Abstracts submitted for the CHARIS meeting, Thimphu, Bhutan June 5-7, 2018

Rysbek Satylkanov
Inom Normatov
Severskiy, M. Shahgedanova, A. Yegorov, V. Kapitsa, L. Kogutenko, N. Kasatkin, A. Kokarev, Z. Usmanova
Mohammad Naim Eqrar
Abeer Ahmad Sajood
Mujahid Tanveer Ahmad, Syed Hammad Ali
Ramanathan , Naveen Pandey, Arindan Mandal and Soheb M
Rajesh Kumar, Shaktiman Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Atar Singh and Anshuman Bhardwaj
Rijan Bhakta Kayastha
Rakesh Kayastha
Dendup Tshering
Tshering Tashi
Chhimi Dorji

The CHARIS Project results of the resumption of international research of Tien Shan Glaciers and basic activities of the Tien Shan High Mountain Scientific Center

Rysbek Satylkanov, CHARIS-KG project manager Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower of the National Academy of Science Kyrgyz Republic
E-mail: r.satylkanov@gmail.com

Kyrgyz team of the CHARIS project “Establishing a Collaborative Effort to Assess the Role of Glaciers and Seasonal Snow Cover in the Hydrology of the Mountains of High Asia” USAID performed daily ground instrument observations and weekly observations of glacier Kara Batkak (Inner Tien Shan) with the purpose of assessing the contributions of snow and ice at the common flow of the Chon Kyzyl Suu river (Issyk-Kul lake’s basin). In the framework of the project the following tasks were accomplished:

  • Restoration of complex of glaciological and hydrological instrumental observations on the Kara Batkak glacier.
  • Restoration of logistics of the Tien Shan high-mountainous scientific center (TShHMSC).
  • Preparation of national personnel for work in the field of glaciology and hydrology.
  • Evaluation of the contribution of snow and glacier ice in the formation of river flow.

To achieve these objectives the following methods of monitoring and studying were used:

1. Meteorological

  • Quantitative determination of the values of meteorological elements and assessment of the qualitative characteristics of atmospheric phenomena.

2. Glaciological

  • Remote (with the help of space photos) and ground-based geodetic and photogrammetric methods for studying glaciers
  • Geophysical methods: radar sounding of glaciers
  • Field instrument study with graphic and statistical data processing.

3. Hydrological

  • Observations of fluctuations of level and discharge of water resources. Run on the pile water gauges stations “Kashka Tor source”.

The following results were obtained:

  • Trained young local professionals, who can work independently in the field of glaciology and hydrology.
  • The logistics of TShHMSC has been restored.
  • A network of measurement points for the mass balance components was created on the Kara Batkak , Sary Tor and Bordu glaciers .
  • The results of calculations of the main sources of the Kashka Tor source river by the genetic decomposition of the hydrograph for the period 2013-2017 have been obtained.
  • Presentation of the balance of mass of Inner Tien Shan glaciers to the WGMS Zurich (interrupted since 2014) has been resumed.
  • Measuring by longitudinal and transverse profile of thickness of ice glaciers Kara Batkak and Bordeaux (array Akshyrak) has been produced.
  • Measuring network (AMS and gauging stations) of climatic and hydrological parameters of the Chon Kyzyl Suu river basin with the participation of international scientific partners from the USA, EU, RF, PRC and Japan has been created.

We consider that one of the main results of the CHARIS Project is participation of IWP in glaciological and paleoglaciology studies within PEER-4 project (Project “Water resources response on glacier dynamics in Central Asia transboundary river basins”) and obtaining the approval in the first phase of PEER-7 project

(Project “To develop a methodology to assess ice resources in open and buried glaciers of Central Asia on the example of the Tien Shan and Pamir within the territory of Kyrgyzstan”).

The implementation stages, results and recommendations of the CHARIS project in the basins of the Transboundary Amu Darya tributaries

Inom Normatov, Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower, and Ecology, Tajikistan

[could not attend]

Our activities in the framework of the CHARIS project was to develop research, applied and field work in the basins of three rivers – the main tributaries of the Transboundary Amu Darya River, namely Zeravshan, Vakhsh and Pyanj rivers.

In my presentation, I cover the main areas of research on river basins, the methodology of work and the list of publications that highlight the main results of the project.

1. Zeravshan River Basin

In the Zeravshan river basin, one of the priority areas of research was the GEOECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF CONTAMINATION OF SURFACE WATER AND SNOW, which included the following tasks:

  • Dynamics of snow cover formation and analysis;
  • Investigation of the chemical composition of melt water from glaciers of the Zeravshan River Basin
  • Hydrochemistry of the main tributaries on the upstream of the Zeravshan River;
  • Study of processes of change in groundwater composition during infiltration of surface waters;
  • Investigation of the impact of wastewater from Anzob mining and processing plant on the pollution of the river Zarafshan;
  • Main sources of water pollution in downstream of the Zeravshan River;
  • The impact of drainage water on water quality of the Zeravshan River;
  • Risks related to water emergencies in the Zeravshan river basin.

In the basin of the Zeravshan River, activity was carried out including expeditionary work in the direction of “Monitoring of the impact of changes in meteorological conditions on the formation of river runoff and the state of glaciers in the Zeravshan river basin” by the solution of the following problems:

  • Assessment of the impact of hydrometeorological conditions change of the Zeravshan river basin on water resources;
  • Monitoring of temperature and precipitation change dynamics in the Zeravshan river basin for the period 1931- 2016;
  • The effects of meteorological conditions on the operation mode of the Zeravshan River Basin glaciers;
  • Monitoring of hydrological characteristics, dynamics of changes in the water flow of the Zeravshan River and tributaries for the period 1931-2016;
  • Assessment of the hydropower potential of the Zeravshan River basin;
  • The study of the features of emergency situations associated with meteorological conditions in the Zeravshan river basin;
  • Risks related to extreme water factors in the Zeravshan river basin. Socio-economic and environmental aspects of emergencies in the Zeravshan Valley;
  • Development of recommendations to reduce the impact of emergencies on the ecological balance of the Zeravshan river basin;

Methodological, theoretical and empirical research bases

At the decision of tasks of the project are widely used:

  • statistical methods for data generalizations, systematization and processing ;
  • water and snow sampling methods for complexly physical – chemical analysis and isotope hydrology;
  • isotope hydrology method;
  • data measurements of dissolved oxygen, nitrite nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium sodium, iron phosphate, silicon dioxide, zinc ions, mercury, arsenic, antimony, chromium and a number of other chemical elements and compounds.

The Data Bank of chemical and analytical measurements obtained from the results of studies in the Zeravshan river basin for the period 2013 – 2017 includes more than 26,000 records of the concentrations of pollutants and physic-chemical properties of environmental objects.

2. Vakhsh River Basin

The Vakhsh River is 38% of all hydropower resources in the Amu Darya basin with a potential energy resource of 28.6 million kW (250 billion kWh/year of electricity). The presence of such potential resources undoubtedly indicates a decisive role for both the economy of Tajikistan and the Central Asian region.

It is quite clear that the development of the hydropower potential of the Vakhsh River is accompanied by the construction of a number of medium and large reservoirs along the river. Naturally, the appearance of reservoirs can have a significant impact on the formation of the microclimate of the terrain and thus on the development of agricultural varieties.

In the Vakhsh River basin on the framework of the CHARIS project, works developed to study the influence of the Nurek reservoir on the formation of the microclimate of the terrain, the study of the transport of suspended sediment and hydrochemistry of the Vakhsh River and its tributaries included the following tasks:

  • Collection and systematization of meteorological data of coastal regions to the Nurek reservoir;
  • The definition of efficiency criteria for the construction of hydropower plants with reservoirs;
  • Quantitative determination of suspended sediment runoff and their comparison with the change of water flow rate in rivers;
  • Comprehensive study of the chemical composition of the waters of the Vakhsh River and its tributaries in the zones of formation and dispersion;
  • Use of isotope hydrology for water supply sources identification of tributaries of the Vakhsh River;
  • Study of interaction of surface and groundwater processes in the Vakhsh river basin by use of isotope hydrology.

Main result of research within CHARIS project in Kazakhstan

I. Severskiy, M. Shahgedanova, A. Yegorov, V. Kapitsa, L. Kogutenko, N. Kasatkin,
A. Kokarev, Z. Usmanova, Institute of Geography, Kazakhstan

The research was carried out in the following directions: 1. Ice and snow melting; 2. Distribution of snow cover in the least studied glacial-nival zone; 3. Dynamics of glaciers in transboundary basins of Kazakhstan for the last decades; 4. Glacier runoff and its impact to the regional water resources formation.

Methods and research results

Melting of snow and ice was analyzed based on the melting coefficient which was calculated by the regular measurements of the 120 wooden sticks evenly allocated in the ablation area of Tuyuksu glacier. The data of 2008-2012 years was analyzed. According to the results the melting coefficient is increasing proportionally with rising of solar radiance duration and decreasing with rising of cloudiness. Average melting snow and ice coefficients was equal to -2.3 and – 4.61 mm/oC of average daily temperature respectively.

Distribution of snow cover in glacier-nival zone, where there are no hydrometeorological stations, is one of the unsolved questions. Its solution is possible on the basis of combination of temperature remote sensing methods and ground observations at the net of snow measurements stations.

The dates of snow cover disappearing at the control sites were determined by MODIS satellite images.

The sum of positive temperature before the last day of snow cover at the elevation of the control points was calculated by the data of the nearest meteorological station and temperature gradient in that valley. The maximum of snow-water equivalent (SWE) was estimated based on the snow melting coefficient.

The changes of glaciers were estimated based on the comparison of data of unified by the content glacier inventories. Changes of glacial systems of Balkash-Alakol basin, which includes Ile-Kungey glacier system (6 glacier inventories from 1955 to 2014), Zhetysu (Jungarian) Alatau glacier systems (7 glacier inventories for the same period) on the Kazakhstan’s territory and Upper-Ile glacier system or Chinese part of Ili river basin (inventories from 3 different years in the time period from 1962/63 to 2012), is one of the most studied.

According to that research the glaciers of these three glacier systems decreased linearly with the average rate 0.73% for area and 1 % for ice volume for the period 1955-2014. The most of glaciers of this region can disappear till the end of the century if the rate of glacier reduction remains the same.

Based on analysis of glaciers inventories data, the general relationship for mountain-glacial areas was determined. According to the results of research the share of glaciers area of particular basin in common glaciation area of the corresponding glacial system is stable in time. That provides possibility for quick monitoring of the state of glacial systems by morphometric characteristics of glaciers of particular basin. The error of calculation of glaciation area of the entire glacial system does not exceed ±5% when area of glaciers of particular basin is more 10 km2. This method was used in studies of the dynamics of glaciers of the transboundary Ile, Yertis (Irtysh) and Syrdaria river basins for the period of 60 years.

Glacier runoff and its impact to the regional water resources formation was studied on the basis of analysis of series of unified glacier inventories of Balkash-Alakol basin and data rivers runoff measured at the hydrological stations located by the exit of 16 rivers from the mountain area for the period from 1955/56 to 2014.

Based on analysis of data of Tuyuksu glacier mass balance monitoring for the last 14 years, there was proposed the method of separated evaluation of snow and ice components of glacier runoff depending on the ELA elevation (the higher ELA, the greater is the share of waters of melted multi-year ice in the total volume of glacial runoff). The estimation of the dynamics of glacier runoff of Balkash-Alakol basin for the last 60 years was made on the basis of this methodology.

According to the research results, the share of runoff from melting of multi-year ice is small and with rare exception is less than 10% of the total annual river runoff. But the total glacier runoff makes up to 40-50% of the river runoff for the vegetation period, providing the possibility of existence of the irrigated agriculture system in Central Asia and that is a kind of guarantee of water and food security for the countries of Central Asia. Under these conditions, the forecasted disappearing of main part of glaciers of the region till the end of the century can provoke the problem of water deficit with corresponding consequences for the water, food and ecological security problems even with the threat of regional security.

Climate change impact and sustainable water resources management in Afghanistan

Mohammad Naim Eqrar, Professor of Kabul University, and member of Supreme Council of Water and Land of Afghanistan (SCoWLA)

Key words: Potential water resources, climate change impact on water resources, water resources management, coordination and collaboration across the basin.

One of the most urgent challenges for 21st century is to ensure sustainable food and water security in the face of population and income increased a changing climate, and growing demands for scarce water resources. This enormous challenge, which has significant political, environmental, social and economic implications, plays itself out in different ways and in different contexts.

Afghanistan unfortunately falls in the group of countries highly exposed to negative consequences of climate change. The impacts of climate change are thus expected to include an increased frequency and severity of climate-induced disasters such as flooding, drought, landslides, and glacial lake outflows. The expected increase of precipitation will cause flash flooding during the winter and spring seasons and on the other hand a decrease of 41% precipitation in summer and autumn will result in serous drought and water deficit in Afghanistan. The average annual temperature is increasing by (2.5° – 4°C) in Afghan territory and is expected to lead to increased volumes of snowmelt (and expected early melting o the snow covers), resulting in flash floods in spring season and associated landslides.

Water availability in Afghanistan is largely influenced by population growth, climate change, and alteration in the land use pattern because of the rapid urbanization and change in industrialization. By 2030, Afghanistan water demand is projected to increase by 40% mainly due to growing demands from agriculture, industry, mines, generation of hydropower, domestic consumption, and environmental requirements. Competing demands impose difficult allocation decisions and limit the expansion of sectors critical to sustainable development, particularly in terms of food production. The competition of water use among the water users increases the risk of localized conflicts and continued inequities in access to services with significant impacts on economic development in Afghanistan.

While Afghanistan increasingly needs to take initiatives in order to tackle its forthcoming water scarcity challenge, and to mitigate the devastating effects of droughts and floods, it cannot ignore the regional dimensions of its internal water management. As the majority of Afghan rivers are shared with several downstream riparian countries, major development projects in Afghanistan’s river basins will have to take into consideration the potential consequences for its neighbors. Engaging dialogue through appropriate institutional platforms should be encouraged to avoid unnecessary tensions.

Furthermore, the foreseen increasing surface water demand driven mainly by population growth logically puts an increasing stress on the supply-demand balance. Predictions show that some river basins such as the Helmand and Harirod will pass below the scarcity threshold within few decades, while the Northern Basin will face absolute scarcity in the very near future. Dealing with this issue will involve improved water productivity via better efficiency of water use for food production but also, where possible, improved supply via storages and dams.

Glaciers in Afghanistan provide vital water resources to the region, especially for irrigation. Mainly glaciers are concentrated in the highest parts of the three major basins, very few direct observations of the glaciers have done, most of the locations were identified through maps and satellite imagery, detailed maps do not exist for most of the glacial deposits, close cooperation and technical assistance of ICIMOD and CHARIS groups are mostly important to be continued in a future for more development of glacial deposit in Afghanistan.

Groundwater, which has traditionally been developed and utilized for irrigation purposes through the use of Karezes, springs and shallow hand dug open wells, should also seriously be considered as a priority for development and protection. Despite an overall positive picture in terms of availability/use balance, analysis show that in some river basins, over-extraction is already happening.

The Afghan government needs to establish a cohesive platform for stronger collaboration and coordination between Afghan technical staffs, academia, policy makers and neighboring countries. The aim is to identify the existing needs, gaps of knowledge, expertise, skills with modern technology and those sharing expertise and knowledge gaps are being explored to understand feasibility of implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) for sustainable management of water resources across the basins.

Glacier mass balance measurements in Afghanistan

Abeer Ahmad Sajood, Researcher Snow and Glaciers, Geo-Science Faculty Kabul University Researcher Snow and Glaciers, Researches Organization for Development National Correspondent of World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) for Afghanistan

Overall glaciers are receding across the globe and the same condition is applicable to Afghanistan glaciers which are located mostly in the high plateau of Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains in northern part of Afghanistan. Remote sensing studies in 2016 discovered more than 18% reduction in the area of Afghanistan’s glaciers (ICIMOD/WRD Glacier Mapping Team, Ministry of Water and Energy of Afghanistan) but there is no data of practical work or mass balance measurements available. Afghanistan is in the arid category with most of the rainfall in winter and early spring; the streams are fed by snow mostly from glaciers in the other seasons.

To understand the hydrological potentials Afghanistan and its consequent associated advantage and disasters, regular and long term glacier monitoring and mass balance measurements are required.

The Geoscience Faculty of Kabul University started observation of the upper Kabul river basin’s glaciers to perform long term mass balance measurement to provide accurate/reliable data to relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Water and Energy, Ministry of Agricultural and Livestock, National Environmental Protection Agency and Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority to make plans and take appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures in future.

Glacier behaviour under climate change & their impact on water resources of Pakistan and role of GMRC-WAPDA

Mujahid Tanveer Ahmad, Syed Hammad Ali, Glacier Monitoring & Research Centre (GMRC) Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
Corresponding E-mail: mujahid.gmrc@gmail.com, syedhammadali2001@yahoo.com

Glaciers’ melting under climate change is emerging as one of the biggest challenges for planners and managers of water resources and agriculture around the world. Pakistan is an agriculture based country and is highly reliant on the Indus irrigation system for its irrigated agriculture from melt water originating from large scale blue gold glaciers’ reserves, and may be one of most climate change-affected countries. The Indus basin in Pakistan contains the largest continuous irrigation system in the world, and millions of people are dependent on the food produced in this area. The Karakoram mountain range plays a crucial role in sustaining the Indus basin’s water resources. Glacial and snow melt are important hydrological processes because these are the main water sources for this region. Contribution of snow & ice in river inflows is 70% for entire Indus Basin and 85% for Indus main stream. Any changes in glaciers behavior will have direct impacts on agriculture and food security in Pakistan.

WAPDA in collaboration with Canadian universities carried out snow and glacier field studies in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) from 1985 to 1989 under the Pakistan Snow and Ice Hydrology Project (PSIHP) to understand the hydrology of the Upper Indus Basin (UIB). Phase-II of PSIHP was launched from 1991 to 1997. WAPDA, in collaboration with Canadian experts, established a high-altitude (2100-4700 meters above sea level) network comprising 20 weather stations for collection & transmission of hourly data on temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, wind, solar radiation and snow water equivalent. The Snow and Ice Hydrology Section of Hydrology and Research (H&R) Directorate was upgraded to establish the Glacier Monitoring & Research Centre (GMRC) in November 2012 to carry out the glacier monitoring activities.

The high mountain glaciers of Asia are generally losing mass over the past decade but the glaciers located in the Karakoram region are stable or some of them are even gaining mass. This phenomenon is named as Karakoram Anomaly by the researchers. This Karakoram anomaly has shown its impact on the flows of the Indus River.There has been an insignificant decrease in the annual average flows of Indus River, decrease in the summer flows and increase in the winter flows in the analysis done by GMRC. Similarly the results of the study conducted on Barpu, Biafo and Passu glaciers reveal no significant change in ablation rate and glacier velocity as compared with the results of 1985. Also the data show that the ablation rate drastically reduces with an increase in the thickness of the debris cover, especially over 2 cm.

GMRC had been established to build the capacity for decadal forecast but till now its activities were limited to basic data collection. GMRC WAPDA is now undertaking the expansion of its Automatic Weather Stations Network with grant assistance from KfW Germany. Under this project 30 new weather stations in UIB will be installed along with 13 new river level stations at streams coming from snouts of major glaciers to study their melt behavior under future climate change scenarios.

In this regard one of the glaciologists of GMRC, Mr. Syed Hammad Ali has completed his M. S. in Glaciology from Nepal with scholarship from CHARIS. During his course work he studied the projected period of future climate from 2016 to 2050 for Hunza River basin as his MS Research Project. It was concluded from the research that for both emission scenarios RCP 4.5 & RCP 8.5 temperature shows an increasing trend of 0.034 oC and 0.033 oC per year. Likewise, the projected precipitation for the same period (2016-2050) for both emission scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 shows no significant trend with increasing values 1.67 and 1.00 per year respectively. Though both emission scenarios are not showing a drastic increase in temperature and precipitation data over the years, the occurrence of the number of extreme events like higher precipitation is increasing in RCP8.5 emission scenario in few years. It was also observed from the study that there will be no drastic changes in the future discharge in the Hunza River basin for both emission scenarios. Different researchers concluded 60 to 70% snow and ice melt contributions in different time periods by using different models and techniques. Actual snow and ice contribution will be given after isotope studies in UIB which is already in process in collaboration with Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Further, GMRC WAPDA has made collaboration with different international organizations and institutions like ICIMOD, CSIRO-Australia, ITP-CAS China etc., with the aim to identify the existing needs, gaps of knowledge, expertise, skills with modern technology. This sharing of expertise and knowledge gaps are being explored to understand feasibility of implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management for sustainable management of water resources across the basins.

Key Words: GMRC, High mountain glaciers,Hunza Basin, Indus Basin, Karakoram Anomaly, Upper Indus Basin, WAPDA.

Long term mass balance and hydrological studies in Chhota Shigri glacier, Indian Himalaya

Ramanathan, Naveen Pandey, Arindan Mandal and Soheb M
School of Environmental Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067
Correspondence to: alrjnu@gmail.com

Various studies on the Himalayan glaciers have been recently initiated as they are of particular interest in terms of future water supply, regional climate change and sea-level rise as well as the catastrophic mountain hazard such as glacial lake outburst floods. In 2002, a long-term monitoring program was initiated on Chhota Shigri glacier (Himachal Pradesh) for multidisciplinary studies under the framework of DST, Govt. of India. Now the glacier has become one of the best-studied glaciers as a climate change indicator in Hindu-Kush-Himalayan region. Over the time, we have expanded our network to monitor few more glaciers to understand the influence of different climate regime and circulations such as Indian summer monsoon and mid-latitude westerlies. Our results shows that the Chhota Shigri glacier has lost mass between 2002 and 2016 (last 14 years) with a cumulative glaciological MB of -7.72 m w.e. corresponding to a mean annual glacier-wide MB of -0.55 m w.e. a-1 . The lower ablation part close to 4425 m a.s.l. (excluding debris-covered area) experienced the highest melting throughout the entire measurement period (since 2002) with cumulative value of ~50 m w.e. Melting at lowest part of the ablation zone is reduced by -1 to -2 m w.e. a-1 regardless of its altitude due to the “debris effect”, which protects the ice beneath the debris-cover from direct solar radiation and surface atmosphere. The timing and intensity of snowfall events during the summer monsoon season (July-September) play a key role on surface albedo, in turn on melting, and thus are among the most important drivers controlling the annual mass balance of the glacier. Proglacial runoff induced by melting shows increased discharge over past decade where surficial melting has dominant contribution (>65%) followed by sub-glacial melt (<35%) during peak ablation season. It is highly recommended to keep maintaining and measuring the longest series of MB of Chhota Shigri glacier to use this glacier as a benchmark for future climate change studies.

Acknowledgement: CHARIS, DST-Govt. of India

Changes in glacio-hydrological processes in Shaune Garang Catchment, Western Himalaya

Rajesh Kumar*, Shaktiman Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Atar Singh and Anshuman Bhardwaj
Dept. of Environmental Science, School of Basic Sciences and Research, Sharda University, India
*Email: rajeshkrsh.in@gmail.com; rajesh.kumar@sharda.ac.in

The temperature in Indian Himalayan Region has been observed and is predicted to rise. The effect of rising temperature is already evident on snow and glacier melt and form of precipitation. In the present study an attempt has been made to analyze impacts of these changes on different glacio-hydrological processes in Shaune Garang, a glacierized catchment in Western Himalaya. The comparison of glacier area between 1980 and 2014 indicate a clear reduction of glacierized area from 33% in 1980 to 24% in 2014 of the total catchment area upstream of discharge gauge. Despite the significant decrease in glacierized area, the debris-covered fraction of the glacierized area in the catchment reduced by just around 1% during 1980-2014. The Shaune Garang glacier was observed to lose mass (-0.62 m w.e for 2013-14 and -0.58 m w.e. for 2014-15). A degree-day based glacio-hydrological model was developed, validated and applied in Shaune Garang catchment for basin wide mass balance discharge reconstruction. The degree-day factor (DDF) was estimated separately for snow covered (5.1±0.3 mm °C-1 day-1) and debris free ice covered (8.1±0.2 mm °C-1 day-1) area. For debris covered ice, separate DDFs were estimated for four different altitudinal bands varying from 2.6±0.4 mm °C-1 day-1 (4370-4573 m) to 9.3±0.3 mm °C-1 day-1 (4981-5185 m). The reconstructed mass balance using the model showed an average loss of 0.89 m w.e. per year (2001-2008) with slight mass gain during 2001-02 and 2004-05. The long-term discharge showed slight decrease (1985-2008) primarily caused by decrease in the percentage cover of glacierized area in the catchment. The assessment of percentage contribution of different components in the reconstructed discharge suggests that, snow melt stands for 33% and ice melt stands for 30% while the rest is contributed by rain and base-flow. The sediment load in melt season discharge from the catchment was observed to increase from 30 t day-1 (1981-1991) to around 43 t day-1 (2014-15). In addition, the physical weathering rate was also observed to increase by around 84 t km-2 year-1 during this period. The analysis of the concentration of different ions in the melt water suggests dominance of Ca2+ and Mg2+ cations and HCO3- anion.

Keywords: glacio-hydrology, degree-day factor, mass balance, discharge, hydro-chemistry, sediment load

CHARIS role with students in the M. S. Degree in glaciology at KU, Nepal

Rijan Bhakta Kayastha, Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal

The M.S. by Research in Glaciology program at Kathmandu University, Nepal is a new program started to produce young researchers who can work on the Himalayan glaciers and help to fulfill the data gap in this region. It was started in September 2011. Initially the program is supported by the Cryosphere Monitoring Project supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway through the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). The Contribution of High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) Project has supported students from its partner countries since 2012. The first batch of students supported by the CHARIS project are Mr. Arian and Mr. Rasouli, both are faculty members of Kabul University, Afghanistan. Then three students from Pakistan; two from Karakorum International University (KIU) and one from Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA); two from Nepal and one from India (Jawaharlal Nehru University) are supported by CHARIS Project for their two year M. S. Degree program. Other four students from Sharda University, India studied one semester theoretical course and one more faculty member from Kabul University, Afghanistan is studying one semester course in Kathmandu University, Nepal. All graduates are contributing in their respective institutions, universities and research institutions in the field of cryosphere in respective countries.

Role of CHARIS Project in cryospheric studies at Kathmandu University, Nepal

Rakesh Kayastha, Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal

The Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) project was initiated by the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA with the objective to understand the availability and status of water resource in High Mountain Asia through collaboration with the regional institutions. This program helped to promote cryospheric research in this region and capacity building of local institutions. CHARIS supported students have carried out different research for their M. S. by Research in Glaciology program in Kathmandu University. These researchers have carried out research on glacio-hydrological modeling in the different basins of Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Central Himalaya regions. The other studies include: snow simulation using the SeNorge Model in the central Himalaya and glacier ice thickness distribution modelling. The Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC) at Kathmandu University has initiated monitoring Ponkar Glacier, Manang in central Himalaya, Nepal since 2016. A precipitation and weather stations network was established to understand the local meteorological variability along Dudh Khola basin. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey is carried out to estimate the glacier ice thickness of the lower portion of the glacier. Similarly, for the topographic survey Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Differential Global Positioning System (dGPS) are used to estimate the down wasting of Ponkar Glacier. Regular and periodic field visits are arranged to assess the ice ablation under different debris thicknesses. In particular, CHARIS project has contributed in terms of using advance technologies in cryospheric research, generating skillful researchers and their contributions in the field of cryospheric research and development.

CHARIS Project support to Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan

Dendup Tshering, Centre for Science & Environmental (CSER)
Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan

After signing the contract agreement with University of Colorado Boulder, USA to become a partner for Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice & Snow (CHARIS), Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan has benefitted immensely not only in terms of human capacity development but also in establishing the state-of-art water chemistry laboratory in Bhutan. Through this establishment, Sherubtse College now is well equipped for conducting any kind of water chemistry analysis including stable water isotopes. The laboratory results were compared with Arikaree Environmental Laboratory (erstwhile Kiowa lab) for duplicate samples and correlation was found out to be significant. Through CHARIS support, the College has also installed Campbell Scientific Automatic Weather Station (AWS) and GIS lab instruments on campus.

Glacier mass balance records from Bhutan Himalayas

Tshering Tashi, CSD, National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology, Bhutan

Glaciers worldwide are retreating and similar trends are observed in the Himalayas. Bhutan glaciers lies in the eastern part of the Himalayas. There are over 850 glaciers (Bajracharya et al., 2014) in the Northern frontiers of Bhutan but no long term measurements are available. Following the 1994 Lugge Tsho disaster due to partial outburst causing huge flood downstream, the monitoring of few glaciers and glacier lakes were initiated mainly to understand the cryosphere risk in Bhutan. Long-term snow and glacier measurements are still considered as scarce in the Bhutan Himalaya, partly due to lack of resources as well as inaccessibility of most of the glaciers. However, it deemed such studies are an important component to understand impact of climate change, hydrological modeling, water resource assessment and to understand the risk associated with cryosphere. The Cryosphere Services Division under National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) is nation’s nodal agency with mandate to study and monitor cryosphere (snow, glaciers, glacier lakes) and its associated risks to implement appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures. Currently, the Division is monitoring two (Thana and Gangjula) glaciers conducting net mass balance measurements that are suitable as a benchmark glaciers for Bhutan. So far, the division has mass balance data from these two glaciers of around 10 years

Dendup Tshering, Centre for Science and Environmental Research (CSER), Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan

Use of computer models and water security index for integrated water resources management in Bhutan

Chhimi Dorji, ChhimiD Consulting, Environmental, Energy and Water Resources Consulting, Thimphu, Bhutan

Use of computer models for water resources management is not only cost effective, faster and accurate, but it is also the only way to ascertain the implications of certain causes in the future. Rapid development of computing capacities, availability of more and better satellite images, need to understand climate change implications and enhanced GIS system has lead to use of computer models for water resources studies. Computer models such as HEC HMS, HEC RAS and WEAP had been used for analysis of water resources availability, flood hazard mapping and water resources allocation respectively in Bhutan. These results combined with the Bhutan Water Security Index (BWSI) are recent tools developed for monitoring progress and implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management in Bhutan.

GIS with satellite images, land cover information, river flow data and relevant climate data including both historical and future predictions from various sources are used to set up, calibrate and validate the models. Preliminary results from the models for different river basins indicate that there are not much of water resources issues in general in Bhutan even with increasing population, industrial growth or climate change. However, micro level challenges and impacts are presented that would require proper management and interventions in the form of improved management and governance strategies.

Key words: IWRM, Bhutan, Water Resources Management, Computer Models, Water Security Index.