Training on Glacier Mass Balance Monitoring



The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is implementing the project ‘Monitoring and assessment of changes in glaciers, snow and glacio-hydrology in the Hindu Kush Himalayas with a special focus on strengthening the capacity of Nepalese organizations' (the HKH Cryosphere Monitoring Programme) in collaboration with partners from Nepal namely, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Government of Nepal (DHM, GoN), Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal (WECS, GoN), Tribhuvan University (TU) and Kathmandu University (KU), and with the support of the Government of Norway. The goal of the HKH Cryosphere Monitoring Programme (CMP) is to contribute significantly to improve knowledge and understanding on cryosphere by analysing changes in glaciers, snow and glacio-hydrology in relation to impacts of climate change for water resources management in the HKH region. 

The CMP has a multilevel and integrative approach and consists of the following five components:

  • Field-based glacier monitoring,
  • Assessment of current and future water resources with glacio-hydrological modelling,
  • Multi-level remote sensing based observations for glacier and snow monitoring, 
  • Strengthening ICIMOD as regional knowledge hub for cryospheric information, 
  • Capacity building of Nepalese Organisations. 

The first component focuses on direct field measurements on clean and debris-covered glaciers, such as Yala Glacier in Langtang, the second component includes hydro-meteorological measurements in selected river catchments, and the fifth component includes training students from the CMP MSc Masters Course in Research in Glaciology and professionals from the partner organisations. 


The ‘Training on Glacier Mass Balance Monitoring’ aims at teaching students and professionals from Kathmandu and Tribhuvan University, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology Nepal, and the Department for Hydro Met Services Bhutan to carry out glacier mass balance measurements on clean glaciers in the Himalayas. The theoretical training has been designed to prepare the training participants for the Training and Glacier Expedition to Yala Glacier, Langtang. Lectures give the theoretical background in glaciology and on glacier mass balance specifically. In exercises the analysis of glacier mass balance measurements are discussed as well as the interpretation of the results. Practical issues regarding health and safety are covered, which includes a health talk at the CIWEC clinic and a training for basic mountaineering skills. The theoretical training complements the practical trainings, whereas the new skills are applied for the field measurements to assess and monitor the cryosphere.