Norway and ICIMOD to measure impacts of climate change on snow and ice in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas

02 Dec 2010



Norway and ICIMOD will cooperate to understand the impact of climate change on the melting of snow and ice in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas. The Norwegian Government will provide up to 35 million Norwegian Kroner (around US$ 5.5 million) over five years.


The Norwegian Ambassador HE Mr. Thor Gislesen and the Director General of ICIMOD Dr Andreas Schild signed 30 November an agreement relating to cooperation between Norway and ICIMOD on the impact of climate change on the melting of snow and ice in the Himalayas.

The project, which will be implemented by ICIMOD, will monitor and assess changes in glaciers, snowfields, and glacio-hydrology in Nepal and develop a network and knowledge hub for regional cooperation and information exchange on glacier-related information in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas. The project will strengthen the capacity of Nepalese organisations. There will also be cooperation with Norwegian institutions which have long experience in this field.

Very few glaciers have been monitored in the Himalayas, but without this scientific information it is not possible to predict the possible impacts of climate change with any certainty. We also need a much better understanding of the amount of water contributed to rivers in the dry season by glacier and snow melt, to discover how likely it is that rivers will have less (or more) water. This is vitally important for the 210 million people in the region and the 1.3 billion people served by the rivers downstream.

The project will train partners in Nepal to carry out measurements of glacier mass (field-based glacier mass balance surveys) and help them establish a long-term glacier mass balance monitoring programme. Mass balance monitoring is the only way to discover how much ice is stored in glaciers and the rate at which this amount is changing. The network of national partners will focus on regional cooperation across the high mountain countries of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, in order to develop a coordinated approach for long-term monitoring of the cryosphere using satellite images (‘remote sensing’). The project will also create a regional knowledge hub that will act as a clearing-house for standardised data, information, and knowledge resources related to the cryosphere -- glaciers, snow, ice – that can be used across the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. ICIMOD and its partners will establish a glaciological and hydrological observation network in selected river basins to improve understanding of the contribution of water from melting snow and glaciers in the river system. 

For further information contact:

Ms Nira Gurung
Communications Officer