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Field-based glacier monitoring in Pakistan


Hunza, Pakistan

Date & Time

08 October 2022 to 16 October 2022


Sher Muhammad

About the training

Through our Cryosphere Initiative, we are organising field-based glacier monitoring training for our partners on Ghulkin and Passu glaciers in Hunza, Pakistan. The training aims to strengthen the capacity of participants from universities and research institutes in Pakistan to independently conduct field-based glacier monitoring. The training sessions will familiarise participants with different aspects of glacier fieldwork and will strengthen participants’ ability to produce and analyse glacier data.

We previously conducted theoretical glacier monitoring trainings in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2019, 2020, and March 2022. This training is a continuation of these previous trainings.


Targeted participants

Faculty members, students, and early-career researchers in at universities and research institutes will participate in the training. We will invite approximately 10–12 participants who participated in the theoretical training in March 2022 to participate in this field-based training. These participants were from our partner agencies and students who applied through an open call. We will ensure gender balance in the participants selected from the open call.


Training content

The training sessions will cover the following:

  • Mapping glacier terminus and extent in the field using dGPS
  • Hands-on exercises on dGPS, GPR, and steam driller/ice auger
  • Field-based and remote-sensing data comparison
  • Monitoring debris cover and clean ice glacier melting
  • Basic glacier safety and crevasse rescue (by an external instructor)
  • Glacier thickness monitoring using GPR
  • Informal discussions with local communities on the impacts of glacier changes on their livelihoods and their coping mechanisms


Expected outcomes

The participants are expected to use their new skills for cryosphere monitoring in the HKH region and to develop their own cryosphere monitoring programmes with a solid understanding of the results and implications of such programmes.


Planned follow-up training 

We will follow up with participants regarding further support for their research on glacier monitoring and research in the region. In addition, we will ask participants to fill out a post-training survey that will help improve and tailor future capacity-building trainings.



Travel from Islamabad to Hunza

Time Programme
10:00–10:40 Inaugural session

Opening remarks – TBC

Welcome remarks – TBC

Programme overview – Sher Muhammad, Remote Sensing Specialist, ICIMOD

Introduction of resource persons and participants

10:40–11:10 Tea break and group photo
11:10–12:30 Interaction with community members from Hussaini, Ghulkin, and Passu villages: Briefing about glacier monitoring activities, climate change and communities’ response, challenges, awareness, and basic safety techniques
12:30–13:30 Lunch break
13:30–15:00 Basic mountaineering safety techniques
15:00–15:30 Tea break
15:30–17:30 Exploring satellite images for validation in the field

Time Programme
09:00–11:00 Trek to Ghulkin glacier terminus and validate remote-sensing data using dGPS (Ghulkin)
11:00–12:00 Trek to debris-covered glacier
12:00–13:00 Lunch break
13:00–14:30 Observe features on glacier surface and compare with satellite imagery
14:30–16:00 Installation of ablation stakes on debris-covered glacier
16:00–17:00 Trek back to the hotel
19:00–20:30 Post-dinner session: Comparing GPS data with remote sensing in GIS software and accuracy assessment

Time Programme
09:00–10:00 Trek to Ghulkin glacier
10:00–12:00 Glacier safety techniques
12:00–13:00 Lunch break
13:00–16:00 Install new stakes at different elevations and measure stake positions of all stakes
16:00–17:00 Trek back to the hotel
19:00–20:30 Post-dinner session:  Plotting observed data in GIS software

Timing Programme
09:00–10:00 Trek to glacier terminus (Passu Glacier)
10:00–11:30 Observing glacier terminus (clean ice) with dGPS and comparing with satellite image (Passu Glacier)
11:30–12:30 Trek to glacier surface
12:30–13:30 Lunch break
13:30–16:00 Observing surface features, installing ablation stakes, and collecting dGPS data
16:00–17:00 Trek back to the hotel

Time Programme
09:00–10:30 Plot observed data using GIS software and comparison with remote-sensing data
10:30–11:00 Tea break
11:00–12:00 Trek to Passu glacier
12:00–14:00 Re-measure installed stakes and install new stakes at higher altitude
14:00–15:00 Trek back to the hotel
15:00–16:00 Participants’ presentations and post-training survey
16:00–17:00 Closing session and certificate distribution

Travel from Hunza to Islamabad

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