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River Basins and Cryosphere Programme
The Cryosphere Initiative studies snow, ice, and permafrost in the HKH so that communities both upstream and downstream are secure and can thrive.
A more resilient HKH cryosphere through research and monitoring, informed policy making, and community engagement
River Basins and Cryosphere
Programme Coordinator (Ad-Interim)
The cryosphere provides a range of goods and services for mountain communities – contributing to the HKH region’s life and economy. We assess this asset and act on its related issues: water resource management, scenarios of future water availability, and disaster risks.
Linkages between the cryosphere and society are complex. It is unclear how cryospheric changes will impact communities and infrastructures in the future. We push transformative strategies for integrated risk assessment and management to protect HKH communities and their livelihoods from cryosphere hazards such as glacial lake outburst floods, landslides, rockfalls, and ice and snow avalanches.
We have joined hands with our implementing partners in Nepal and Bhutan to establish a Cryosphere Monitoring Programme (CMP), thereby initiating sustainable cryosphere monitoring in the region.
We share data and knowledge on the region through our Regional Cryosphere Knowledge Hub and HKH CryoHub. We build the capacities of partners to monitor the cryosphere and develop practical solutions and policies to manage water resources and risk.
Improve knowledge and understanding of the HKH cryosphere and the impacts of climate change on water resources and hazards
Build regional capacity for field-based observation and monitoring, remote sensing-based observations, and modelling of cryosphere and related processes in the region
Integrate traditional knowledge of high-mountain communities into scientific research and decision making
The Cryosphere Initiative focuses on the monitoring of glaciers, snow, permafrost, glacial lakes, and glaciohydrology with an emphasis on in situ measurements, remote sensing, and modelling.
NEWS AND FEATURES
We have a deep history of work across a broad range of issues enabling sustainable development in the complex environment of the HKH. We have been protecting the pulse for over three decades.
A Glacial Lake Outburst Flood, or GLOF, is sudden release of water from a lake fed by glacier melt that has formed at the side, in front, within, beneath, or on the surface of a glacier.
There are an estimated 54,000 glaciers in the HKH. These glaciers cover 60,000 square kilometers and serve as a major source of the water in the region’s rivers, including as much as 40 percent in the Indus River system.
The Cryosphere Initiative works with its partners to strengthen the capacities of partner institutions in regional member countries and to co-produce knowledge.
EVENTS AROUND THE HKH
The Cryosphere Initiative collaborates with different national and regional partners to study and protect the HKH cryosphere.
You will find publications produced or related to this Initiative in HimalDoc, our publications repository. These resources include journal articles, books, book chapters, research reports, working papers, brochures, information sheets, and publicity materials, among other products.
Access cryosphere resources ranging from datasets and science applications to the latest Cryosphere Initiative publications
WE EMBRACE DIVERSITY
Both internally and externally, our multicultural staff and partners are our greatest asset. They provide us with a broad perspective across disciplines and offer us localized knowledge like no other.
The collaborative HKH CryoHub is a platform to support knowledge generation and exchange, learning, and networking. It seeks to create better-connected practitioners and decision makers who can collaboratively craft policies relevant to the cryosphere in the HKH.
Read more about the Cryosphere Initiative's impactful work.