ICIMOD Staff Present on SERVIR-Himalaya at SERVIR Summit

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A team from ICIMOD presented on the SERVIR-Himalaya initiative at the SERVIR Summit to report on project progress, discuss new science opportunities that could benefit ICIMOD and its regional member countries, and interact with SERVIR project members from different hubs from around the world, including Central America and Africa. At the event, held from 15-19 October 2012 at the NASA-SERVIR headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama, US, ICIMOD staff members Basanta Shrestha, Birendra Bajracharya, and Sebastian Wesselman were in attendance to represent the SERVIR-Himalaya initiative. 

The summit had approximately 40 participants from USAID, NASA, SERVIR, the ‘ad-hoc’ science team that has been awarded to research different thematic areas in the context of ROSES proposals, and other collaborators. The meeting opened with a general overview of the SERVIR project by SERVIR Director Daniel Irwin that highlighted the unique collaboration between USAID and NASA. Carrie Stokes gave an overview of USAID's activities and priorities in the context of the SERVIR project. Progress overview presentations were given by the SERVIR hubs and there was a fruitful exchange of experiences and lessons learnt. 

Basanta Shrestha, Head of the MENRIS Division at ICIMOD, highlighted the benefits of the SERVIR project for the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and the excellent match between SERVIR and ICIMOD objectives. Furthermore, he gave his perspective on opportunities and the way forward for the SERVIR project in the Himalayas. Birendra Bajracharya, GIS Specialist at ICIMOD, gave an overview of the different science applications that have been developed and the potential to further develop and expand their use and impact in the region. An overview of capacity building in the SERVIR-Himalaya hub was given by Sebastian Wesselman, Geospatial Capacity Building Lead at ICIMOD, and there was a discussion on how to best integrate initiatives, such as DEVELOP and MyCoe.

Contributions from the ad-hoc science team, led by Ashutosh Limaye, will help to further develop the science applications. All science projects were presented and discussions are ongoing on how to integrate the initiatives most effectively into the activities of the SERVIR hub.

Of particular interest for the SERVIR-Himalaya hub were the following projects:

  • A Satellite-Based Early Warning, Mapping and Post-Disaster Visualization System for Water Resources of Low-Lying Deltas of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region, coordinated by Faisal Hossain/Tennessee Technological University
  • Applications of Satellite Products for Air Quality Monitoring, Analysis, Forecasting, and Visualization in the SERVIR Mesoamerica and Himalaya Regions, coordinated by Amy Huff/Battelle Memorial Institute
  • Interdisciplinary Science Applications to Glacier and Alpine Hazards in Relation to Development and Habitation in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya, coordinated by Jeffrey Kargel/University of Arizona
  • Leveraging CMIP5 and NASA/GMAO Coupled Modeling Capacity for Climate Projections, coordinated by Franklin Robertson/Marshall Space Flight Center
Also, other science efforts initially targeted at the hubs in Africa and Central America may be expanded to the Himalaya hub. Other sessions were dedicated to identifying demand for SERVIR products, capacity building, planning of different activities, SERVIR technologies, and outreach and communication.