Perception of climate change from the Himalayan ‘cold desert’ Ladakh, India


  • Sheikh Nawaz Ali Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences
  • Rupendra Singh CPS, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-110067, India
  • P. Morthekai Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53, University Road, Lucknow-226007, India
  • Anupam Sharma Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53, University Road, Lucknow-226007, India
  • Binita Phartiyal Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53, University Road, Lucknow-226007, India
  • M. Firoze Quamar Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53, University Road, Lucknow-226007, India
  • Rajesh Kumar Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth Sciences, Central University of Rajasthan, N.H‑ 8, Bandarsindri, Ajmer, 385817 India
  • Prachita Arora Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53, University Road, Lucknow-226007, India



People’s perception, War tourism, Climate warming, Mitigation, Ladakh Himalaya


Climate change perception survey is a method designed to gain insights on people’s perspectives of the changing climate and recognizing important factors, complexities, and limitations towards a climate-conscious conduct. Such surveys are particularly important in ecologically sensitive transitional climatic zones but logistically difficult terrains, where meteorological data is scarce and minor changes in climatic parameters can have unanticipated consequences for the local ecosystem. The current research is focused on one of such climate-sensitive areas, in the northwestern Himalaya. A binary question-based survey (interview) was conducted in the high-altitude, cold desert region – Ladakh, which covered all the five subdivisions of the union territory. According to the climate perception data, the majority of respondents are aware of climate change or global warming regardless of age, gender, and background. The exponential growth in tourist inflow over the last two decades (attributed to ‘war tourism’) equates with the increasing number of vehicles and is well perceived by the locals. Approximately 86 percent of respondents believe that humans have had a negative impact on the environment. They appear to be quite optimistic about curbing the effects of climate change, with approximately 91 percent willing to participate in mitigation efforts. The results of this study show an overall agreement between people’s perceptions of climate change and the scientific evidence of these changes. These findings are eventually intended to serve as an important parameter in developing adaptation and mitigation strategies in this ecologically sensitive and vulnerable region.


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How to Cite

Ali, S. N., Singh, R., Morthekai, P., Sharma, A., Phartiyal, B., Quamar, M. F., Kumar, R., & Arora, P. (2022). Perception of climate change from the Himalayan ‘cold desert’ Ladakh, India. Journal of Palaeosciences, 71(1), 89–111.



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