The collaborative HKH CryoHub platform supports knowledge generation and exchange, learning, and networking, to create better connected practitioners and decision makers to enhance work and policies relevant to the cryosphere in the region.
The CryoHub links regional institutions conducting cryosphere-related research and provides a platform through which a common approach to data sharing is being promoted to improve our understanding of water resources and their management in the HKH.
The regional CryoHub is a collaborative effort through which we share and disseminate data and information using a network of national partners from and beyond our RMCs. It serves as a clearing house for cryosphere-related data and information for relevant operational services and research activities. As a knowledge hub, it integrates geospatial data to support knowledge development and decision making, and builds on capacity building efforts in the HKH for future generations of scientists.
Our activities under the regional CryoHub include:
In the spotlight
Meet Ulfat Majeed, our ‘Researcher in the Spotlight’ for this issue. Ulfat Majeed is from Kashmir and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Kashmir, India. She is a glaciologist working on Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in Jammu and Kashmir. In this interview, Majeed discusses her work, research interests, and future aspirations.
Glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) have been intensely investigated in High Mountain Asia (HMA) in recent years and are the most well-known hazard associated with the cryosphere. As glaciers recede and surrounding slopes become increasingly unstable, such events are expected to increase, although current evidence for an increase in events is ambiguous. Many studies have investigated individual events and while several regional inventories exist, they either do not cover all types of GLOF or are geographically constrained. Further, downstream impacts are rarely discussed. Previous inventories have relied on academic sources and have not been combined with existing inventories of glaciers and lakes. In this study, we present the first comprehensive inventory of GLOFs in HMA, including details on the time of their occurrence, processes of lake formation and drainage involved as well as downstream impacts. We document 697 individual GLOFs that occurred between 1833 and 2022. Of these, 23% were recurring events from just three ephemeral ice-dammed lakes. In combination, the documented events resulted in 6906 fatalities of which 906 fatalities were from 24 events, which is three times higher than a previous assessment for the region. The integration of previous inventories of glaciers and lakes within this database will inform future assessments of potential drivers of GLOFs, allowing more robust projections to be developed. The database and future, updated versions, are traceable, version controlled and can be directly incorporated into further analysis.
The assessment of meltwater sourcing from the clean and debris-covered glaciers is scarce in High Mountain Asia (HMA). The melting rate varies with the debris cover thickness and glacier orientation. The present study quantifies glacier melting rate attributed to varying thickness of debris cover in the Karakoram. We observed daily melting rates by installing ablation stakes over debris-free and debris-covered ice during a field expedition. The stakes were installed on glacier surface with debris cover thickness ranges between 0.5 and 40 cm at selected experimental sites during the ablation period (September to October 2018) and (July to August 2019). We selected three glaciers including Ghulkin, Hinarchi, and Hoper facing east, south, and north, respectively to assess the role of glacier orientation on melting rates. We observed that the debris-free ice melts faster than the debris-covered ice. Intriguingly, a thin debris layer of 0.5 cm does not enhance melting compared to the clean ice which is inconsistent with the earlier studies. The melting rate decreases as the thickness of debris cover increases at all the three selected glaciers. Furthermore, south-facing glacier featured the highest melting (on average ~ 25% more). However, the north and east-facing glaciers revealed almost same melting rates. For further information, please read the paper associated with this data: Muhammad, S., Tian, L., Ali, S., Latif, Y., Wazir, M.A., Goheer, M.A., Saifullah, M., Hussain, I. and Shiyin, L., 2020. Thin debris layers do not enhance melting of the Karakoram glaciers. Science of the Total Environment, 746, p.141119.
Gamma Ray Station close to Yala Basecamp measuring Snow Water Equivalent as well as radiation (shortwave and longwave radiation) and distance to surface/snow depth
The data contains improved daily MODIS Terra/Aqua combined snow-cover merged with Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI6.0) product. This product is generated using MODIS Terra and Aqua daily snow cover products MOD10A1 and MYD10A1 collection 6 (C6), respectively. The data covers High Mountain Asia (HMA) covering latitude 24.32− 49.19 N and Longitude 58.22 - 122.48 E with temporal coverage between 2002 and 2019. The data has daily temporal resolution and 500 m spatial resolution. The product is named as M*D10A1GL06 derived from MODIS Terra (MOD) MODIS Aqua (MYD), original product number (10A1) and Glacier (GL), Version 6 (06). The product is described in ordinal date available in GeoTIFF file format as described in the associated Dataset README. For more details about the data, please read the paper associated with this data titled "An improved Terra-Aqua MODIS daily cloud-free snow and Randolph Glacier Inventory 6.0 combined product (M*D10A1GL06) for high-mountain Asia between 2002 and 2019" in Earth System Science Data Journal.
The data contains an enhanced MODIS 8-day Terra (MOD10A2) and Aqua (MYD10A2) collection 6 snow-cover composite product merged with Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI6.0). The data is specifically developed for the High Mountain Asia (HMA) with the geographic coverage between latitude 24.32 − 49.19 N and Longitude 58.22 − 122.48 E. The data is available with eight-day temporal resolution and 500 m spatial resolution covering the period between 2002 and 2018. The name of the product is derived from MODIS Terra (MOD) MODIS Aqua (MYD), and Glacier (GL), Version 6 (06) as MOYDGL06*. The product is described in Julian day and each year has 46 eight-day composite images in GeoTIFF file format as described in the associated readme.TXT. The data can be accessed alternatively from https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.901821. The R code developed for this product is available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3610735. For more details about the data, please read the paper associated with this data titled lease read the paper associated with this data titled "An improved Terra/Aqua MODIS snow-cover and RGI6.0 glacier combined product (MOYDGL06*) for the High Mountain Asia between 2002 and 2018" published in Earth System Science Data Journal.
Collection of ground surface temperaure loggers (39) placed on the Yala Plateau on different surface types.
NEWS AND FEATURES
This First HKH Assessment Report consists of 16 chapters, which comprehensively assess the current state of knowledge of the HKH region, increase the understanding of various drivers of change and their impacts, address critical data gaps, and develop a set of evidence-based and actionable policy solutions and recommendations. These are linked to nine mountain priorities for the mountains and people of the HKH consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
This policy summary looks at reported and possible future consequences of climate change in the greater Himalayan region.
Himalayan glaciers are retreating; the resultant long-term loss of natural fresh water storage will have as yet uncalculated effects.
Snow is an important component of the cryosphere, and the study of snow trends is essential for understanding regional climate change and for managing water resources.
This is the first comprehensive report on the distribution of glacial lakes for the HKH providing baseline data for further investigation of glacial lakes, GLOF hazards and risk assessments, and mitigation measures.
Resources and information for the media
Landmark study: Two-degree temperature rise could melt half of glaciers in Hindu Kush Himalaya region, destabilizing Asia’s rivers