Monitoring glaciers in Nepal

Posted on
07 October 2005

Katmandu, Nepal – WWF has donated a weather station to Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) to monitor climatic changes affecting glaciers in the Himalayas.
The US$12,000 automatic weather station (AWS) is to be installed on the Ngozumpa glacier, the longest glacier in Nepal, in Sagarmatha National Park in November. The AWS will record data, including solar radiation, relative humidity, air temperature, soil temperature, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, radiant heat, and precipitation. It will also collect data on glacier retreat.

In the past few decades global warming has had a significant impact on the high mountain environment — snow, glaciers, and permafrost are especially sensitive to changes in atmospheric conditions because of their proximity to melting conditions. According to a recent WWF report, glaciers in the Himalayan region are now receding at an average rate of 10-15 metres per year.
“Nepal is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change and we must be proactive about dealing with this global phenomenon that will affect everything from biodiversity to livelihoods in our country,” said Dr Chandra Gurung, WWF Nepal’s Country Representative. 

WWF has been working actively in Nepal on climate change issues, taking the lead in forming important nation-level networks, raising awareness, campaigning among various stakeholders, lobbying for policy change, and outlining adaptation strategies for vulnerable communities like in Sagarmatha. 
In addition to the weather station, WWF has also signed an agreement with the DHM and the Nepalese Society of Hydrology and Meteorology on joint climate change and glacier research in the Himalayas. 
“The agreement is commendable and it is our pleasure to continue efforts in Nepal’s climate change research,” said Dr Madan Lall Shrestha, Director General of Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology. 
Dr Isabelle Louis, Director of WWF’s Asia-Pacific programme, who was also present at the signing ceremony, congratulated the signatories and stressed the importance of joint climate change partnerships in countries like Nepal.
For futher information: 
Trishna Gurung, Communications Officer
WWF Nepal
Tel: +977 1 4434820