WP3 Field investigations:
WP Lead: Professor Al Ramanathan, JNU. Other institutions: TERI, NVE

Objectives: 1) To collect mass balance, meteorological and hydrological data from two glaciers in the Western Himalaya (Figure 1) –Chhota Shigri (Figure 2) and Kolahoi. 2) To study the relationship between variations in precipitation and changes in snow/ice covered areas in western Himalaya. 3) To give input data to WP1, WP2 and WP3 and to contribute to WP0 on dissemination. NVE have long experience of glacier monitoring and modelling and there will be close co-operation and personnel exchange between institutions.

For the primary investigation, simultaneous monitoring of meteorological, glaciological and hydrological parameters will be carried out at the two identified benchmark glaciers in western Himalaya, providing a modelling framework for ground conditions.

Meteorological Measurements: To make an assessment of energy balance of the glaciated valley, Automatic Weather Stations consisting of sensors for wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, temperature, radiation and snow depth will be installed.
Glaciological Measurements: To estimate the mass balance of the glaciers, the glaciologic method (Kaser et. al., 2003) will be used, which involves accumulation and ablation measurements through drilling of stakes on the glacier surface and snow pit measurements.
Hydrological Measurements: To make an assessment of meltwater draining from the selected glacier valleys, discharge stations will be established. Experiments to measure the snow melt factor in the valley will be conducted to develop the hydrograph and separate various components based on seasonal variations in source dominance.

Note that hydrological measurements performed within the project and previous hydrological data collected by partners will be an importance source of data for the modelling. Data will also be obtained from IMD. Important glaciological data is published by the Geological Survey of India in the Glacial Inventory on Indian Himalaya. Hydrological data collected by private organisations, such as SN Power in India, may also be available to the project. As key institutions are involved in the project, either as partners collecting data or as workpackage leaders, this increases the likelihood of essential hydrological data being available for use.

Deliverables:1) Glacio/hydro/meteorological data to be used in workpackages 1, 2 and 4. 2) Scientific report on changes in the two study glaciers. 3) Field training in glaciological methods. 4) Scientific article on the response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change with emphasis on one or both of the study glaciers.

Map of the Chhota Shigri glacier

WP3 overview