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Glacier reduction - Impact on water supply

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Title: Rising river flows throughout the twenty-first century in two Himalayan glacierized watersheds
Date of publication: 2013
Description/subject: "Greater Himalayan glaciers are retreating and losing mass at rates comparable to glaciers in other regions of the world Assessments of future changes and their associated hydrological impacts are scarce, oversimplify glacier dynamics or include a limited number of climate models. Here, we use results from the latest ensemble of climate models in combination with a high-resolution glacio-hydrological model to assess the hydrological impact of climate change on two climatically contrasting watersheds in the Greater Himalaya, the Baltoro and Langtang watersheds that drain into the Indus and Ganges rivers, respectively. We show that the largest uncertainty in future runoff is a result of variations in projected precipitation between climate models. In both watersheds, strong, but highly variable, increases in future runoff are projected and, despite the different characteristics of the watersheds, their responses are surprisingly similar. In both cases, glaciers will recede but net glacier melt runoff is on a rising limb at least until 2050. In combination with a positive change in precipitation, water availability during this century is not likely to decline. We conclude that river basins that depend on monsoon rains and glacier melt will continue to sustain the increasing water demands expected in these areas. [Article preview]
Author/creator: W. W. Immerzeel, F. Pellicciotti, F. P. Bierkens
Language: English
Source/publisher: Geoscience 6, 742–745 (2013)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 October 2017

Title: The Melting Himalayas: Cascading Effects of Climate Change on Water, Biodiversity, and Livelihoods
Description/subject: Abstract: "The Greater Himalayas hold the largest mass of ice outside polar regions and are the source of the 10 largest rivers in Asia. Rapid reduction in the volume of Himalayan glaciers due to climate change is occurring. The cascading effects of rising temperatures and loss of ice and snow in the region are affecting, for example, water availability (amounts, seasonality), biodiversity (endemic species, predator–prey relations), ecosystem boundary shifts (tree-line movements, high-elevation ecosystem changes), and global feedbacks (monsoonal shifts, loss of soil carbon). Climate change will also have environmental and social impacts that will likely increase uncertainty in water supplies and agricultural production for human populations across Asia. A common understanding of climate change needs to be developed through regional and local-scale research so that mitigation and adaptation strategies can be identified and implemented. The challenges brought about by climate change in the Greater Himalayas can only be addressed through increased regional collaboration in scientific research and policy making.".....Keywords: alpine ecosystem, cascading effects, climate change, glaciers, Himalayas, water resources
Language: English
Source/publisher: 2009 Society for Conservation Biology
Format/size: pdf (447K)
Date of entry/update: 15 October 2017