Climate Change Threatens Asia’s Water Tower
Tibet is known as the “Water Tower of Asia,” providing water to about 2 billion people and supporting critical ecosystems in High Mountain Asia and the Tibetan Plateau, where many of the largest Asian river systems originate. This region is also one of the areas most vulnerable to the compounding effects of climate change and human activities. MSU researchers are identifying policy changes that need to happen now to prepare for the future impacts projected by climate models.
The rapid melting of glaciers and snowpack due to regional temperature increases has caused an unprecedented decline in water availability. This creates cascading impacts on water, food and energy security. The MSU researchers also have found that the warming of the northern Atlantic and Indian oceans is exacerbating these issues, threatening water security in the region and interfering with the delicate balance of water in the atmosphere and its transport.