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Snow monitoring in the HKH – Establishing snow stations and conducting analysis


SG 1: Reducing Climate and Environmental Risks & Action Area A: Managing Cryosphere and Water Risk


ICIMOD Headquarters, Kathmandu

Date & Time

20 September 2023 to 22 September 2023


Miriam Jackson

Organiser: AAA: Managing Cryosphere and Water Risk and Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (Norway)


About the training

Jointly organised with our key partner Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), this comprehensive workshop delves into the instrumentation for conducting in situ snow measurements, encompassing both depth and snow water equivalent, as well as precipitation, discharge, water level, and more.  It will discuss previous measurements from snow stations in Langtang and how these measurements complement Earth Observation measurements and are used as input to snow modelling.

Snow is a major component of the regional water balance, however, there are few in situ measurements of snow cover and melt processes in the HKH. This workshop works towards increasing such measurements and building the capacity to perform the measurements and analyse the data.

The training is being organising recognising the importance of the cryosphere and the need for building capacity to monitor glaciers, snow, and permafrost in the HKH region and is supported by the Government of Norway and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


  • Practical understanding of in situ snow monitoring and sensor options
  • Practical understanding of related measurements–precipitation, water level, discharge etc
  • Understanding of how in situ snow measurements complement regional monitoring of snow from Earth Observation techniques and are essential for reliable snow modelling.


The training is aimed for our key partners in Nepal – Tribhuvan University and the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology – as well as staff from INVE and ICIMOD.


Seasonal snow is an important component of High Mountain Asia’s hydrological cycle. Meltwater from glaciers and snow are major water resources for one billion people living in this region. Despite their importance for downstream water availability, hydropower generation and the mitigation of flood and avalanche risk, information about snow conditions as well as understanding of accumulation and ablation processes remains limited.

Snow covers approximately 18% of the HKH region but the extent of snow cover has shown a clearly negative trend in the HKH region since the early twenty-first century with a few exceptions including the Karakoram. There has been a significant decrease in the seasonal snow cover during the summer and winter months, as well as a decline from mid-spring through mid-fall, indicating a seasonal shift. Snow cover days generally declined at an average rate of five snow cover days per decade with most of the changes at lower elevation. Snow cover is likely to experience an accelerated loss in the future under different global warming levels in the HKH.