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River Basins and Cryosphere
30 March 2022
Miriam Jackson, Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa & Chimi Seldon
The first bi-annual CryoDisussion webinar for 2022, hosted by the Cryosphere Initiative at ICIMOD, will feature scientists involved in the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, and others working on glaciology and meteorology in the region. They will discuss findings from the expedition, the implications of climate change on some of the highest glaciers on the planet, and the importance of meteorological measurements at high altitudes.
Participants will be able to interact with the panelists and ask questions.
The 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition was the most comprehensive scientific expedition to Mt. Everest. The expedition conducted trailblazing research on glaciers and the alpine environment. The expedition was a collaborative effort involving universities in Europe, USA, and Nepal, local communities in the Khumbu region, the Nepal Government, and ICIMOD. The multidisciplinary team comprised of scientists from eight countries, including 17 Nepali researchers. Several scientists from ICIMOD participated in the fieldwork and subsequent data analysis.
Major findings and recent results from the expedition were published in the Nature Portfolio Journal, Climate and Atmospheric Science, describing how Everest has been losing glacier ice significantly since the late 1990s. The study addressed a key question on whether glaciers at the highest point on earth are experiencing climate change impacts. As part of the fieldwork, the team took a 10-metre-long ice core from the South Col glacier at an elevation of 8020 masl and established the two highest automatic weather stations in the world, located on the southern slopes of Mount Everest at 7,945 and 8,430 masl.
CryoDiscussion is a bi-annual outreach event which brings together regional and international experts to discuss cryosphere issues in the HKH region.
Tom Matthews, Senior Lecturer, King’s College London
Tenzing Sherpa, Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Associate, ICIMOD
Binod Pokharel, Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University
Fanny Brun, Glaciologist, Grenoble Alpes University
Closing remarks from the panelists
Mountain communities are living with the impacts of steady glacier retreat, changing and uncertain snowfall patterns, and increased incidences of cryosphere-related hazards. These changes have direct impacts on the lives and livelihood of mountain communities.
Tom Matthews is a senior lecturer at Kings College, London. After completing his PhD in glacier – climate interactions, he expanded his research to focus on environments and events that are meteorologically extreme. This included work on hurricanes and heatwaves, and more recently the freezing cold of the planet’s highest mountains. Matthews co-led the meteorology team in the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, which established the highest weather station network in the world. Recently, he has been using data from this network for work related to both glacier-climate interactions and extreme environments. The dataprovides an opportunity to build process-based understanding of glacier response to climate change and yield fundamental insights into the extreme climate of Everest’s upper slopes.
Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa is from Namche Bazaar in the Everest region. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a master’s in glaciology from Kathmandu University. He is currently working at ICIMOD on remote sensing approaches for quantifying glacier dynamics, spatial data analysis, and glacier modelling. He has participated in many glaciological and geophysical expeditions in Nepal and was part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, where his work focused on modelling and assessing the energy balance of South Col glacier. Sherpa’s broader research aims to understand the dynamics of glaciers in the HKH region and their evolution in a changing climate.
Fanny Brun is a glaciologist working at IGE,Grenoble, France. Brun is a specialist of remote sensing applications in glaciology, and most of her research focuses on glaciers in Asia. During her PhD, she worked on the influence of debris cover on the mass balance of high mountain Asia glaciers. After a postdoc at Utrecht University, Netherlands, she moved to Grenoble to study the impact of the precipitation variability on glacier mass balance.
Binod Pokharel is the Associate Professor at the Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. His research areas include mountain meteorology, winter orographic cloud seeding, and extreme weather. His other interest include transboundary transport of air pollution and forest fire. Pokharel is currently working on a sub-seasonal scale drought and fire weather forecasting model for Nepal. His previous work focused on research-to-operation project that developed a cloud seeding weather forecasting for Utah, USA.
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