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One of the most prominent changes currently being experienced around the globe, including in mountain regions, is contemporary climate change. In the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region of Asia, climate change is of increasing concern since rising temperatures threaten to melt mountain glaciers and snow while disrupting already variable monsoon precipitation patterns, both of which will impact downstream water supplies vital to the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. Mountain ecosystems are also important to peoples of the region and face dramatic shifts in composition and distribution as temperatures rise and the water balance changes.
This book aims to examine how modeling can be applicable toward local adaptation to climate change, using the Hindu Kush-Himalayas (HKH) as a case study. This introductory…
This book aims to examine how modeling can be applicable toward local adaptation to climate change, using the Hindu Kush-Himalayas (HKH) as a case study. This introductory chapter sets the stage by summarizing mountain systems and change in the context of the HKH, especially highlighting the importance of involving mountain peoples in any discussion and work. Then, each chapter is summarized. In the final section, limitations and extensions of the work here are reported, focused on developing, testing, and implementing solutions on the terms of the people most affected without losing sight of wider contexts. Modeling is one knowledge system among many that is needed for adaptation and other development work in the HKH and other mountain areas.
Climate change data and predictions for the Himalayas are very sparse and uncertain, characterized by a “Himalayan data gap” and difficulties in predicting changes due to…
Climate change data and predictions for the Himalayas are very sparse and uncertain, characterized by a “Himalayan data gap” and difficulties in predicting changes due to topographic complexity. A few reliable studies and climate change models for Nepal predict considerable changes: shorter monsoon seasons, more intensive rainfall patterns, higher temperatures, and drought. These predictions are confirmed by farmers who claim that temperatures have been increasing for the past decade and wonder why the rains have “gone mad.” The number of hazard events, notably droughts, floods, and landslides are increasing and now account for approximately 100 deaths in Nepal annually. Other effects are drinking water shortages and shifting agricultural patterns, with many communities struggling to meet basic food security before climatic conditions started changing.
The aim of this paper is to examine existing gaps between current climate models and the realities of local development planning through a case study on flood risk and drinking water management for the Municipality of Dharan in Eastern Nepal. This example highlights current challenges facing local-level governments, namely, flood and landslide mitigation, providing basic amenities – especially an urgent lack of drinking water during the dry season – poor local planning capacities, and limited resources. In this context, the challenge for Nepal will be to simultaneously address increasing risks caused by hazard events alongside the omnipresent food security and drinking water issues in both urban and rural areas. Local planning is needed that integrates rural development and disaster risk reduction (DRR) with knowledge about climate change considerations. The paper concludes with a critical analysis of climate change modeling and the gap between scientific data and low-tech and low capacities of local planners to access or implement adequate adaptation measures. Recommendations include the need to bridge gaps between scientific models, the local political reality and local information needs.