An overview of studies of observed climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region
Arun Bhakta Shrestha
Hindu Kush Himalayan
Social sciences (General)
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AbstractThe Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH hereafter) region is characterized by mountainous environments and a variety of regional climatic conditions. High-altitude regions in the HKH have the recent warming amplifications, especially during the global warming hiatus period. The rapid warming cause solid state water (snow, ice, glacier, and permafrost) to shrink, leading to increase in meltwater and there have been found more frequent incidences of flash floods, landslides, livestock diseases, and other disasters in the HKH region. Increasing awareness of climate change over the HKH region is reached a consensus. Meanwhile, the HKH region is often referred to as the water towers of Asia as many high-altitude regions store its water in the form of snow and/or glacier, feeding ten major large rivers in Asia. Therefore, the impacts of climate change on water availability in these river basins have huge influences on the livelihood of large number of population, especially in downstream regions. However, the scarcity of basic hydro-meteorological observations particularly in high-altitude regions of HKH limits rigorous analysis of climate change. Most studies used reanalysis data and/or model-reconstructed products to explore the spatial and temporal characteristics of hydro-meteorological processes, especially for extreme events. In this study, we review recent climate change in the HKH region, and the scientific challenges and research recommendations are suggested for this high-altitude area.