Study shows varying global warming impacts in different mountain areas

Elevation of glaciers key to future runoff

Scientists are trying to pinpoint the impacts of global warming on Himalayan glaciers and regional water supplies. Photo courtesy Nasa Earth Observatory.
Scientists are trying to pinpoint the impacts of global warming on Himalayan glaciers and regional water supplies. Photo courtesy Nasa Earth Observatory.

Projecting global warming impacts in mountainous regions has been difficult for researchers, as drastic contrasts in terrain over short distances challenges climate models. Now, a new study by scientists from ETH Zurich and Utrecht University shows there will be different responses in different parts of the world.

In a new study, they looked closely at the water balance of two regions; the upper Langtang valley in Nepal and Juncal region of the central Andes in Chile, which are both important watersheds for millions of people. Both areas include peaks rising over 6,000 metres and glaciers that help sustain rivers. Continue reading “Study shows varying global warming impacts in different mountain areas”

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The world’s mountain regions are warming swiftly

North Tenmile Creek trail, Frisco Colorado
Global warming will have profound impacts on mountain ecosystems, @bberwyn photo.

Scientists say there’s an urgent need for more widespread data collection and observations from high elevations

By Bob Berwyn

A new scientific report from climate scientists says the world’s highest mountains may be warming much faster than than the global average — and faster than previously thought.

Most of all, the researchers said more monitoring and observations of mountain temperature patterns are needed to assess the high-elevation changes. Continue reading “The world’s mountain regions are warming swiftly”

Can the Hockbärneckalm survive global warming?

Climate change threatens mountain agriculture in the Alps

Hochbärneck Alm Austria
The Hochbärneck Alm (900 meters) in Lower Austria’s Alpine region. @bberwyn photo.

Supported by the Earth Journalism Network and Internews

By Bob Berwyn

LOWER AUSTRIA — Austria’s high alpine pastures, called Alms, are an important part of the country’s cultural tradition. For centuries, herders have driven cattle and sheep up and down the sides of the mountains following seasonal cycles of plant growth and snow melt.

The livestock grazing is managed mindfully to promote vegetation growth and biodiversity. It may be a difficult concept to grasp at first, but the rhythm of alpine grazing actually fosters biodiversity. Orchids, medicinal herbs and wildflowers thrive in the clearings and create lush green open patches in the landscape that are aesthetically pleasing. Continue reading “Can the Hockbärneckalm survive global warming?”