Climatic Change

, Volume 126, Issue 1–2, pp 77–91

Adaptation to climate change in glaciated mountain regions


DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1215-z

Cite this article as:
McDowell, G., Stephenson, E. & Ford, J. Climatic Change (2014) 126: 77. doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1215-z


Understanding of the human dimensions of climate change (HDCC) in glaciated mountain regions is limited by a deficit in systematically collated information on where, to what stressors, by whom, at what scale, and with what effect adaptation is occurring. This paper presents a systematic literature review of the recent English language peer-reviewed scholarship on adaptation in glaciated mountain regions. 4050 potentially relevant articles were examined, with 36 included for full review. Results indicate that scholarly investigation into adaptation in glaciated mountains is presently limited to only 40 % of countries with alpine glaciation. Seventy-four discrete adaptation initiatives were identified, with most occurring in Peru (28 %), Nepal (22 %) and India (17 %). Many documented adaptations were initiated in response to intersecting stressors related to cryospheric change and socio-economic development; were autonomous and initiated in reaction to experienced climatic stimuli; and were carried out at the individual, family, or community scale. The study contributes to an emerging literature tracking on-the-ground adaptation processes and outcomes, and identifies a need to raise the profile of human adaptation in glaciated mountain regions within the HDCC scholarship. A research agenda for addressing key knowledge gaps and questions is developed, providing a framework for future investigation.

Supplementary material

10584_2014_1215_MOESM1_ESM.docx (169 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 169 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham McDowell
    • 1
  • Eleanor Stephenson
    • 1
  • James Ford
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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