Hind Kush Himalayan Region

Context :

  • To better gauge the impact of climate change on the Hindu Kush mountains, which includes the Himalayas, and spruce up data-gathering, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) will collaborate with meteorological agencies in China and Pakistan, among others, to provide climate forecast services to countries in the region.

About Hindu-Kush Himalayan Region

  • The Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region is considered the Third Pole [after the North and South Poles], and has significant implications for climate.
  • This region is the source of the 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, power and drinking water for over 1.3 billion people in Asia – nearly 20% of the world’s population.
  • The HKH region spans Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It traverses about 5 million square kilometres and hosts a large and culturally diverse population.
  • The HKH region includes mountain ranges of the Tien Shan, Kun Lun, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Himalayas, and Hengduan and the high-altitude Tibetan Plateau which produce one of the world’s largest renewable supplies of freshwater.
  • It supports 120 million people directly through irrigation systems, and a total of 1.3 billion indirectly through river basins in India, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
  • The Third Pole, which contains vast cryospheric zones, is also the world’s largest store of snow and ice outside the polar region.
  • A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last month highlighted the threat to the HKH region from global warming. Floods would become more frequent and severe in the mountainous and downstream areas of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins, because of an increase in extreme precipitation events. The severity of floods was expected to more than double towards the end of the century, it said.

Key Issues

  • The HKH region is geologically fragile, with young and rising mountains that are vulnerable to erosion and landslides, even without human interference.
  • The region is undergoing rapid change, driven by forces such as climate change, disasters, economic growth, globalization, infrastructure development, land use change, migration, and urbanization.
  • Changes in the area have had and will continue to have major consequences not only for people living in the region but globally.

Source: Indian Express