Climate Change

Mountains may be rugged and majestic, but they’re also fragile environments that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The high peaks of the Himalayas are a vast storehouse of water in frozen form, with the world’s greatest concentration of ice outside the polar region. This “third pole” helps to provide the water that 1.3 billion people depend on for survival, along with the annual monsoon, which is also impacted by climate change. 

The warming trend in the Himalayas is higher than the global average, which is a cause for grave concern. Climate change also contributes to the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events and natural hazards. Unseasonal rainfall can lead to flooding and destroy crops; too little rain can also mean crop failure and have broad-reaching consequences on the economy and people’s lives. Habitat change has an impact on wildlife, farming and grazing conditions, natural resources from timber to medicinal herbs, and the survival of a rich variety of unique cultures.

A focus on the need for scientific data, informed policymaking and effective adaptation to climate change is a crucial component of ICIMOD’s work. 

Relevant Publications

Go to HimalDoc


Digital polygon dataset of snow cover area of Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) Region. This dataset is generated from 8-day composite 500 m resolution Terra satellite image from MODIS and using global standard MODIS snow product after implementing cloud filtering techniques.


Comprehensive baseline information on the glaciers of the HKH region was generated semi-automatically using more than 200 Landsat 7 ETM+ images of 2005 ± 3 years with minimum cloud and snow coverage.


Science Applications

The application provides tools to view chart of daily stream flow and soil moisture for a given dam and the associated river basin respectively. The streamflow value corresponds to value of streamflow raster data on the location of dam whereas soil moisture value corresponds to average soil moisture value of the basin containing the dam.


The statistics on glaciers can be viewd for entire HKH region or at disaggregatged basin and sub-basin levels. The glacier number, glacier area and estimated ice reserves can be viewed as charts for user-specified cut-off elevation, cut-off slope and aspect.


Videos and Good Practices