Mountain Zone

The Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau (HTP) region is of great importance to the global climate system, and is the source of water for millions of people living in High Asia and downstream catchment areas. Measurements have revealed that temperatures have been increasing in the Himalayas, with accelerated warming in more recent years, particularly at high elevations. Atmospheric warming is leading to large-scale environmental changes in some areas – examples include the so-called glacial lake outburst flooding and the collapse of a permafrost moraine bridge. The high mountains of the Himalayas are tectonically unstable, ecologically sensitive, and economically under-developed. They also represent the most densely populated mountain ecosystems on the planet. Economic development such as rapid urbanization and increased energy utilization is already leading to widespread and long-term environmental change.  The main scientific questions are described as follows:

  1. What are the drivers and impacts of global environmental change on the fragile natural and human systems of mountain zones of monsoon Asia?
  2. What are the impacts of climate change on water resources as a whole and in particular the contribution of glaciers and snow to river runoff?
  3. How sustainable are subsistence and intensive agricultural systems in the mountain regions that experience changing climate?

College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering Peking University
No.5 Yiheyuan Road Haidian District Beijing, P.R.China 100871