When it was put up at 5,300m at Chomolungma Base Camp in April, this was the highest-ever photo exhibition in the world. 'Changing Landscapes' examines, through dramatic before-and-after photographs, the impact of climate change on the Himalaya.
Organised by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) the exhibition has also toured Stockholm and Barcelona. The loss of ice cover and glacial retreat in the span of 50 years is so stark that it converts those still sceptical about the effects of global warming.
"Visitors to the exhibition were obviously shocked to see how rapidly these glaciers are melting," says ICIMOD's Nonna Lamponen. During the week-long outdoor exhibition at the Hanuman Dhoka temple complex at Kathmandu Durbar Square, mountain panoramas that were taken by a team of scientists in the 1950s will be displayed and compared to photographs taken in 2007.
Mountain geographer Alton Byers, who was part of that team, revisited many of the sites of the original photographs and took replicates that illustrate the changes in the landscape.
"Only 50 years have passed between the old and new photographs and the changes are dramatic," Byers told Nepali Times. Many small glaciers at low altitudes have disappeared entirely and many larger ones have lost around half of their volume. Some have formed huge glacial lakes at the foot of the glacier, threatening downstream communities.
The exhibition is part of ICIMOD's 25th anniversary celebrations, and will run from 2-8 December 2008. It is free of charge and will be open daily from 10AM to 5PM.
'Himalayan meltdown', #371
Climactic change - FROM ISSUE #427 (28 NOV 2008 - 04 DEC 2008)