Thana Glacier Mass Balance measurement and monitoring in Chamkhar Chu Basin, Bhutan

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Thana glacier is located in the Chamkhar Valley with an altitudinal range from 5250 m to 5700 m above sea level

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), with the support of Government of Norway in collaboration with the Department of Hydro-Met Services (DHMS) of Bhutan, is implementing the ‘Monitoring and assessment of changes in glaciers, show and glacio-hydrology in the Hindu Kush Himalayas with a special focus on strengthening the capacity of DHMS of Royal Government of Bhutan,’ known as a Cryosphere Monitoring Programme in Bhutan (CMP-B). The goal of the CMP-B is to improve knowledge and understanding on the cryosphere by analysing changes in the glaciers, snow and glacio-hydrology in relation to the impacts of climate changes for water resources management in the region.

Thana Glacier is selected for long-term mass balance monitoring and research as a first benchmark glacier of Bhutan. The glacier is located in the Chamkhar Valley (28⁰-01’N, 90⁰-36’E). Approximately 5 km long, the glacier is of the valley type with an altitudinal range from 5250 m to 5700 m above sea level with a gentle slope facing southeast.

Six glaciologists from ICIMOD, Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and DHMS in Bhutan carried out an annual research expedition on Thana Glacier, Chamkharchu Basin Bhutan from 7 to 24 September, 2015.  The expedition extended stake networks; collected data on stake measurements, photographs and other details; collected stake locations with differential GPS two cross sections taken at ablation area and lakes water level of surrounding lakes; set up reflector corners; set up benchmarks to acquire high resolution stereo images; carried out discharge measurements taken at lower outlet of glacier; and rechecked and evaluated all the Hydro-Met sites.