Mongolian Herders See Changes as Temperatures Rise

BY Lauren Knapp  July 25, 2011 at 1:35 PM EDT

The East Asian nation of Mongolia is home to about 3 million people, half of whom make their living off of livestock.

Since 1960, Mongolia’s average temperature has increased by 3.85 degrees Fahrenheit — a change faster than the global average. The uptick has had an impact on herders living close to the land.

Science and environment journalist Daniel Grossman, who has filed pieces for the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and NPR among others, recently returned from a trip to two regions of Mongolia. He followed American researcher Clyde Goulden in the northern region of the country near the large Lake Hovsgol.


For the past 15 years, Goulden has been talking to herders who have been noticing changes in rain and wind patterns. He’s working on a survey of herders in the region who have been complaining of increased winds and changes in rain patterns that are detrimental to the growth of the grasses that feed their herds.

Grossman also traveled to Mongolia’s south, where the Gobi Desert offers a very different kind of climate. There, he followed a pair of biologists who are hoping to mitigate the sandstorms that plague the area. The Mongolian and Korean team began planting rows of trees in the desert to help keep soil in place and block the wind from blowing sand.

His reporting is available at the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting website.

Follow Hari on Twitter.

Editors Note: An earlier version of this story reported a 4.1 degree change in temperature. That has been updated to a change of 3.85 degrees Ferenheit.