ICIMOD releases data on glaciers and river basins of the Hindu Kush Himalayas

16 May 2014, Kathmandu, Nepal


The Second International Conference on ‘Cryosphere of the Hindu Kush Himalayas: State of Knowledge’ was organized by ICIMOD with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the United States Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal from 13--15 May 2014. The conference brought together national, regional and international institutions on a common platform for sharing knowledge of the cryosphere, including on topics related to snow, glaciers, permafrost, glacio-hydrological monitoring, and mass balance.

More than 140 experts, researchers, scientists, academics and professionals from around the world attended the event. The conference helped promote knowledge sharing and strengthened the cryospheric network for monitoring and understanding the cryosphere of the HKH region. Forty research papers were discussed during the event, covering topics such as a) glacier mass balance measurements (b) satellite-based mapping of snow, ice and permafrost extent in the HKH region c) glacio-hydrological measurements, and d) knowledge and modeling in the region. An hour was devoted to presentation of posters on these topics. 

Another notable feature of the event was the launch of a publication titled ‘Status and Decadal Glacier Change from 1980s to 2010 in Nepal based on Satellite Data’. The research report provides an analysis of four decades of glacier data from Nepal. In addition, ICIMOD released four decades of glacier data from Bhutan, as well as current data on the glaciers of five river basins (Amu Darya, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and Irrawaddy) of the HKH region.

During the closing session, David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, stressed the need to take innovative approaches in cryosphere monitoring and to come up with a comprehensive picture of the cryosphere of the HKH based on research at the national and local level. He added that research findings and discussions about the cryosphere should be disseminated globally. Eklabya Sharma, Director of Programme Operations at ICIMOD, highlighted the importance of data in monitoring, observing, and gathering precise information on glaciers, snow, glacier melt runoff, and glacial lake outburst floods. He said that the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could have included more information on the crysosphere of the HKH region, and requested the participants to contribute more results in the next report (AR6). 

The participants thanked ICIMOD for providing the opportunity to share knowledge and discuss possible ways to address cryospheric issues. Sahidzad Khan from Pakistan Metrological Department said that the conference had encouraged scientific communities to build a shared understanding of the cryopshere of the HKH region. Aziz Panjsheri from Kabul University, Afghanistan said that information on glaciers in Afghanistan remains scarce, and requested ICIMOD to make efforts to fill that gap. 

For more information please contact: 

Ms Nira Gurung
Senior Communications Officer, ICIMOD
Tel +977-1-5003222 Fax +977-1-5003277
Email: Nira.Gurung@icimod.org

ICIMOD Director General, Dr David Molden chairs the opening session of the Second International Conference at ICIMOD Headquarters on 13 May 2013

Mr Inge Harald Vognild, First Secretary of the Royal Norwegian Embassy-Kathmandu,  delivers his opening remarks

Mr Ari Nathan, Director of Regional Environment, Science, Technology and Health Office for South Asia at the U.S. Embassy, gives his opening remarks

All Photos are by Jitendra Bajracharya, ICIMOD