The HKH has been identified as one of the global hot spots for climate change. However, the simulation of the climatic conditions in the HKH still presents serious challenges to the research community, and state-of-the-art climate models struggle in reproducing the observed climate variability and trends. Moreover, collecting and validating hydro-meteorological data in such an extreme and diverse territory is extremely challenging. The intensity and features of future climate variations, and especially of its extremes, and their potential impacts in the region are still extremely uncertain. Eight countries share the territory of the HKH region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and China.
All these countries are experiencing fast-paced transformation at several levels and scales. Understanding the interaction between climatic and environmental change (changing temperature and precipitation patterns, changes in the hydrological regimes of water basins, and in the snow-cover dynamics, variation in the extent of glaciers, pollution), and other drivers of change such as globalization, economic integration and population dynamics (out-migration, rural-urban migration, and population growth) is highly important for planning a sustainable future in the region. Given the geopolitical and economical relevance of the region, these issues have global impacts.
In four main sessions, over 20 invited speakers coming from Europe, Asia and America contributed to building trans-disciplinary knowledge and collaborations among scholars working on climate change and its impacts in the HKH region, beyond disciplinary and national boundaries.
The first session focused on the climatic aspects at large of the region. The second session dealt with the environmental hazards and challenges related to land and water usage and to pollution. The third sessions delved into various social aspects of environmental pressure in the region, and in particular regarding migration and gender issues. The fourth session concluded the workshop with contributions dealing with governance-related aspects, including experiences from the World Bank and examples of water protocols in China. A round-table discussion with representatives of business, consulting, research, and governmental sectors provided an overview of the future perspectives and strategic relevance of the topics touched upon during the workshop.
The knowledge and the experiences shared during the workshop shall contribute to a better understanding of vulnerabilities and to a holistic view on the environmental and climatic challenges that shall feed into future research design and inform stakeholders and policy-makers. The newly formed research group agreed on a follow-up workshop to be held in the HKH region likely in fall 2014, on preparing a special issue of the EGU journal Earth System Dynamics, and on preparing joint research projects in the context of the new EU programme Horizon 2020.
More information: hkh-klimacampus.de