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Climate change in the Himalayas: current state of knowledge

This World Bank policy research working paper reviews the literature on the potential biophysical and economic impacts of climate change in the Himalayas. The review was limited mostly to peer reviewed journal articles, with some documents published by national and international agencies also included. Caution was taken to ensure non-statistically significant or uncredible data was not included.

The study found there was strong evidence of warming occurring in the Himalayas, particularly in Nepal and China. In the Indian Himalayan region, monsoons were declining in the west and increasing in the east, whilst increased precipitation and streamflow is reported on the Tibetan plateau. Glaciers are mostly retreating across the region, with the exception of Karakorum. Most research indicates increasing temperatures and monsoon precipitation, together with decreasing winter precipitation. Finally, water shortages and increased disaster risk from glacial lake-bursts pose significant threats in the future.