipitation patterns and effects on water availability in mountain regions, particularly in Asia and Latin America
  • prioritise support to and development of adaptation to water-related disasters
  • prioritise programmes and support to development and implementation of adaptation strategies for too much and too little water including strengthening the role of women
  • urgently support the implementation and improvement of both small and large-scale water capture and storage systems
  • improve efficiency of current irrigation systems through the use of green technology and agricultural knowledge



Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>

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