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14 Aug 2015 | News

Glacier and glacial lakes database of Bhutan released

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Dignitaries and scientists gathered for a workshop 14th August 2015 at the Department of Hydro-Met Services (DHMS), in Thimphu, Bhutan to disseminate preliminary findings of the DHMS-lead field expedition to investigate recent glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) in the headwater of Mo Chu. The expedition assessed future risks from the breached lake and other glacial lakes in the adjacent valley. The event was attended by Norbu Wangchuk, Minister of Economic Affairs (MoEA) of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB). Mr. Karma Tsering, Director, DHMS presented and ICIMOD experts on Cryosphere Monitoring Programme presented their fieldwork and findings. Dr. Arun Bhakta Shrestha, Programme Manager, Cryosphere and Atmosphere Programme and Mr. Pradeep Mool, Programme Coordinator of Cryosphere Monitoring Progamme (CMP) briefed the participants on Cryosphere Monitoring activities implemented by ICIMOD in the region, and ongoing Cryosphere Monitoring Progamme – Bhutan (CMP-B) respectively.
Wangchuk released the decadal database of glacier and glacial lakes of Bhutan Himalaya, database jointly developed by ICIMOD and DHMS under the ongoing CMP-B project. The database packaged in DVDs and pen drives comprised four decades of glacier data (1980- 2010) and three decades of glacial lake data (1990-2014) based on remote sensing approach. The consistent data source of Landsat images and methodology adopted for generating the database provides a basis for change analysis over the decades. The mapping of glaciers and glacial lakes is a part of an on-going CMP-B four-year (2014-2017) joint project between DHMS and ICIMOD with funding support from the Royal Norwegian Government.
During the opening remarks, Wangchuk emphasised the need for sound scientific studies to further the understanding of climate change, its associated impacts, and the challenges posed while formulating adaptation measures. Wangchuk emphasised “science with policy” with regard to the importance of Bhutan Himalaya snow and glaciers and their direct link to the country’s socio-economic development, specifically hydropower and agriculture.

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