Glacier monitoring in focus

KATHMANDU: A regional training at the initiatives of international organisations on the monitoring of glacier growth and retreat on the Yala glacier in Langtang, Nepal was held on April 27-May 15.

A press release on Monday said the programme reported the participation of 18 trainees from Nepal, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan. During the training, the participants were taught how to take measurements and calculate the total mass of a glacier.

Addressing the closing ceremony, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Ganesh Shah gave away certificates to the successful trainees. He also expressed his optimism that the training would help Nepal to establish a long term monitoring scheme on at least one glacier of the country.

Adarsha P Pokhrel, Chair of the Nepal National Committee for UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (IHP), said the Mera peak glacier in the Khumbu region has been identified as a benchmark glacier for Nepal, adding it was crucial that resources could be made available to secure a monitoring scheme for Nepal with a long term vision.

Dr Mats Eriksson, senior water specialist at ICIMOD, stressed that the ongoing debate on impact of climate change in the Himalayan glaciers and its repercussions of the downstream water availability should draw more concerted regional efforts to monitor the scheme of glaciers in the Hindu-Kush regions. Likewise, Professor Georg Kaser, International Association of Cryospheric Sciences expressed his concerns over the non-inclusion of the large amount of glaciers in the Himalayan region in the global data set on snow and ice, suggesting that measures should be taken towards it.

The training was jointly organised by UNESCO, ICIMOD, the Nepal National IHP Committee, the HKH-FRIEND group on snow and glaciers, and the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS).