Climate change

Human activities are profoundly affecting the world’s climate, and mountains are a sensitive indicator of that effect. For this reason, understanding how climate change affects mountains is vital as governments and international organizations develop strategies to reverse current global warming trends, elaborating treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Each day, the burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases that enhance the heat-trapping capability of the earth’s atmosphere, gradually raising the planet’s temperature. Some climate models predict that average global temperatures will rise between 1.4 and 5.8°C by the year 2100 and temperature increases will be greater close to the Poles. Among the consequences imagined, fierce storms will become more frequent and sea levels are expected to rise, causing flooding and untold damage to island nations and low-lying coastal communities.

Because of their altitude, slope and orientation to the sun, mountain ecosystems are easily disrupted by variations in climate. As the world heats up, mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, while rare plants and animals struggle to survive over ever diminishing areas, and mountain people, already among the world’s poorest citizens, face greater hardships.  Changes in the depth of mountain glaciers and in their seasonal melting patterns will have an enormous impact on water resources in many parts of the world. As glaciers melt and retreat, life forms are also profoundly affected.

Mountain people, as well as many other animal and plant species, will have to adapt to changes – or leave their homes as traditional sources of food. At the same time, mountains will become more dangerous as melted permafrost and glacial run-off accelerate soil erosion as well as the likelihood of falling rocks, landslides, floods and avalanches. Extreme events and catastrophes, as well as infectious diseases – carried by insects that are spreading to higher altitudes as temperatures warm - are predicted to become more and more common. With few resources, mountain people are likely to be among global warming’s greatest victims if human activities that contribute to climate change are not soon reversed.

Climate Change Innovation and Resilience for Sustainable Livelihood

Climate Change Innovation and Resilience for Sustainable Livelihood

event

This international conference will focus on innovative approaches from the physical and social sciences to support economic development in mountain and lowland South Asia, which faces serious climate hazards along with food, water, and soil management and environmental justice challenges. The City University of New York, Colorado State University, The...

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Andean countries prepare for a regional mechanism

Andean countries prepare for a regional mechanism

peak to peak

Issue 73 – Month 10 – Year 2014

Our new issue of Peak to Peak opens with news of the Andean countries preparing for a regional mechanism. This example shows that transboundary cooperation can be centred on mountains. We also look at new MP members and activities,...

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Monitoring K2 climate data in real time

Monitoring K2 climate data in real time

news

The highest climate monitoring station in the Baltoro area of Pakistan was installed near K2 Base Camp in July 2014, as part of the international monitoring project, Stations at High Altitude for Research on Environment (SHARE), promoted by the Ev-K2-CNR Committee. The station is higher than the three...

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Transnational Working Table 1

Transnational Working Table 1

event

The first of two workshops on the results of projects in mountainous European countries and on the development of the Alps will allow participants to share knowledge and experiences on Alpine Space Projects. The meeting will also discuss WikiAlps, an encyclopaedia-like online platform, and its potential use in policy design...

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FAO/Mountain Partnership Secretariat at Earth Day Italia 2014

FAO/Mountain Partnership Secretariat at Earth Day Italia 2014

multimedia

The 44th annual celebration of Earth Day featured a photo exhibition at the Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, Italy. Organized by Earth Day Italia and Shoot4Change, the portraits depict managers of sustainable food production systems, botanical researchers and eco-carpenters amongst the 'heroes of the planet.' "Twenty-three Italian...

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Why Mountains Matter for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction – a call to action on the sustainable development goals

Why Mountains Matter for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction – a call to action on the sustainable development goals

publication

Why Mountains Matter for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction – a call to action on the sustainable development goals

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