Earth’s high mountain areas are so significant in terms of climate change impacts that last fall the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
Around the world, high mountain areas are places that hold much of Earth’s cryosphere, as the frozen parts of the planet are known, including snow, glaciers, permafrost and lake ice and river ice.
These high mountain areas are also where widespread changes are taking place in response to the planet’s warming temperatures. Declining snowpacks and shifts in the amount and timing of snowmelt runoff are just some of the changes happening in these areas.
The effects aren’t limited to the mountains, but have impacts on physical, biological and human systems in the lowlands downstream.
That includes the Canadian Rockies, foothills and prairies.