Baltoroko elur-maluta proiektua – BALELUR – The effects of climate change on the K2 Area
Mountains are among the ecosystems most affected by climate change. Still, there are many gaps in our understanding of climate change impacts on nature and human well-being, especially in the remote and vulnerable mountain regions. Climate change in mountain regions is diverse, and often extreme. Adaptation capacity of these communities is often low due to multiple barriers including lack of resources, limited education, and high exposure to natural hazards. At the same time, mountain tourism is becoming a challenge for these areas including new problems related to garbage disposal and threatening the cultural identity of communities.
The project has two objectives:
- To determine the recent climate changes occurring in the glaciers and the higher peaks of the Karakoram, including an estimate of the human (“anthropogenic”) contribution to such changes. Track the presence of black carbon and other aerosols transported to the region from afar, as well as estimate recent precipitation history through water isotopes.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of various climate change communication strategies used on social media platforms.
This project is a joint research project between Objective 1 (Climate) and Objective 4 (Adaptation). It is an opportunity to join climate science and social science in order to better understand (i) how the Karakoram climate is evolving, (ii) how the Baltoro Glacier is reacting to recent climate change, and (iii) how remote mountain communities are impacted by climate hazards and adapt to climate risks.
The project will integrate with a winter alpinism expedition (Winter Top Appeal) to the Karakoram, in the remote valley of the Braldu River in the Skardu district, Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It will cover the Baltoro Glacier and the K2, the most emblematic peak of the region. This joint expedition of science and alpinism provides a unique opportunity to access remote areas during winter, which would be hardly accessible by researchers without the collaboration with skilled mountaineers.
Start date: 1 September 2018 End Date: 30 June 2019
Partners in BALELUR:
- Alex Txikon and his team
- National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), Tokyo, Japan (Prof. Kumiko Goto-Azuma, Dr. Motohiro Hirabayashi, Dr. Yoshimi Ogawa-Tsukagawa)
- University of Baltistan, Pakistan (Prof. Muhammad Naeem Khan, Prof. Zakir Hussain)
- University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU (Ibai Rico, Prof. Iñaki Antigüedad, Dr. Ane Zabaleta)
- BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3)
Key people involved in BC3: