River Basins and Cryosphere Initiative
The Cryosphere team at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) collaborates with its partners to study the importance of snow, ice, and permafrost for downstream communities in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).
At a glance
To improve knowledge and understanding of the HKH cryosphere and the impacts of climate change on water resources and hazards, and to build regional capacity for cryospheric monitoring in the region.
River Basins and Cryosphere
Programme Coordinator, Cryosphere Initiative
(Photo: Chimi Seldon/ICIMOD)
Anushilan Acharya, MS by Research in Glaciology
Bardaghat, Nawal Parasi, Nepal
“Mountain communities are direct witnesses to receding snowlines, but they do not understand the reasons behind this or its significance. I hope our cryosphere research will help them fully understand the changes someday.”
Anushilan Acharya recently defended her well-received thesis to graduate from KU’s two-year MS by Research in Glaciology programme in December 2018. Acharya’s thesis focused on the mass and energy balance of Yala Glacier in Langtang Valley, Nepal, using data from 2011 to 2017. She used the glaciological method, which involves observed data collected through stake and snow density measurement, and the energy balance method, using meteorological data from the Yala Glacier basecamp and Kyanjing, Langtang Valley. Acharya’s research findings show that Yala Glacier lost mass during the observed period.
She is an avid trekker and enjoys interacting with mountain communities about their changing environments and struggles; this drives her research on receding snowlines.
Abhijit Baidya, MS by Research in Glaciology
“The programme at KU is an integrated course involving remote sensing, hydrology, and programming languages, among other topics and technologies relevant to glaciology. It imparts different skillsets that students can use to their advantage in any field.”
Abhijit Baidya completed his MS by Research in Glaciology from KU in 2016. He has since been able to apply his knowledge and skill in several short-term development projects.
Having previously been interested in hydropower studies, Baidya shifted to glaciology to learn more about modelling. His thesis was on hydrological modelling using the SPHY model in the Tamur River basin. He is focused on improving his skills in modelling.
Abhijit Baidya believes hydrology is still a developing field in the Hindu Kush Himalaya and especially in Nepal, where extensive knowledge has not yet been produced to influence decision making on cryosphere monitoring and related policies. He is hopeful of contributing to the development of a vibrant, research-based society in the field.
(Photo: Chimi Seldon/ICIMOD)
Reeju Shrestha, MS by Research in Glaciology
“Cryosphere research is a vast subject. There is still much I have to learn about. After obtaining my MS degree, I will try to get more field experience before pursuing further studies.”
Reeju Shrestha graduated from KU’s MS by Research in Glaciology programme in December 2018 after successfully defending her thesis on the effect of debris on ice melt in Ponkar Glacier, Manang, Nepal, from 2016 to 2018. She wanted to contribute to the Ponkar Glacier database as most debris-covered glaciers, apart from Lirung Glacier, have not been extensively researched. She hopes that KU will be able to establish a long-term monitoring programme in Ponkar Glacier, thereby providing easier access to diverse research sites for its students.
Shrestha is a passionate trekker, likes socializing, and is always looking for new challenges.
Aman Thapa, MS by Research in Glaciology
Dupandehi, Butwal, Nepal
“I was always interested in studying snow and glaciers, but it is difficult to find glaciology courses in the region. When I heard about KU’s programme, I jumped at the opportunity. It puts me in the right track to pursue a career based on my interests.”
Aman Thapa graduated from KU’s MS by Research in Glaciology programme in December 2018. For his thesis, Thapa studied the glacier ice thickness measurement of glaciers in Tamur, Dudh Koshi, Marsyandi River basins, using surface velocity. Since it was a remote-sensing based research, he intensively worked on remote-sensing techniques and skills to use different satellite images. Thapa was the first student to study the velocity of glaciers at KU, although he did not have a wide range of samples for reference.
Thapa believes the challenging nature of glaciology, along with the costs of such courses, are reasons for limited glaciology research and students of glaciology in Nepal. However, he hopes the increasing visibility and accessibility of new glaciology research findings can inspire more students to pursue glaciology.
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The River Basins and Cryosphere programme aims to enhance socio-ecological resilience to environmental change.