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Global Warming Impacts

1.) Local climate change: Regional effects of global warming vary in nature. Some are the result of a generalised global change, such as rising temperature, resulting in local effects, such as melting ice. In other cases, a change may be related to a change in a particular ocean current or weather system. In such cases, the regional effect may be disproportionate and will not necessarily follow the global trend.

2.) Water crisis: Semi-arid and arid areas are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change on freshwater. With very high confidence, it was judged that many of these areas, e.g., the Mediterranean basin, western USA, southern Africa, and north-eastern Brazil, would suffer a decrease in water resources due to climate change.

3.)Spread of disease: As northern countries warm, disease carrying insects migrate north, bringing plague and disease with them. Indeed some scientists believe that in some countries thanks to global warming, malaria has not been fully eradicated.

4.)Sea level is rising: During the 20th century, sea level rose about 15 cm (6 inches) due to melting glacier ice and expansion of warmer seawater. Models predict that sea level may rise as much as 59 cm (23 inches) during the 21st Century, threatening coastal communities, wetlands, and coral reefs.

5.)Economic consequences: All these effects spell one thing for the countries of the world: economic consequences. Hurricanes causes do billions of dollars in damage, diseases cost money to treat and control and conflicts exacerbate all of these.

A Himalayan Village Builds Artificial Glaciers to Survive Global Warming

As glaciers disappear in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, one man is helping farmers irrigate their fields by storing water in an innovative way

The high-altitude desert of Leh in northern India falls in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, receiving as little precipitation as the Sahara. Farming is possible only in valleys fed by glacial runoff, and these are becoming scarcer as glaciers disappear due to warming. © Nick Pattinson

LEH, INDIA—In the high-altitude desert of the Indian trans-Himalayas, one man is buying time for villagers suffering from global warming by creating artificial glaciers.

The ancient kingdom of Ladakh is the highest inhabited region on Earth. Wedged between Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, Ladakh consists entirely of mountains and is home to a mostly Tantric Buddhist population.

In the so-called rain shadow of the Himalayas, Ladakh receives just five centimeters of rainwater a year—about the same as the Sahara Desert. The population is entirely dependent on glacier and snowmelt to irrigate crops.

Global warming has hit the region particularly hard. Around the principal town of Leh, most of the glaciers have disappeared in the past 15 years. The snow line has risen more than 150 meters, and remaining glaciers have retreated by as much as 10 kilometers. These glaciers are now at high altitudes, far from the villages, where they don’t produce significant meltwater until May or June.

The villagers here are particularly vulnerable because they experience such a brief summer. If they don’t plant their one annual crop of barley, peas or wheat by late March, there will be no time for it to mature to harvest before winter begins in September, after which the temperature drops below –30 degrees Celsius.

With villages emptying as people seek a living in Indian megacities, retired civil engineer Chewang Norphel has decided to do something about the worsening situation.

“Water is the most precious commodity here. People are fighting each other for it: in the irrigation season, even brother and sister or father and son are fighting over water. It is against our tradition and our Buddhist teachings, but people are desperate,” Norphel, a Ladakhi native, says. “Peace depends on water.”

From Scientific American

Sacred Himalayan sites bring together religious leaders, conservationists

A first-time workshop in Bhutan today is bringing together religious leaders, government officials and conservationists to discuss how to better protect sacred natural sites in the region.

The Sacred Himalayan Landscape extends from Langtang National Park in central Nepal through the Kangchenjunga region in Sikkim and Darjeeling in India to Toorsa Strict Nature Reserve in western Bhutan. © Simon de Trey White / WWF-UK

The workshop comes amid renewed interest from religious leaders worldwide in supporting conservation efforts.

For example, during the last two years Malaysia’s Muslim preachers have been enlisted in the fight for wildlife conservation, using passages from the Koran to raise awareness and help protect some of the world’s most endangered species.

Ahead of the climate talks in 2009, the Christian Orthodox Church’s most senior leader in September 2009 issued a statement urging world leaders to join him and his more than 200 million followers in pushing for a strong and fair climate deal.

In many countries, religion and culture have played a significant role in the preservation of not only cultural riches, but also forests, rivers and in some cases mountains in the form of “sacred natural sites” that are revered by the local communities as abodes of their local deities or gods.

These beliefs have directly or indirectly helped in preservation of nature, according to WWF. This kind of reverence is seen amply in Bhutan and in the region but a direct link to nature conservation from these beliefs has never been studied till now.

WWF and its Living Himalayas Initiative are organizing the workshop, called “Sacred Natural Sites, Biodiversity Conservation & Climate Change in the Eastern Himalayas” in Bhutan from 17-19 May.

“The workshop on Sacred Natural Sites, bio-cultural diversity, and climate change is a first step in the region to get a group of academics, religious leaders and practitioners, government agencies, and conservationists together to discuss the issues and start to take action” said Tariq Aziz, Leader Living Himalayas Initiative.

The overall aim of this workshop is to document the sacred natural sites in the Eastern Himalayan region (Bhutan, India & Nepal) and detail their importance to the conservation of the region’s bio-cultural diversity; to engage faith groups further in practical conservation; and to explore the increasing threats and adaptation needs of faith communities in the face of rapidly changing climatic conditions.

Officials from WWF’s Network, religious leaders, experts in the field of religion and culture and climate change and related government officials from the Eastern Himalayan region are attending this two day meeting.

“In the Himalayas – the whole place is sacred, but there are many more specific places that have an even more special status for the different traditions that are prominent here” said Liza Higgins Zogib, Manager, People and Conservation, WWF International.

Through this effort WWF hopes to gather the varying opinions of the participating groups and find a solution to better protect those sacred natural sites

From WWF

Solution to water problem through use of isotopes

THANJAVUR: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Trombay, is involved in solving the water problem in eight Himalayan sites using isotopes said K. Shivanna, Head, Isotope Hydrology Section, Isotope Application division, BARC, here on Monday.

Speaking at the national-level workshop on ‘Geomatic based natural resources disaster mitigation and Managements’ organised by the Department of Industries and Earth Sciences of Tamil University, Dr. Shivanna said that four of the eight sites were in Uttarkhand, two in Himachal Pradesh, one in Mizoram and one in Jammu and Kashmir. The project had been entrusted to BARC following its successful salvation of water problem in some Himalayan areas using isotopes. After the water recharging techniques were conducted in these places, nearly 19 water springs were actually yielding nine times more quantity of water than they were doing in the past.

BARC had been involved in using advanced isotope techniques in water resource development and water management. This technique was of much use and quick in solving water problems than conventional methods. “We can identify the source and origin of pollutants of water also using isotopes,” Dr. Shivanna said. M. Rajendran, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil University, called for living close with nature to avoid disasters. P. Raja, Deputy General Manager (Geology), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, R. Baskaran, Professor and Head, Department of Industries and Earth Sciences and G. Deivanayagam, Dean, Faculty of Sciences, Tamil University, also spoke.