Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Wednesday 8 July - 14:30-16:00 UNESCO Bonvin - ROOM XIV

2211 - Climate change in mountains: from impacts to resilience

Parallel Session

Chair(s): M. Beniston (University of Geneva, CAROUGE / GENEVA, Switzerland)

Convener(s): C. Tucker (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, United States of America), G. Grandjean (BRGM, Orleans, France), J. Klein (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America)

Impacts on society and economy of a changing climate and climate-generated hazards on mountain water resources

H. Mario (Future Earth Engagement Committee, Geneva, Switzerland), D. Ojima (Colorado State University and Future Earth US Hub, Fort Collins, United States of America)

Abstract details
Impacts on society and economy of a changing climate and climate-generated hazards on mountain water resources

M. Beniston (1) ; C. Tucker (2) ; G. Grandjean (3)
(1) University of Geneva, Institute for Environmental Sciences, CAROUGE / GENEVA, Switzerland; (2) Indiana University, Anthropology, Bloomington, IN, United States of America; (3) BRGM, Risk and Prevention, Orleans, France

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Mountains represent significant features covering nearly one-quarter of the world’s terrestrial surface. Mountains support a range of socioeconomic sectors (e.g., tourism, forest production, ecosystem resources) that have experienced considerable change in the last two centuries, resulting from pressures on natural resources and traditions imposed by increasingly-industrialized societies. Development trajectories of these high-value environments vary considerably across the globe, but certain mountain regions have been extensively transformed, converting them from inaccessible and relatively poor hinterlands into attractive destinations for the wealthy, sometimes excluding longtime inhabitants from economic benefits. In certain cases, outmigration and an aging population have led to economic declines in agro-pastoral and forestry production. Across the world, such transformative processes in mountain social-ecological systems have been accompanied by profound social, institutional, and environmental changes. As a major supplier of resources, mountains collectively represent in particular the source region for more than 60% of surface waters. A significant fraction of world’s population in lowland regions depends on mountain water resources for agriculture, industry, energy, and domestic water supply.

 

Rapid climate change occurring in mountains carries broad implications, given that such regions have long been a source of valued ecosystem services and natural resources. For example, future shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns, and changes in the behavior of snow and ice in many mountains may ultimately change the quantity, seasonality, and possibly also the quality of water originating in mountains and uplands. Natural processes controlled by hydro-meteorological triggers (e.g. floods, landslides, debris-flows, earthflows and rockfalls, glacier melt, river erosion) will in a future climate add further environmental pressures on both social and natural systems, thereby highlighting the need to promptly conduct proactive adaptation plans.

 

The challenge for both mountain societies and those located downstream but dependent on mountain water resources in particular is thus to estimate as accurately as possible future changes in water availability. This will help to prepare the way for appropriate adaptation strategies and improved water governance. Enhanced awareness and appropriate policies aimed at alleviating the more adverse climate impacts would help indigenous populations to better adapt to rapid change, and for water-dependent economic sectors to pursue their activities with lower risks of economic rivalries or conflicts.

Challenges and Possibilities for Sustainability in Mountain Social-Ecological Systems: Results from a Global Analysis

J. Klein (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, United States of America), A. Nolin (Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States of America), C. Tucker (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, United States of America), K. Hopping, (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, United States of America), A. Grêt-Regamey (ETH, Zurich, Switzerland), S. Lavorel (CNRS, Grenoble, France), B. Müller (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany), P. Bourgeron, (University of Colorado, Boulder, United States of America), V. Bustic (University of California, Berkely, United States of America), E. Castellanos (Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala)

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Challenges and Possibilities for Sustainability in Mountain Social-Ecological Systems: Results from a Global Analysis

J. Klein (1) ; A. Nolin (2) ; C. Tucker (3) ; K. Hopping, (1) ; A. Grêt-Regamey (4) ; S. Lavorel (5) ; B. Müller (6) ; P. Bourgeron, (7) ; V. Bustic (8) ; E. Castellanos (9)
(1) Colorado State University, Fort Collins, United States of America; (2) Oregon State University, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Corvallis, OR, United States of America; (3) Indiana University, Anthropology, Bloomington, IN, United States of America; (4) ETH, Zurich, Switzerland; (5) CNRS, Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, Grenoble, France; (6) Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany; (7) University of Colorado, Boulder, United States of America; (8) University of California, Berkely, United States of America; (9) Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Centro de Estudios Ambientales y de Biodiversidad, Guatemala, Guatemala

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Mountain regions provide critical hydrological and diverse ecosystem services to over half the planet’s human population, most of whom live in the lowlands. At the same time, mountain systems face mounting pressures from climate, policy and economic change.  Based on 48 mountain case studies from around the world, we describe the suite of characteristics and incongruities that create particular challenges for mountain sustainability, and also present a conceptual model of mountain social-ecological systems (MtSES) that highlights the broad processes driving mountain system dynamics and their ecosystem services from local to global scales.  We focus our analyses across all of the mountain case studies, between subsistence and non-subsistence based mountain regions, and among land use groups that are dominated by tourism, pastoralism and crop agriculture.  We then explore the use of coupled models explaining social behavior, policy and management, and economics with models simulating biophysical processes as a potential tool for identifying sustainable trajectories in mountains, particularly when used within a transdisciplinary framework.  We present an analysis of existing coupled social-ecological models in mountains and examine how these models are currently employed to address critical mountain sustainability issues. 

Our analyses reveal patterns in mountain characteristics, livelihood strategies and associated challenges for sustainability.  Mountains are geographically and culturally complex systems that deliver ecosystem services from local to global scales and are prone to hazards and extreme events.  Particularly among the subsistence-based sites, mountains continue to be physically remote and distant from centers of power and decision-making.  These features, combined with high representation of indigenous peoples and cultures, result in social, economic and political isolation and marginalization.  Stemming from the dynamic and non-linear interactions of the mountain characteristics are mountain-specific problems that are multidimensional, often lacking clear definition and optimal solutions, so-called “wicked problems”, which we identify as incongruities.  The most ubiquitous incongruity across all of our mountain case studies is that ‘policies affecting mountain systems are made by outsiders’, a phenomenon that results in perverse policies and present barriers to climate change coping mechanisms and adaptations.

Climate change, extreme weather events, markets, policy, and land use change are key drivers across all case study sites, while phenomena such as land tenure change, resource extraction, and land cover change are more important within subsistence-based mountain sites. We explore the primary scales at which these drivers occur and how they interact with mountain land use and livelihood groups, and with the delivery of mountain ecosystem services across scales.

Based on our analysis of social-ecological modeling studies in mountains, we suggest that a coupled model involving multiple levels of participation, such as local resource users and policymakers, could be a powerful tool for engaging stakeholders and decision-makers about future trajectories of MtSES.  We also conclude that while modeling efforts are currently focused on system understanding and prediction, there is great potential to also employ models that foster social learning and communication. 

We conclude by identifying knowledge gaps and challenges regarding mountain sustainability.  For a next step, we propose to use transdisciplinary modeling approaches in mountains, including co-creation of knowledge, participatory approaches, and coordinated practices, all of which are essential for sound decision-making and building resilient futures.

Facing climate change in the Peruvian Andes: implications of shifts in precipitation patterns, river discharge and the availability of water resources for local communities and options for adaptation

N. Andres (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland), P. Calanca (Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences (ISS), Zürich, Switzerland), N. Salzmann (University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland), V. Bustinza (Programa de Adaptación al Cambio Climático-PACC, MINAM-COSUDE-Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Cusco, Peru), C. Huggel (University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland), M. Rohrer (Meteodat GmbH, Zürich, Switzerland), R. Neukom (University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland)

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Facing climate change in the Peruvian Andes: implications of shifts in precipitation patterns, river discharge and the availability of water resources for local communities and options for adaptation

N. Andres (1) ; P. Calanca (2) ; N. Salzmann (3) ; V. Bustinza (4) ; C. Huggel (5) ; M. Rohrer (6) ; R. Neukom (5)
(1) Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements, Birmensdorf, Switzerland; (2) Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences (ISS), Department of natural resources and agriculture, Zürich, Switzerland; (3) University of Fribourg, Department of Geosciences, Fribourg, Switzerland; (4) Programa de Adaptación al Cambio Climático-PACC, MINAM-COSUDE-Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Cusco, Peru; (5) University of Zürich, Department of geography, Zürich, Switzerland; (6) Meteodat GmbH, Zürich, Switzerland

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Communities in the high Andes are considered among the most vulnerable to climate change for various reasons. For instance, they rely on an agriculture that is largely practiced at a subsistence level and exposed to droughts, frosts, late season warm spells, pests and diseases. Also human settlements are often endangered by floods and landslides, which have not only been the cause of damages to buildings and infrastructure but also responsible for numerous casualties in the recent past. In view of a possible decrease in seasonal precipitation amounts but a more frequent occurrence of intense rainfall events, this situation is likely to worsen in the future as a consequence of climate change. This calls for cross- and interdisciplinary programmes that can help improving the resilience of Andean communities.

In response to this call, the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment, in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) under the Global Programme Climate Change (GPCC), initiated in 2009 the “Programa de Adaptación al Cambio Climático en el Perú” (PACC), a programme that is now in its second phase. Involving practitioners and scientists from various disciplines, the specific goal is to build awareness, improve preparedness, and support and promote the process of adaptation. Its implementation includes the scientific assessment of climate impacts, vulnerabilities and risks, and the practical evaluation of adaptation options. This can be considered as a minimum framework to move from impacts to resilience.

With a focus on the implications of seasonal shifts in the precipitation regime for water availability and river discharge, in this contribution we present a few examples that illustrate the two steps involved in the implementation process. We first report on a modelling study of the impacts of climate change on the water resources in the Vilcanota river basin. The results indicate an increase in river runoff during the rainy season, but an overall decrease in water storage. The former is expected to lead to higher flood peaks, whereas the latter is expected to entail water shortage, in particular during the dry season. This is of concern because communities have already to face loss of glacier ice in the Cordillera Vilcanota, a process that is already changing the seasonality of water availability.

The second example is drawn from studies aiming at assessing the potential impacts of changes in temperature and precipitation on rainfed annual crops in the Central Andes of Peru. While in the near future not all crops would suffer from the projected decrease in water availability, it is shown that adaptation of the agricultural practices are necessary in the mid and long term to sustain production and improve the livelihood of the local population. Suggested adaptation measures include the adjustment of cropping calendars, the introduction of more robust crop varieties and alternative cropping systems and reconsideration of land use.

The third example shows how the rediscovery of low-cost, traditional technologies can contribute to improve the resilience of rural communities facing a decreasing availability of water resources. Specifically, we report on the outcomes of an effort to promote rustic micro-reservoirs called qochas. These were already used in ancient Peru but had largely fallen in disuse until recently. As a test, about 150 qochas were built between 2012 and 2013 in two small watersheds of the Peruvian Altiplano with the help of farmers and their families. Benefits from their establishment have included the recovery of downstream springs, the recovery of vegetation in the surroundings of the reservoirs and an overall easier access to water during the dry season.

 

 

Impact analysis of Climate Change on Glacier and Water Potentiality in High Altitude Region of Western Himalaya

M. Beniston (University of Geneva, CAROUGE / GENEVA, Switzerland), C. Tucker (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, United States of America), G. Grandjean (BRGM, Orleans, France)

Abstract details
Impact analysis of Climate Change on Glacier and Water Potentiality in High Altitude Region of Western Himalaya

BW. Pandey (1)
(1) University of Delhi, Department of Geography, Delhi, India

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Present research aims to investigate the issues concerning ecohydrology and potentiality of water in high mountain areas of Western Himalaya. Hindukush-Himalaya (HKH) region are the source of perennial rivers of South and East Asia which feed almost half of the world population. For the climate, people, economy and ecology, Hindukush-Himalaya region are known as “Human Equator” as drinking water for humans and animals; water for irrigation of food other agronomic practices; and, a very mountain-specific use: hydropower depend on water of the HKH Mountains. Increasing populations and economic transformations have exerted considerable pressure on land and water resources in Western Himalaya. Such changes have brought modifications in water flows, nutrients, sediments and pollutants as well as loss of biodiversity. Hence, the ecohydrological processes in headwater regions of western Himalaya, especially the role of natural processes, impact of human interference and climate change on the availability of water, highland-lowland interactive linkages, and sustainable use of water require attention for planning and conservation. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a better understanding of the vulnerability of the land-water system to human activities and climate change impacts in high mountain region of Western Himalaya. 

Past and future changes in seasonal snow in the French Alps : implications for water resources, mountain tourism and avalanche hazard

M. Déqué (Météo-France - CNRS, Toulouse, France), H. Castebrunet (INSA Lyon, Villeurbanne, France), Y. Durand, (Météo-France - CNRS, St Martin d'Heres, France), N. Eckert (Irstea, Grenoble, France), H. François (Irstea, Grenoble, France), E. George-Marcelpoil (Irstea, Grenoble, France), G. Giraud (Météo-France - CNRS, St Martin d'Heres, France), B. Hingray (LTHE, Grenoble, France), M. Lafaysse (Météo-France - CNRS, St Martin d'Heres, France), E. Martin (Météo France, Toulouse, France), S. Morin (Météo-France - CNRS, St Martin d'Heres, France), M. Rousselot (Météo-France - CNRS, St Martin d'Heres, France), P. Spandre (Météo-France - CNRS, St Martin d'Heres, France), D. Verfaillie (Météo-France - CNRS, St Martin d'Heres, France)

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Past and future changes in seasonal snow in the French Alps : implications for water resources, mountain tourism and avalanche hazard

M. Déqué (1) ; H. Castebrunet (2) ; Y. Durand, (3) ; N. Eckert (4) ; H. François (5) ; E. George-Marcelpoil (5) ; G. Giraud (3) ; B. Hingray (6) ; M. Lafaysse (3) ; E. Martin (7) ; S. Morin (3) ; M. Rousselot (3) ; P. Spandre (3) ; D. Verfaillie (3)
(1) Météo-France - CNRS, Cnrm-game, Toulouse, France; (2) INSA Lyon, Lgcie-deep, Villeurbanne, France; (3) Météo-France - CNRS, Cnrm-game/cen, St Martin d'Heres, France; (4) Irstea, Etna, Grenoble, France; (5) Irstea, Dtm, Grenoble, France; (6) LTHE, Grenoble, France; (7) Météo France, Cnrm-game, Toulouse, France

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Snow on the ground is a key environmental and socio-economic component of mountain regions. Storage of water in the form of snow during the winter period provides freshwater input to ecosystems, agriculture and human consumption. Natural hazards such as snow avalanches and snowmelt floods cause loss of lives and disruption of human activities. Snow plays a pivotal role for numerous socio-economic activities such as hydropower (electricity generation and industry) and winter tourism.

                                             

The French Alps have encountered significant changes of snow conditions over the past decades, which can be inferred at the massif scale using the dedicated meteorological analysis system SAFRAN feeding the detailed snowpack model Crocus. Superimposed over a large year-to-year variability, these changes are most pronounced in mid-altitude areas which are highly sensitive to the rain/snow partitioning of precipitation. Such an extensive reanalysis of meteorological and snow conditions has been further used to un-bias and downscale regional climate model projections spanning the XXIst century. The presentation will highlight key results at the scale of the entire French Alps obtained using CMIP3 projections and preliminary results using CMIP5/EUROCORDEX projections.

 

The interpretation of the numerical simulations spanning the observational era for the past decades and an ensemble of climate projections into the XXIst century not only addresses changes of snow conditions in terms of snow water equivalent, relevant for water resources, but also trends in the seasonality of discharge in selected catchments, avalanche hazard and resort-level snow viability. The latter is currently being developed accounting not only for meteorological drivers of snow on the ground but also socio-economic components of mountain tourism including snow management practices and the spatial organization of ski resorts. This approach seeks at contributing to an integrated representation of the impact of climate change in mountain areas thereby helping to quantitatively assess the resilience of these sensitive environmental and socio-economic systems.

Challenges and needs for interdisciplinary studies on mountain water resources: curent issues and perspectives

J.-P. Dedieu (CNRS, Grenoble, France), I. Zin (Grenoble INP, Grenoble, France), T. Condom (IRD, Grenoble, France), J.-E. Sicard (IRD, Grenoble, France), Y. Arnaud (IRD, Grenoble, France), A. Rabatel (UJF, Grenoble, France), D. Six (UJF, Grenoble, France), C. Obled (Lthe, Grenoble, France)

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Challenges and needs for interdisciplinary studies on mountain water resources: curent issues and perspectives

JP. Dedieu (1) ; I. Zin (2) ; T. Condom (3) ; JE. Sicard (3) ; Y. Arnaud (3) ; A. Rabatel (4) ; D. Six (4) ; C. Obled (5)
(1) CNRS, LTHE, Grenoble, France; (2) Grenoble INP, Lthe, Grenoble, France; (3) IRD, Lthe, Grenoble, France; (4) UJF, Lgge, Grenoble, France; (5) Lthe, Grenoble, France

Abstract content

Parallel Session:

Mountain Water Resource #2211

Lead Convenior: Martin BENISTON

 

Abstract

Hydro-meteorological observations coupled with snow and ice measurements are the basic material for a number of scientific and operational issues linked to socio-environmental needs. They are required for studies aiming at understanding and/or modeling climate-environment-society interactions along with their spatial and temporal variations. They constitute also the basic information for estimating hydrological resources and risks, real time operations or prospective studies for water management. The aim is to foresee adaptations strategies required by societies to face changes in resource and risks induced by ongoing global change. In mountainous areas, such observations are even more pronounced and variable than anywhere else, as hydro-meteorological events are more pronounced and variable than anywhere else. Major difficulties due to topographic constraints as elevation and slopes, added to strong local weather conditions, reduce the capabilities of long-term observation networks in regard of lowlands observing systems.

Supported by the Laboratory of Hydrology and Environment (LTHE) and the Laboratory of Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics (LGGE), Grenoble (France), we focus here on some “Hot-Spot” application areas which federate cross-disciplinary approaches over several thematic fields (hydrology, glaciology, natural hazards versus socio-ecological systems), linked to national Programs (ANR, local stakeholders) and long term Observatory Programs (e.g. Glacioclim, Great Ice/IRD). Specific examples of case studies will be presented: the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area in the Alps (Europe), the Koshi river basin in the Himalayas (Nepal), and the Zongo glacierized catchment in the Andes (Bolivia). The interest of such federative application areas is highlighted by various key hydrological issues, taken from the operational research or environmental monitoring domains. Measurement networks and observatories developed to meet the corresponding objectives are presented. Limits of observations, associated to the measurements themselves, spatial representativeness and temporal coverage are discussed. Some perspectives for improving current observations systems are finally suggested.

 

Key words: Water resource / Mountains / Global change / Cryosphere