Impact of climate change on Hindu-Kush

Impact of climate change on Hindu-Kush

Updated on 9 October, 2019

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Context The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will collaborate with meteorological agencies in China and Pakistan, among others, to provide climate forecast services to countries in the region to better gauge the impact of climate change on the Hindu Kush Mountains including the Himalayas. About the Regional climate Center (RCC)

  • The RCC will be under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will take a few years to take shape.
  • The WMO proposal is to have nodal centers in Islamabad, Delhi and Beijing whereby countries can share data and improve forecasts and predictions.
Importance of Hindu Kush Mountains:
  • It is often known as the 3rd pole after north and South pole and also known as Cryospheric zones.
Importance of Cryosphere: The cryosphere is an all-encompassing term for those portions of Earth's surface where water is in solid form, including sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and frozen ground which includes permafrost. The state of the cryosphere strongly depends on and interacts with atmospheric conditions, on local to hemispheric spatial scales, and on hourly to glacial-interglacial scales. It has a non-linear response to changes in temperature, due to threshold effects associated with melting of ice.
  • The Albedo of snow/ice sheet is high and plays an important role in solar radiation because reflect much of insolation, which helps in cooling of the earth. But due to global warming, some of the snow/ice-sheets are getting melt which has multiplier effects. Thus, presence or absence of snow and ice affects the heating and cooling of Earth’s surface. This influences the entire planet’s energy balance.
  • It influences the surface energy, greenhouse gases and water fluxes. For Example- Changes in Arctic sea ice and snow cover may affect the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation.
  • It plays an important role in cooling the air which affects the climate of the regions of Iceland, Greenland, Russia.
Threats to Hindu Kush region
  • The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the threat to the HKH region from global warming. 
  • Increased frequency and severity in the mountainous and downstream areas of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins, because of an increase in extreme precipitation events.
Alongside forecasting weather over long periods, the regional centers would provide data services, training and capacity-building, research and development. Identifying partnerships among relevant stakeholders, formulate research directions and needs for collaboration, identify user-groups and sectors and provide information on changes in hydrological extremes as part of climate change projections.

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