Researchers from the University of Exeter have discovered that increased plant growth around Mount Everest in the sub nival band between permanent snow and seasonal snow could cause drought in large parts of the Indian sub- continent and Asia.
The extension of plant growth due to global warming could cause the snow to melt more quickly, contributing to flooding, but ultimately lead to long periods of drought in the surrounding environment, unless widespread water conservation measures are put in place. However, Dr Karen Anderson, who led the study indicated that this was only one scenario the team discovered. Potentially plants could trap more snow, slowing down the spring melt or plants could cause the snow to melt at a different rate.
With over 1. 4 billion people relying on the snow melt for water and crop irrigation and with very little research on the sub nival zone, this report highlights how unprepared we are for climate change.