Impacts of Glacier Recession and Declining Meltwater on Mountain Societies

AAAG special issue focused on mountains, with several Mtn Sentinels co-authors.

Glacierized mountains are often referred to as our world’s water towers because glaciers both store water over
time and regulate seasonal stream flow, releasing runoff during dry seasons when societies most need water. Ice
loss thus has the potential to affect human societies in diverse ways, including irrigation, agriculture, hydropower,
potable water, livelihoods, recreation, spirituality, and demography. Unfortunately, research focusing
on the human impacts of glacier runoff variability in mountain regions remains limited, and studies often rely
on assumptions rather than concrete evidence about the effects of shrinking glaciers on mountain hydrology
and societies. This article provides a systematic review of international research on human impacts of glacier
meltwater variability in mountain ranges worldwide, including the Andes, Alps, greater Himalayan region,
Cascades, and Alaska. It identifies four main areas of existing research: (1) socioeconomic impacts; (2) hydropower;
(3) agriculture, irrigation, and food security; and (4) cultural impacts…

Read the research.

By | 2017-03-10T14:40:15+00:00 March 10th, 2017|Categories: Hot off the Press, Hot off the Press Featured|

About the Author:

The Mountain Sentinels Collaborative Network is an international research coordination network (RCN) composed of transdisciplinary, globally-representative teams of mountain scientists and stakeholders, using socio-economic, political and biophysical observations and models to engage in knowledge co-creation and coordinated practice.