Cryosphere team visits Mera Glacier


A team of scientists led by ICIMOD’s Patrick Wagnon visited Mera Glacier in the Hinku-Hunku valley of eastern Nepal in November 2013.

The visit was a bi-annual trip to assess the annual and seasonal glacier-wide mass balance using the glaciological method, and to install and maintain some meteorological stations to understand the processes that drive the melting or accumulation of this glacier.  

A documentary of the trip was made for a French television and will be available in mid-June 2014. The team stayed for 10 days on Mera Glacier, installing ablation stakes between 5,000 and 5,500m, performing accumulation measurements between 5,500 and 6,400m, sampling snow to assess the spatial variability of black carbon at the surface of the glacier, and collecting meteorological data. 

The outcomes of these exercises will help assess the glacier-wide annual mass balance of the glacier, evaluate the local meteorological conditions prevailing in this high-altitude environment, and understand the processes (melting, accumulation) controlling the inter-annual variability of the glacier mass and volume. 

Mera Glacier is a benchmark glacier of this region. It serves to validate surveys conducted from spade.

AWS on Naulek Glacier at 5360 m, on November 16, 2013 

Photo: Patrick Wagnon/ ICIMOD

AWS close to Mera East summit at 6352 m, on November 20, 2013 
Photo: Patrick Wagnon/ ICIMOD

AWS close to Mera East summit at 6352 m, on November 23, 2013

Photo: Patrick Wagnon/ICIMOD

For more information, contact Patrick Wagnon:, and read the paper whose link is provided below.


Wagnon P., C. Vincent, Y. Arnaud, E. Berthier, E. Vuillermoz, S. Gruber, M. Ménégoz, A. Gilbert, M. Dumont, J. M. Shea, D. Stumm and B. K. Pokhrel, Seasonal and annual mass balances of Mera and Pokalde glaciers (Nepal Himalaya) since 2007, The Cryosphere, 7, 1769-1786, doi:10.5194/tc-7-1769-2013, 2013. 

Paper available for download at: