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International climate scientists met at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal this month (April) to discuss the dearth of data on glacial retreat in the Himalayas.

Glacial retreat affects the availability of water to people in neighbouring countries, and can have significant impacts on agriculture and the environment, not least in the risk of glacial lakes flooding and destroying homes.

The lack of data has been worsened by hostility between ICIMOD's member countries — including India and Pakistan — who are reluctant to share data.

The workshop is the result of a four-year effort to coordinate research among the countries' scientists, however its long-term effect on data collection and coordination remains to be seen.

But Michael Bishop, a physical geographer at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, who helped organise the workshop said, "For the first time I see Pakistanis and Indians really talking … recognising the scientific successes of the other country."

Link to full article in Nature