The Department of Geography recently published the following new publications:
NÜSSER, M., SCHMIDT, S. (2021): Megaprojekte zur Transformation fluvialer Systeme im Himalaya. Geographische Rundschau 73 (4): 18–21.
Der Himalaya und angrenzende Hochgebirgsregionen gelten als kontinentale Wassertürme für die umgebenden Tiefländer Süd- und Zentralasiens. Der Wasserhaushalt wird neben den Veränderungen der Kryosphäre im Zuge des Klimawandels auch durch massive wasserbauliche Eingriffe zur Energieerzeugung beeinflusst. Abgesehen von den weitreichenden ökologischen und sozialen Folgen dieser Hydro-Infrastrukturen werden zwischenstaatliche Wasserverteilungskonflikte immer deutlicher.
NÜSSER, M., SCHMIDT, S. (2021): Glacier Changes on the Nanga Parbat 1856-2020: A multi-source retrospective analysis. Science of the Total Environment, 147321.
Link to publication: doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147321
Contemporary changes in the Himalayan cryosphere are an important concern in the global climate change debate. In this context, the glaciers of the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) deserve special attention because of their importance for freshwater supply in the mountain valleys and the adjoining lowlands. However, detailed long-term glacier monitoring studies are rare due to the lack of historical data with adequate spatial and temporal resolution. In the case of Nanga Parbat, the ample availability of historical maps and terrestrial photographs together with satellite imagery and digital elevation models make it possible to analyse and quantify glacier changes for the period between 1856 and 2020. Using diverse multi-temporal datasets, this study reveals slight changes in ice-covered area for 63 glaciers, which decreased by 7% between 1934 and 2019. A detailed analysis of five glaciers in the Rupal Valley over the period 1856–2020 identifies diverse response patterns and highlights the importance of ice and snow avalanches, surge-type instabilities and site-specific topographic particularities for individual glacier changes. The results show high similarity with the stable glacier mass in the Karakoram. This study demonstrates the advantages of combining multiple sources and types of data in order to achieve consilience and offer robust insights.
PETERSEN, M., BERGMANN, C., RODEN, P., NÜSSER, M., (2021): Contextualizing Land-Use and Land-Cover Change with Local Knowledge: A Case Study from Pokot Central, Kenya. Land Degradation and Development
Link to publication: doi:10.1002/ldr.3961
Link to website: https://www.sai.uni-heidelberg.de/geo/forschung/charcoaldfg.php
Rural communities in the drylands of sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA) derive their livelihoods primarily from their natural resource base. Unprecedented changes in these environments over the past few decades are likely to intensify in the future and land users need to develop sustainable adaptation strategies. This study aims to identify land‐use and land‐cover (LULC) changes and their drivers in a sub‐Saharan dryland, between 1986 and 2017, by integrating local knowledge and remote sensing. Local knowledge and environmental perception are used as the basis for defining LULC classes and for training and validation of change detection. This study detects significant LULC changes in 41 % of the investigated area, and identifies bush encroachment into former pastures as the dominant LULC change with an increase of woodland by 39 % and a decrease of grassland by 74 %. This process is perceived as severe degradation by local respondents and is linked to changing management regimes and unreliable rainfall patterns. Deforestation and woodland thinning account for 44 % of the detected changes, and can be traced back to increased habitation and farming, although the local community also identifies charcoal production as a driving factor. The integration of remote sensing and local knowledge provides a holistic view on LULC change in Pokot Central, Kenya, and offers a solid base for site‐specific and actor‐centred management approaches necessary for sustainable pathways of drylands. Our results emphasise the need to include local actors in the development of adaptation strategies and management guidelines for drylands.
BROMBIERSTÄUDL, D., SCHMIDT, S., NÜSSER, M. (2021): Distribution and relevance of aufeis (icing) in the Upper Indus Basin. In: Science of The Total Environment 780.
Link to publication: doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146604
Link to website: https://www.sai.uni-heidelberg.de/geo/forschung/aufeisdfg.php
In the semi-arid high mountains of the Upper Indus Basin (UIB), meltwater supply from the cryosphere is vital for irrigated agriculture and hydropower generation. An overlooked cryosphere component that is critical for this is aufeis, which appears as a sheet-like formation of ice layers, created by successive and laminated freezing of flowing water. This study aims to redress the lack of knowledge about this phenomenon by creating an inventory of aufeis fields for the UIB and analysing their spatial distribution, including the role of topographical parameters such as altitude, slope, and aspect. The study is based on a time-series analysis using Landsat imagery from 2010 to 2020, supported and validated by several field campaigns carried out between 2014 and 2020. In total, more than 3700 aufeis fields were detected covering an area of about 298 ± 38 km2. The spatial distribution of their occurrence indicates a distinct elevation range between 4000 and 5500 m a.s.l. and is marked by a pronounced longitudinal increase to the east. In contrast to the western part of the UIB (Gilgit-Baltistan), where only some few and small aufeis fields can be detected, 65% of the aufeis covered areas (195 ± 23 km2) exist on the Tibetan Plateau. Our database fills an important research gap and will help in further cryosphere studies in the UIB and beyond.
The book “British India, White Australia. University of New South Wales Press” by Prof. Kama Maclean (Head of Department of History) was nominated for the Ernest Scott Prize for History 2021. The Ernest Scott Prize for History is awarded annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation published in the previous year. This prize is supported by the history program in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Further information is available here.
The department of History will start its Summer Colloquium about the Sonic Turn in South Asian histories, drawing on recent and emerging international research on cinema, oration, song, and radio (Poster). The series will start on 20.04.2021 and be held on Zoom, 4:15 pm (CET). Please register your interest before each session with Lizeth Ortiz-Carreño at email@example.com to get the passcode and link.
Dr. Himanshu Jha will be participating in a panel discussion on the Right to Information (RTI) and democracy in “Lets Talk Policy” series organized by the Kautilya School of Public Policy on 29th April. He will be joined by Ms. Anjali Bhardwaj- a well known RTI activist and Dr.Jaya Prakash Narayana , the founder of Lok Satta Party. The discussion will be moderated by Nidhi Razdan, Faculty , Kautilya uni and former executive editor of NDTV. Click here to attend- https://kautilya.org.in/events/29-april-lets-talk-policy/