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To develop and implement cryosphere monitoring activities in a sustained manner, activities under the Initiative are categorized into three main components:
Activities under these three components ensure an interdisciplinary approach to developing comprehensive assessments of cryosphere water resources, cryosphere related disaster risks, and future water availability scenarios.
Satellite imagery collected and analysed over time can be used to assess glacier areas and advance/retreat rates. However, such information only provides partial insights into the health of a glacier. It is possible for a glacier to be advancing, extending further down a slope over time, and also thinning simultaneously such that the overall glacier volume remains unchanged. To fully assess stored water resources and/or the changes in water storage in glaciers over time, both glacier area and volume, generally referred to as glacier mass balance, are required.
The current status of benchmark glaciers and their responses to climatic variations are assessed through
ICIMOD maintains a multi-level remote sensing based observation system for snow and glacier monitoring, including:
Model applications are used to understand cryosphere-related processes, to fill data gaps and to extend observations spatially and temporally, including:
The River Basins and Cryosphere programme aims to enhance socio-ecological resilience to environmental change.