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River Basins and Cryosphere
20 September 2021 to
23 September 2021
Miriam Jackson, Jakob Steiner & Prashant Baral
Session notes Agenda
In the context of sparse permafrost studies in the Hindu Kush Himalaya and significant gaps in our understanding of distribution, thermal state, organic content, and mass dynamics, we are collaborating with Tribhuvan University (TU) to organise this forum on permafrost. As a follow up response to recommendations made during the session on permafrost degradation and GHG emissions during International forum on cryosphere and society: The voice of the Hindu Kush Himalaya, the forum will bring together regional and global experts to exchange knowledge on the region’s permafrost and explore avenues for research collaboration. The forum will also raise awareness among policymakers on the implications of a changing permafrost for livelihoods, hydrological flows, infrastructure, and ecosystems.
The target audience is the cryosphere research community in the region, including those potentially planning to work on permafrost, as well as the global permafrost research community who can provide insights and/or may have interest in permafrost in the region. Through the workshop, we hope to address research methods, gaps in research, and identify future paths for research.
The organisers of the forum invite permafrost researchers to submit abstracts or posters for presentation on any of these topics:
Early career researchers (ECRs) are especially encouraged to apply. The best presentation from the ECRs (maximum 8 years after a PhD) will receive an award. Abstracts which are not selected for a talk will be assigned a poster session, which will be showcased in separate virtual rooms where presenters can interact with the participants.
Permafrost distribution can be studied using various remote sensing methods. One key indicator of mountain permafrost that can be delineated using remote sensing methods is rock glaciers. Despite the use of remote sensing methods in understanding permafrost occurrence and permafrost hazards, their use in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region is sparse due to limited research capacity in this field. Some initial studies exist in the region to determine the regional distribution of permafrost. This session aims to understand the state-of-the-art of remote sensing methods in monitoring rock glaciers and permafrost hazards and their status in the HKH region.
Field-based investigations are crucial for monitoring changes in permafrost and frozen ground and to validate results from remote sensing observations and model simulations. Inadequate field-based monitoring and discontinuous observations limit the interpretation of permafrost dynamics and the effects on ecology, hydrology, and geomorphology in the HKH region. This session will explore field-based permafrost investigations in the HKH region and highlight the need and areas for future field research.
Permafrost models are reasonably accurate in simulating permafrost variability in complex high mountain environments. However, their application in understanding permafrost in the mountains of the HKH is limited. This session focuses on different permafrost modelling approaches that can be used to understand permafrost distribution in local environments and at a regional scale. The session will also highlight the applicability of permafrost models and their necessity for understanding permafrost variability in the region.
A warming climate is responsible for the increase in thawing depth of the active layer, a gradual upward shift in the lower limits of mountain permafrost, and a reduction in the stability of mountain slopes. As a result, human settlements and infrastructure in degrading permafrost environments are at increased risk. In the HKH region, thawing permafrost may reduce the stability of steep mountain slopes and natural moraine dams, which could cause mass wasting and glacial lake outburst floods. This session will address the implications of changes in the mountain permafrost environment and their effects on the livelihoods of mountain communities and infrastructure in the HKH region. The session will also discuss potential adaptation actions in response to the climate change-induced changes in permafrost.
Degrading permafrost can affect ecosystem services by causing variations in the habitat and diversity of plant species, releasing gases into the atmosphere, and reducing soil moisture, soil nutrients, and organic matter content. In the HKH region, these factors could lead to the reduction or even loss of indigenous flora and fauna. Scientific studies on the effects of permafrost change on ecosystem services in the region are limited. This session will help generate a basic understanding of the impacts of permafrost changes on ecosystem services of the HKH region and will identify necessary actions for future research.
Permafrost-associated changes in mountain areas can modify mountain river discharge, release solutes and sediments in rivers, change groundwater levels, and increase the number of thermokarst lakes, therefore, affecting the hydrological regime. These factors will not only affect local high mountain communities but can impact the lives of millions downstream. This session will provide an overview of the status of permafrost studies associated with the hydrological regime in the HKH region and will identify crucial areas for future research.
Host: Miriam Jackson, River basin and Cryosphere, ICIMOD
Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD
Rapporteurs: Chimi Seldon, Knowledge Management and Communications, ICIMOD
Dharma Kant Baskota, Vice Chancellor, TU
Rapporteur: Chimi Seldon, Knowledge Management and Communications, ICIMOD
Rapporteurs: Arnab Singh, Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, and Darwin Rana, Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, TU
Speaker: John Wani, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Kaytan Kelkar, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Kotaro Fukui, Tatecal Museum, Japan
Jeannette Noetzli, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network, PERMOS
Juditha Schmidt, Doctoral Research Fellow, Section of Physical geography and Hydrology, University of Oslo
Rapporteur: Tika Gurung, Water and Air, ICIMOD
Rapporteurs: Reeju Shrestha, Geospatial Solutions, and Prashant Baral, Cryosphere Initiative, ICIMOD
Gopal Penny, University of Notre Dame, United States
Younis Khan, National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, Pakistan.
Moderator: Rijan Bhakta Kayastha, Kathmandu University, Nepal
Rapporteur: Amrit Thapa, Geospatial Solutions, ICIMOD
Rapporteur: Reeju Shrestha, Geospatial Solutions, and Prashant Baral, Cryosphere Initiative, ICIMOD
Leo Martin, Utrecht University, University of Oslo
W. Brian Whalley, University of Sheffield
Dagmar Brombierstäudl, Heidelberg University, Germany
Asia (Kyrgyzstan): results from a first geophysical field campaign
Tamara Mathys, University of Fribourg
Rapporteur: Amrit Thapa, Geospatial Solutions, ICIMOD, Darwin Rana, Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, TU
Wilfried Haeberli, Geography Department, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Cai Jiaxin, Southwest Jiaotong University, China
Annett Bartsch, b.geos GmbH, Austria
Speaker: Lea Hartl, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Speaker: Yan Hu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Rapporteur: Sonika Adhikari, Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, TU
Moderator: Madan Lall Shrestha, NAST
Rapporteur: Sonika Adhikari and Arnab Singh, Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, TU
Zhi Wen, CAS, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, China
Élise Devoie, McGill University, Canada.
Kyung “Robin” Kim, University of Virginia, USA
Ying Li, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Shresth Tayal, TERI University, India
Tara Tripura Mantha, University of Hyderabad, India
Alessandro Cicoira, Snow and Avalanche Simulation Laboratory (SLAB), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
Rapporteur: Reeju Shrestha, Geospatial Solutions, ICIMOD
Kristoffer Aalstad, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo
Rapporteur: Amrit Thapa, Geospatial Solutions, and Tika Gurung, Water and Air, ICIMOD
Stephan Gruber, Carleton University, Canada
Marco Marcer, Technical University of Denmark
Javed Hassan, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Prashant Baral, NIIT University India, ICIMOD
Tokuta Yokohata, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan
Rapporteur: Abhijit Vaidya, Water and Air, ICIMOD
Rapporteur: Chimi Seldon, Knowledge Management and Communications, ICIMOD, Darwin Rana, Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, TU
Speaker: Dongfeng Li, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore
Zhu Dan, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Chunlin Song, Sichuan University, China
Raju Chauhan, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
Arnab Singh, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
A P Dimri, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Rapporteur: Chimi Seldon, Knowledge Management and Communications, ICIMOD
Rapporteur: Prashant Baral, Cryosphere Initiative, ICIMOD
Arun Shrestha, River basin and Cryosphere, ICIMOD
Izabella Koziell, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD