Climate Change In The Eastern Himalayas
While climate change is affecting the entire planet, research shows that the impacts in the Himalayas are occurring at alarming rate, with possibly devastating consequences for the entire region.
- Glaciers: Almost 67% of the glaciers in the Himalayas have retreated. This will result in water scarcity in Nepal and for more than a billion people living downstream who depend on glaciers and snow as a source of freshwater. Nepal alone has 3,000 glaciers and 2,000 glacial lakes – of these, 20 are at risk of bursting. These glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) can be disastrous, washing away people, livestock, forests, farms and infrastructure.
- Biodiversity: As the fragile ecosystems of the Himalayas warm up, vegetation and wildlife will move to higher altitudes. Rapid climate change will not give plants and animals enough time to adapt. Biodiversity loss will also affect the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of people.
- Agriculture: Over two-thirds of Nepal's population depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Changes in local and regional weather conditions threaten traditional agriculture. Climate change
- will increase the occurrence of extreme events like floods, droughts and hailstorms, which can also have a drastic effect on agriculture. Rising temperatures and increased rainfall may also lead to more pests and weeds, which will reduce agricultural productivity.
- Economic development: The increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events can have serious economic consequences on a developing country. The impact of climate change on agriculture and the fragile ecosystems in Nepal will have a direct impact on agricultural productivity and tourism, which are pillars of the country’s economy.