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Training workshop on

Remote sensing and field-based glacier and snow monitoring in Pakistan


Islamabad Hotel, Islamabad

Date & Time

14 March 2022 to 17 March 2022

About the training

The Cryosphere Initiative is collaborating with the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) to organize a training on remote sensing and field-based glacier and snow monitoring in Pakistan. The training will explore free and easily available remote sensing data and software used for mapping various components of the cryosphere. It will also focus on observing snow cover and glacier extent using different remote sensing classification techniques and analysis using the R software.

Session topics include:

  • Introduction to the cryosphere (snow, glacier, glacial lake, and permafrost), their dynamics and impacts
  • Introduction to remote sensing: remote sensing datasets, sensors, resolution
  • Familiarization with available remote sensing datasets, acquisition, and processing for glacier mapping and elevation changes
  • Hands-on exercises on different methods to map glaciers and snow, and identification process of potentially dangerous glacial lakes (PDGLs)
  • Field-based glacier monitoring and use of dGPS; downstream impacts (e.g., hazards, agriculture production) of glacier changes


Expected participants

This training targets our partner institutions in Pakistan including faculty members of universities, members of research institutes, students, and early career researchers. The training is designed for 30-35 participants.

Participants will be invited through invitation and an open call via our website and social media. Half of the participants will represent our key cryosphere research partner institutions and the rest will be selected through an open call. We highly encourage women in the field to apply.

Deadline for this training is now closed. Results will be communicated to the selected candidates by 24 February 2022.



The cryosphere, mainly glacier and snow in the high mountain Asia, provides water for approximately one-fifth of the people on the planet. This is makes cryosphere monitoring in the region key in assessing the availability of meltwater, especially in the dry season, and related hazards. However, consistent long-term glacier and snow monitoring programmes are sparse in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), including the Karakoram region. The large spatial coverage of glaciers and snow in the HKH, along with climate challenges and rough terrains, makes it challenging for field-based monitoring activities. Hence, remote sensing serves as an essential tool to complement field-based glacier and snow monitoring in the HKH region.



Day 1: 14 March 2022
Time (in PKT) Programme
9:30–10:00 Registration
10:00–10:40 Inaugural Session

Welcome remarks – Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD

Opening remarks – Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Chairman, PARC

Introduction to river basins and cryosphere research – Arun Shrestha, Regional Programme Manager, River basins and cryosphere programme, ICIMOD

Introductions to resource persons and participants – Miriam Jackson, Programme Coordinator, Cryosphere Initiative, ICIMOD

Course overview – Bashir Ahmad, Principal Scientific Officer/Director, Climate, Energy & Water Research Institute (CEWRI)

Overview of ICIMOD’s cryosphere capacity building program in Pakistan – Sher Muhammad, Remote Sensing Specialist, ICIMOD

10:40–11:00 Group photo and tea break
11:00–11:30 Introduction to glaciers, past and present changes – Sher Muhammad, Remote Sensing Specialist, ICIMOD
11:30–12:00 Future climatic extremes and policy recommendations – Shaukat Ali, Senior Scientific Officer, Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC)
12:00–12:30 Introduction to remote sensing of glaciers, freely available datasets, sensors, resolution – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
12:30–13:30 Lunch
13:30–15:00 Exploring/downloading remote sensing datasets – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
15:00–15:15 Tea break
15:15–17:00 Hands-on exercise: Images pre-processing – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
Day 2: 15 March 2022
09:00–09:30 Glacier monitoring, challenges, and good practices – Sharad Joshi, Cryosphere Analyst, ICIMOD
09:30–11:00 Hands-on exercise: Different classification methods – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
11:00–11:20 Tea break
11:20–12:00 Hands-on exercise: Satellite image interpretation – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
12:00–12:30 Glaciers mass balance monitoring in Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal – Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD
12:30–13:30 Lunch break
13:30–15:00 Hands-on exercise: Different classification methods – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
15:00–15:15 Presentation:  Exploring collaborative platform, HKH CryoHub – Chimi Seldon, ICIMOD
15:15–15:30 Tea break
15:30–15:50 Fundamentals of GPR and its applications in glacier monitoring – Younis Khan, National Center of Excellence (NCEG), University of Peshawar
15:50–17:00 Practical session – Younis Khan, University of Peshawar

Hands-on practice in GPR survey

Day 3: 16 March 2022
09:00–09:30 Glacier lakes and GLOFs in the HKH – Finu Shrestha, Remote sensing and Geoinformation Analyst, ICIMOD
09:30–10:30 Hands-on exercise: Identifying potentially dangerous glacial lakes– Finu Shrestha, ICIMOD
10:30–11:00 Glacier lake monitoring in GLOF-I project – Adnan Rana, Meteorologist, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)
11:00–11:20 Tea break
11:20–11:40 Glacier lake monitoring under GLOF-II project – Atif Wazir, Deputy Director, PMD
11:40–12:00 GLOF-II projects current progress and Way forward – Adnan Rana, PMD
12:00–12:30 Case studies of GLOFs in the HKH with particular focus on the historical and recent years outbursts in the Bhutan Himalayas (Online) – Karma Tsering, Senior remote sensing and Geoinformation Specialist, ICIMOD
12:30–13:30 Lunch break
13:30–14:00 Climate change risks influencing glacier-fed irrigation system in the Upper Indus Basin – Arshad Ashraf, Principal Scientific Officer, PARC
14:00–14:30 Introduction to GPS – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD

Basics of GPS

14:30- 14;45 Tea break
14:45–17:00 Hands-on practice: dGPS use in glacier monitoring (outdoor) – Sher Muhammad and Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD
Day 4: 17 March 2022
09:00–09:30 Climate projections: challenges and opportunities – Firdos Khan, Assistant Professor, National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST)
09:30–10:00 Remote sensing elevation datasets – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
10:00–10:30 Field-based mass balance methods – Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD
10:30–11:00 Integrating remote sensing and ground observation data – Sher Muhammad, ICIMOD
11:00–11:20 Tea break
11:20–11:50 Installing R

Downloading snow data and processing – Sher Muhammad, Remote Sensing Specialist, and Amrit Thapa, Remote sensing and Geoinformation Research Analyst, ICIMOD

11:50–12:30 Generating cloud-free snow data using R – Sher Muhammad and Amrit Thapa, ICIMOD
12:30–13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 14:30 Snow data analysis – Sher Muhammad and Amrit Thapa, ICIMOD
14:30–1600 Group work: Students’ project presentations
16:00–16:30 Closing session

Trainees’ feedback

Certificate distribution

16:30–17:00 High tea