Atmosphere Initiative

The Atmosphere Initiative at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) was established in 2013 as part of the Centre’s Atmosphere Regional Programme. The Initiative aims to promote the adoption of effective measures and policies to reduce air pollution and its impacts within the HKH through improved knowledge and enhanced capacity of ICIMOD’s regional partners. Its work includes improving scientific understanding of emissions sources, atmospheric processes and change, and air pollution impacts in the HKH. The Initiative is also involved in identifying, testing, and piloting mitigation solutions; capacity building and outreach; fostering regional collaboration and cross-border network building; and contributing to policy at local, national, regional, and global levels.

ICIMOD collaborates with regional partners to establish air quality stations/climate observatories that aid air quality planners and policy makers in regional member countries. These stations also provide world-class scientific data for new knowledge generation and to improve understanding of atmospheric processes across the HKH. ICIMOD also has computing facilities for regional air quality modelling and conducts field campaigns to comprehensively study atmospheric phenomena of regional concern. 

ICIMOD has identified major data gaps in this area and consequently worked with the Governments of Bhutan and Nepal to establish atmospheric observatories in five locations in Bhutan and seven in Nepal (at altitudes ranging from 100 to 4,900 masl). It has established an in-house modelling centre; supports PhD fellows; hosts a variety of training courses; and launches collaborative studies to gain a better understanding of emission sources, the physics and chemistry of air pollution, and the persistent winter fog across the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP). It has also contributed to policymaking at several levels and worked directly on mitigation in several sectors, including brick making, which was later spun off as a separate initiative.