Exhibit shows impact of climate change on Himalayas

Tue Dec 9, 2008 4:05am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) - Swiss glaciologist Fritz Muller spent eight months in the Mount Everest region in the 1950s studying and taking pictures of the glaciers, mountains and valleys in the Khumbu area, home to the world's highest mountain.

More than 50 years later British mountain geographer Alton Byers took photographs of many of the same sites as Muller, and the old and new images are now on display side by side in a week-long exhibition in Kathmandu.

The International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which organized the "Himalaya - Changing Landscapes" exhibit, aim to highlight the impact of climate change on the world's highest mountain range.

"Warming in the Himalayan region has been much greater than the global average and the rising temperatures are leading to rapid melting of the glaciers," said the Kathmandu-based ICIMOD, which studies the people and environment in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya regions.

Thousands of glaciers in the Himalayas supply water to ten major Asian rivers whose basins are home to 1.5 billion people from Pakistan to Myanmar, including parts of India and China.

Experts say global temperature increased by an average of 0.74 degrees Celsius (33.3 Fahrenheit) over the past 100 years.

ICIMOD says the impact of climate change was especially evident in the region with the largest concentration of snow and ice outside the two poles.

The photographs, on display since late last week, show a striking visual impression of how climate change and glacial melting were affecting the region.   Continued...

<p>A visitor looks at the Himalaya-Changing Landscapes Photo exhibition at Hanuman Dhoka durbar Square in Kathmandu December 4, 2008. REUTERS/Shruti Shrestha</p>