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River basins and cryosphere
17 December 2021
Miriam Jackson & Chimi Seldon
In this episode of CryoDiscussion, we will be introducing the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report from Working Group I (The Physical Science Basis), particularly its findings on cryosphere in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, and discussing the implications of climate change on the region’s cryosphere. Researchers and authors directly involved in preparing this report or associated with the IPCC process will share and interpret the findings. We aim to break down the findings of the report for audiences beyond the scientific community. We welcome anyone interested in learning about AR6 and climate change impacts to participate and interact with the researchers and authors.
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report from Working Group I provides a detailed regional assessment and overview of the physical science of past, present, and future climate change. This information can support risk assessment, adaptation, and other decision-making, and help translate physical changes in the climate – heat, cold, rain, flood, drought, snow – into what they mean for society and ecosystems. This latest of IPCC reports projects that in the coming decades, the effects of climate change will increase in all regions. In the HKH region, glaciers are declining, and permafrost is thawing – seasonal snow duration, glacial mass, and permafrost area are projected to decline further by the mid-21st century. In High Mountain Asia, glacier runoff will increase up to the mid-21st century and subsequently, runoff may decrease due to the loss of glacier storage. These changes are taking place already and will continue to disrupt life in the mountains and further downstream.
Screening of the introduction video – “Listening to ice: learning from glaciers and mountain villages”*
Guðfinna (Tolly) Aðalgeirsdóttir, Professor, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland
Farooq Azam, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, India
Santosh Nepal, Water and Climate Specialist, ICIMOD
Cunde Xiao, Director, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University
Closing remarks from the panelists
*As part of the webinar, we are also presenting the work of Susan Schuppli, a video and audio artist, who has been using visuals to showcase the impact of climate change on mountain communities. Her latest project covers communities in Ladakh, India.
Cunde Xiao is the Director of State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University. He is also Secretary-General of the China Society of Cryospheric Science and the Vice-Chair of the Chinese Association of Scientific Adventure. His research has focused on ice core studies related to paleoclimate and paleoenvironment, and present-day cold region meteorological and glaciological processes that impact environmental and climatic changes. He is the coordinating lead author of chapter 9: Ocean, cryosphere, and sea level for Working Group 1, for IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. He was also the review editor of IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir is Professor of Glaciology at the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland. Her research focuses on the interaction of climate and glaciers/ice sheets by monitoring and modelling the response of glaciers and ice caps to climate change in the past, present, and future. Guðfinna is one of the lead authors of the WG1 Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contributing to Chapter 9: Ocean, cryosphere, and sea level change.
Santosh Nepal is a Water and Climate Specialist and leads the Climate Change and Hydrology (CCHYD) Group within the Water and Air Theme at ICIMOD. His responsibilities include designing and implementing climate change and hydrological assessments for different projects within the institute. These include climate change projections, impact on hydrological regime, hydrological assessment, flood modelling and predictions, a better understanding of upstream-downstream linkages and integrated water resources management across different river basin scales. He has also contributed to the IPCC’s special report on Ocean and Cryosphere (SROCC) and is also a contributing author in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report.
Mohd Farooq Azam has 15 years of experience in the field of the Himalayan cryosphere. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, India. His research is mainly focused on the glaciology, hydrology, and climate change impacts in the Himalaya. Azam has done extensive research on the Chhota Shigri Glacier in Himachal Pradesh, India. He holds a PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Grenoble, France. He is also the national correspondent from India for the World Glacier Monitoring Services.
Susan Schuppli is an artist-researcher based in the UK whose work examines material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters and climate change. Her current work focuses on the politics of the cold titled ‘Learning from ice.’ She is one of the recipients of the COP26 Creative Commission ‘Listening to ice’ along with Mohd. Farooq Azam and Faiza Ahmad Khan. The project sponsored by the British council involves both scientific and community-based work at Drang Drung Glacier in Ladakh. Schuppli authored the book, ‘Material Witness: Media, Forensics, Evidence’ published in 2021. She is also the Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London and on the Board Chair of Forensic Architecture.
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