Mountain regions are characterized by sensitive ecosystems, enriched occurrences of extreme weather events and natural catastrophes; they are also regions of contradictory interests between economic development and environmental conservation. Once regarded as hostile and economically nonviable regions, mountains have in the latter part of the twentieth century attracted major economic investments for tourism, hydropower, and communication routes. In the context of climate change, necessary perturbations can be expected to natural systems and these will unavoidably have an influence on the economy of mountainous regions. Global change will probably aggravate the present conflictual situation between environmental and economic interests. Examples of systems in mountain areas which could be relevantly perturbed by adverse climate change, in particular, hypothesized global warming, are summarized here. specific attention is given to both the natural environment and socioeconomic factors.
Climate Change Impact on Mountain Ecology
Impacts on Hydrology
Since mountains are the source region for over 50% of the earth’s rivers, the impacts of climatic change on hydrology are likely to have major repercussions, not only in the mountains themselves but also in populated plain regions that depend on mountain water resources for domestic, agricultural, and industrial uses. Hydrological systems are regulated by soil moisture, which also largely defines the distribution of ecosystems, groundwater recharge, and runoff; the last two factors sustain river flow and can lead to floods. These controls are themselves regulated by climate, and hence any change in temperature and precipitation will have significant effects on water. augmented temperatures will lead to higher level of evaporation, a greater proportion of liquid precipitation compared to solid precipitation; these physical mechanisms, linked with potential changes in precipitation amount and seasonality, will affect soil moisture, groundwater reserves, and the rate of flood or drought episodes.
Impact on Mountain Sleet
Changes in the mountain cryosphere will have several indirect outcomes. In terms of water supply, changes in seasonal snowpack and glacier melt will affect discharge rates and timing in rivers that originate in mountains. In terms of tourism, the negative impacts of the mountain global warming in winter, and the perception of landscape changes in the absence of glaciers and snow may discourage tourists from coming to certain mountain regions Himachal tourism is known to be the most affected by the adverse climatic change. In most temperate mountain regions, the snowpack is near its melting point, so it is very sensitive to changes in temperature. As warming increases in the future, the current regions of snow precipitation will increasingly experience precipitation in the form of rain. For every degree Celsius rise in temperature, the snowline grows by about 150 m; as a result, less snow will aggregate at low elevations than today, while there could be greater snow accumulation above the freezing level because of the boost in precipitation in some regions. Change in snowpack duration and amount as a result of sustained changes in climate will be necessary for water availability for hydrological basins.
Now, the time has come. The government of Himachal Pradesh should form a strong and serious environmental policy. It should have to be over & above politics.
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