ICIMOD Mountain Day

Press Release

New Reports Identify Impacts of Climate Change on World’s Highest Mountains

4 December 2011
Durban, South Africa

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 today during Mountain Day, a convening of mountain experts, policy makers, and climate change negotiators on the sidelines of UN climate talks. 

“These reports provide a new baseline and location-specific information for understanding climate change in one of the most vulnerable ecosytems in the world,” said Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “They substantially deepen our understanding of this region – and of all mountain systems – while also pointing to the knowledge gaps yet to be filled and actions that must be taken to deal with the challenge of climate change globally and to minimise the risks from impacts locally.” ...

Click here to read the full press release.

Lirung Glacier, Langtang Valley, Nepal - the only source of water to the Kyanjing Gompa settlement below. 

Photo: ICIMOD/Samjwal Bajracharya 

Gangapurna Glacier, Manang, Nepal; field studies indicate that about 50 years ago, the glacier reached to where the lake is seen today. Photo: ICIMOD/Nabin Baral 

The Himalayas influence agriculture downstream through their role in modulating modulating climate and availability of water (farmer in northeastern India). 

Photo: ICIMOD/Nabin Baral 

Yala Glacier, Langtang Valley, Nepal; the lake in the foreground is evidence of glacial retreat. 

Photo: ICIMOD/Samjwal Bajracharya 

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan range, viewed by satellite imagery. 

Photo: ESRI

Collecting crabs in Assam, India: Lowland livelihoods depend on water originating in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan mountains. 

Photo: ICIMOD/Nabin Baral 

Rice production in the lowlands of Nepal depends on water from mountain snow and ice. 

Photo: ICIMOD/Nabin Baral