Global News

Much of a centuries-old debate over where and how new bird species form has now been resolved. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have provided evidence that birds in mountainous areas – where the vast majority of the planet’s species live – have left lowland habitats for higher and higher mountain elevations throughout their evolution. Millions of years of climatic fluctuations have contributed to pushing bird species upslope – as is probably happening now. 

One of the fundamental questions in biology, and a centuries-old academic debate, is: How do new species form? And, how do species end up on mountain tops several kilometers high? Indeed, 85% of the world's vertebrates – birds included – live in mountainous areas where lowland habitats isolate animal species and populations from one another.

New research, led by Dr Petra Holden from the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), has shown how catchment restoration - through the management of alien tree infestation in the mountains of the southwestern Cape - could have lessened the impact of climate change on low river flows during the Cape Town 'Day Zero' drought.

Climate change is impacting extreme weather events such as droughts and floods. Nature-based solutions, such as catchment restoration, involve working with ecosystems and landscapes to address societal challenges. These challenges include the impacts of climate change on water resources. Up to now, studies have not separated the role of nature-based solutions in reducing the human-driven climate change impacts of extreme events on water availability from that of natural climate variability.

Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption. Safeguarding and strengthening nature is key to securing a liveable future, latest IPCC report says.

Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks. People and ecosystems least able to cope are being hardest hit, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released today.

Satellite images could offer a new way to monitor for avalanche threats to remote mountain communities, according to University of Aberdeen scientists studying deadly Himalayan avalanche.

The team from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Geosciences used satellite imaging to study the movements of two avalanche events, in 2016 and 2021, that happened in the same Himalayan valley. The most severe of these, which struck a high-mountain township in India’s Chamoli district on February 7 last year, caused a flash flood that killed more than 200 people and destroyed key infrastructure.

Melting and sublimation on Mount Everest's highest glacier due to human-induced climate change have reached the point that several decades of accumulation are being lost annually now that ice has been exposed, according to a University of Maine-led international research team that analyzed data from the world's highest ice core and highest automatic weather stations.

The extreme sensitivity of the high-altitude Himalayan ice masses in rapid retreat forewarns of quickly emerging impacts that could range from increased incidence of avalanches and decreased capacity of the glacier stored water on which more than 1 billion people depend to provide melt for drinking water and irrigation.

The UN General Assembly has designated 2022 the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. All governments, international organizations, and stakeholders are invited to observe the International Year to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable mountain development and the conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems.

Through this resolution, UN Member States acknowledge that mountain regions, especially in developing countries, are experiencing increasing poverty, food insecurity, social exclusion, environmental degradation and exposure to the risk of disasters, and access to basic services is limited. These include safe and affordable drinking water, basic sanitation, and sustainable modern energy services.

The Solution-Oriented Research for Development programme supports transdisciplinary research in collaboration with developing countries. It will run from 2022 to 2026.

Achieving the sustainable development goals set out in the 2030 Agenda requires new ways of thinking, innovative social practices, and adapted technologies. As part of the UN's Decade of Action, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) renewed their partnership for a further ten years in 2021. Central to this alliance is the launch of the new research programme Solution-Oriented Research for Development (SOR4D). Focusing on transdisciplinary research and the needs of development actors, it will aim to generate solutions, innovations, and improved knowledge to foster sustainable development and reduce poverty in the least developed and low- and middle-income countries.

The accelerating melting of the Himalayan glaciers threatens the water supply of millions of people in Asia, new research warns.

The study, led by the University of Leeds, concludes that over recent decades the Himalayan glaciers have lost ice ten times more quickly over the last few decades than on average since the last major glacier expansion 400-700 years ago, a period known as the Little Ice Age.

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