KATHMANDU, May 16: The Himalayas, a biodiversity hotspot, is warming more rapidly than the rest of the globe, researchers associated with the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Bangalore based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) have found.
A new study report published in recent issue of the journal ‘PLoS One’ on Tuesday revealed that the average annual mean temperature during the 25 year period (1982-2006) has increased by 1.5°C with an average increase of 0.06°C, three times greater than the global average of temperature increase in the same time period.
The report, authored by Uttam Babu Shrestha, Shiva Gautam and Kamaljit Bawa, also reveals that the average annual precipitation during the same period has increased by 163mm or 6.52mm in the Himalayas.
Shrestha, the principal author of the paper and a PhD student at the Boston university and research associate at Harvard University said “Our study reaffirmed that Himalayas region is indeed experiencing rapid climate and associated changes in the various ecoregions."
He further added local people have been noticing changes in the growing patterns of plants and our study confirms such changes.” According to the study, the average start of the growing season seems to have advanced by 4.7 days in the Himalayas in the 25-year period from 1982 to 2006.
Bawa, a professor at the Boston university, said discussion about climate change in the Himalayas has mainly centered on glacial melting and stressed on the need to analyze temperature and precipitation patterns, two most critical parameters of climate. “Our study fulfills a critical knowledge gap”, he added.