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5 Aug 2020 | Cryosphere

Virtual refresher training on field-based cryosphere monitoring held for Afghan partners

Chimi Seldon

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Virtual training underway in Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo: Naweed Ahmad Rahgozar/NWARA)

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has placed restrictions on mobility and public gatherings, our Cryosphere and SWaRMA initiatives have continued their monitoring and training activities virtually. Eight participants from Kabul University, the National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (NWARA) of Afghanistan, and our staff members based in Kabul, Afghanistan, attended a three-day virtual refresher course on field-based cryosphere monitoring conducted by our experts in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The participants were reacquainted with certain activities essential for monitoring activities: planning for the research expedition, conducting glacier mass balance stake measurement, maintaining and extending the stake network using a steam ice drill, downloading data from the automatic weather station and hydrological station and conducting routine maintenance of these stations, and managing field data.

Milad Dildar, an ICIMOD intern based at NWARA in Afghanistan, found the training as helpful as any physical training: “We covered both theory and practical lessons on field-based glacier monitoring.”

Testing out the team drill machine used for drilling into the ice for bamboo stake installation (Photo: Naweed Ahmad Rahgozar/NWARA)
Testing out the team drill machine used for drilling into the ice for bamboo stake installation (Photo: Naweed Ahmad Rahgozar/NWARA)


The participants are currently preparing for the annual field data collection expedition to Pir Yakh Glacier (August every year), and the training was a refresher course as the participants had previously attended a similar training and also applied the skills learned during the implementation of field activities in 2019. “Most of them had a basic idea of what is required for glacier monitoring. Otherwise, the task would have been a bit challenging,” shares Sharad Joshi, Cryosphere Analyst, who along with Tika Gurung, Research Associate Glaciologist, conducted the training.

Kabul University and NWARA are important partners in our field-based cryosphere monitoring activities in Afghanistan, which were initiated in 2019 with the establishment of Pir Yakh Glacier as the country’s first benchmark glacier.


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