29 April-13 May 2012: Cryosphere Monitoring Project: research expedition to Langtang


As a part of the Norwegian-funded Cryosphere Monitoring Project, ICIMOD organized a research and training expedition to take measurements on and around glaciers in the Langtang region of Nepal from 29 April to 13 May. The expedition trained students from the Glaciology Master’s programme (one component of the Cryosphere Monitoring Project), and other participants on taking glacier mass balance measurements, installing hydrological and meteorological monitoring equipment, and conducting isotopic and geochemical water sampling. The expedition had about 30 participants from Nepal, Pakistan, China, India, Bhutan, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands. 

Equipment was installed at various locations on the way to Yala glacier to take measurements on precipitation, temperature, and river run-off in order to understand how climatic and environmental variables are changing at different elevations and longitudes. In Kyangjin, about 1,300 m below the glacier, regional participants received training in mountaineering, safety, and the dangers of altitude sickness before heading up to Yala glacier at 5,200 m.

A team from Kathmandu University installed a permanent automatic weather station at the Yala glacier basecamp and a mobile weather station on the glacier. On the debris-covered Lirung glacier, a team from ETH Zurich installed a mobile weather station, conducted debris measurements, drilled ablation stakes as a part of glacier mass balance measurements and installed a network of temperature sensors. Data from the expedition, which will be available soon, will be an important contribution to filling data gaps in high-altitude cryospheric and hydrological studies.