Mosquitoes move up mountains as the earth warms, Sonia Awale
Climate models show that spring flow in the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers and their glacier-fed tributaries will rise till 2050 as the earth warms, but will start decreasing after that because there will be no more ice left to melt.
Already, 60% of the water withdrawn for irrigation in the Indo-Gangetic Basin originates from snow and glacier melt — and the dry season flow of most Himalayan rivers is almost entirely snow-fed.
“The mountains are the pulse of the planet, and that pulse is telling us that we are in a climate crisis,” warned ICIMOD Director General David Molden at a Cryosphere and Society Forum on 28-29 August in Kathmandu. “The impact of climate change is felt hard in mountains, with temperatures rising faster than the plains, resulting in changing ecosystem and agricultural patterns, changing rainfall and river flows.”
For the first time, the forum this year brought together scientists and local communities from across the Himalaya so as to bridge the knowledge gap between researchers and local people. The idea was to see how climate change affects water supply, energy and food security for people in the Himalaya, and to offer solutions.
“The impact on farming, tourism and hydropower is already being felt, the question is: what are we going to do about it?” said ICIMOD climate expert Arun Bhakta Shrestha.