"The Himalayas Have Stopped Smiling"

A reader passes along this unfortunate news:
Poor crop yields, water shortages and more extreme temperatures are pushing rural villagers closer to the brink as climate change grips Nepal. Farmers say changing weather patterns have dramatically affected crop production, leaving them unable to properly feed themselves and getting into debt.

More than 3.4 million people in Nepal are estimated to require food assistance, due to a combination of natural disasters, including 2008/09’s winter drought – one of the worst in the country’s history.

Nepal is seeing an increase in temperature extremes, more intense rainfall and increased unpredictability in weather patterns, including drier winters and delays in the summer monsoons. The changes, partly due to the impact of melting Himalayan glaciers, could also be felt well beyond Nepal’s borders.
It's always hard to draw a conclusive line between the effects of climate change and natural year-to-year variations - it always irritates me when people count Hurricane Katrina as a direct result of climate change, for example (not true). But this is nevertheless an ugly preview of what a warmer world could look like (not to mention falling crop yields in major breadbaskets, etc.).

Shrinking glaciers in the Himalayas would have repercussions well beyond Nepal - they are the source of the major rivers bringing water to the two most populous countries in the world, and international tensions are already rising.

No comments:

Post a Comment