Understanding the HKH cryosphere


In a bid to foster deeper understanding of water resources, glacial hazards, and climatic impact on the cryosphere of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, two events on cryosphere were organized by ICIMOD recently. The second international conference on the cryosphere of the HKH was held from 13 to 15 May, and the HKH cryosphere data sharing workshop was organized on 16 May 2014. 

What came out of these events was the understanding that there is a need to encourage better coordination in cryosphere research, data sharing, and capacity building in the region. The conference-cum-workshop brought together 144 professionals from 16 countries. 

The events emphasized the development of a network of governmental organizations, research institutions, regional academic organizations, and well-established local and regional non-governmental organizations for the collection and sharing of cryospheric data. Forty scientific presentations on new research and knowledge in the HKH cryosphere, initial results of ICIMOD’s Cryosphere Monitoring Project, and the details of ICIMOD’s new Data Policy were also presented and discussed during the workshop. 

At the concluding session of the workshop a report titled ‘Glacier Status in Nepal and Decadal Change from 1980 to 2010’ was released. The report is also available online for free download. Other reports released were: 

  1. Four Decade Glacier Data of Nepal from 1980 to 2010
  2. Four Decade Glacier Data of Bhutan from 1980 to 2010
  3. Glacier Data of Five Basins (Amu Darya, Indus, Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Irrawaddy) of the HKH region. 

The conference-cum-workshop provided an opportunity for scientists and policymakers to share their knowledge, develop a professional network for cryosphere monitoring in the HKH region, and initiate the process of data sharing. It is also expected that the event will contribute significantly to further strengthening regional cooperation in cryosphere monitoring and promote regional efforts to better understand the cryosphere of the HKH. The event will also strengthen the development of the Regional Cryosphere Knowledge Hub in ICIMOD initiated after the 2012 conference-cum-workshop.