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Snow and ice are major components of the hydrological cycle in many mountain regions of the world. As these elements of the cryosphere are very sensitive to temperature, it is expected that in a warming climate, many glaciers will decline sharply in size or even disappear. In addition, the snow season will be shorter, with snow melt earlier in the year and less volume of melt-water to feed rivers downstream. As a consequence, many rivers originating in currently-glaciated mountains will see major changes in the quantity, timing, and seasonality of runoff, with significant consequences for downstream water usage, e.g., agriculture, hydropower, tourism, and manufacturing. There is thus a crucial need to revise current water governance strategies in order to avoid conflicts of interest between various water-dependent economic actors.
Speaker: Prof. Martin Beniston (University of Geneva)