The CHARIS project concluded in March 2019. These website pages are now static. The website will remain online through at least 2019.
The CHARIS project and the Asia bureau of USAID organized two events in December 2018, in Washington, DC
The first, Sharing Research Experiences Regarding Asia’s High Mountains, Friday December 7, brought together invited USAID and other government agencies to learn about the CHARIS project and to share results across High Mountain Asia (HMA) with research groups having cross-cutting themes. Sessions included presentations of CHARIS project results, results of CHARIS work funded in eastern Himalaya and Central Asia, cross-boundary studies, population/water source studies, results of dust and black carbon field work, identifying potential areas of collaboration across USAID and NASA funded projects, and gathering new ideas about how to better meet USAID’s mandate to conduct “Research on the Pathway to Self Reliance.”
The second meeting on Wednesday December 12th, Securing the Third Pole: Glaciers, Snowpacks, and Water Vulnerability in High Asia, at the Wilson Center, was a discussion with USAID-funded researchers, international scientists, water program managers, and policymakers about the implications of changing snow and ice resources for water security in High Asia. An expert panel of international scientists summarized recent findings about High Asia’s snow and ice-dominated water supplies. Presentations followed from NGO and government officials working on water security in Asia regarding operational use of hydrologic research, and where the programmatic priorities lie within their respective institutions.
Over the past three summers, Cholpon Minbaeva, University of Colorado CHARIS team member, conducted field studies in Kyrgyzstan. In summer 2016 she conducted local scale surveys in communities on the drivers of water stress along the 440 km Naryn River basin. In summer 2017 she surveyed resettled and non-resettled “downstream” communities. And in July-August 2018 she examined the role of “upstream” and “downstream” gravitational canals in both resettled and non-resettled communities. Her purpose, through interviews and door-to door questionnaires, was to assess the situation of communities because of changes in water supplies in the last 15-20 years. In larger communities (population > 200,000, Naryn, Toktogul, Jalal-Abad), Minbaeva interviewed government officials (local government representatives, district and provincial water managers). In small communities (average 300 households, population < 20,000), she surveyed local residents door-to-door, deliberately choosing interviewees based on the quality of data they possess (i.e. recognized informal leaders, elders with memories of social events that occurred in the community). She observed problems in converting large-scale Soviet agricultural systems into small-scale family-owned farms.
Preliminary results show that water is primarily needed for drinking and irrigation, not for other forms of economy. Clean drinking water is a common underlying problem in all communities. The amount of water is not an issue. Nor are the canals, the form of irrigation used to access water, an issue. The main concern is the ability to maintain existing infrastructure and/or solve and overcome their limitations. The lack of centrally controlled water management and infrastructure systems (i.e., government) is problematic. Each city and village functions independently to determine drinking and irrigation water access, including new developing communities.
The University of Colorado CHARIS project held its 6th annual meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan, hosted by the Centre for Science and Environmental Research (CSER), Sherubtse College, from June 5-7, 2018. The meeting was attended by 43 participants (31 internationals & 12 Bhutanese, including 3 female participants and 3 female participants from the U.S. government) from nine different countries. The participants were research scientists, PhD scholars, US government employees (USAID and US State Department), and water resource managers.
This meeting was preceded by a two-day training session, “Use of remote sensing and GIS techniques for geoscience applications: an introductory workshop,” taught by Adina Racoviteanu and Mary Jo Brodzik of the CHARIS project, with 23 participants (11 women and 12 men) representing eight Bhutanese agencies and two Indian institutions.
On Day One the CHARIS lead partners (see https://nsidc.org/charis/charis-people-partners and Abstracts submitted for the CHARIS meeting, Thimphu, Bhutan June 5-7, 2018 for partner abstracts) presented their recent research results that have advanced the understanding of mountain water resources and enhanced water management in their respective nations. In addition, the presentations highlighted how their results contributed directly to the goals of the CHARIS project. The presentations also provided examples of how CHARIS support and capacity building have been of direct benefit to partner institutions. An afternoon break-out session provided forums for topic-specific discussion of best practices and lessons learned for conducting snow and ice hydrologic research in High Asia.
Day Two leveraged the presence of water resource managers and stakeholders in attendance to focus discussions on water resource management, and the importance of communicating science results to both the public and policy makers. Specifically, discussions concentrated on how CHARIS data and research could help in collaborative problem-solving between CHARIS partners and water management institutions for long-term water security despite the varied demands and the differences in hydro-climates across the major river basins of High Mountain Asia. As discussed by participants, there is a need for sub-basin scale analysis in order for results to be relevant to decision makers, and multidisciplinary aspects can influence water management in profound ways and need to be considered in water management decisions. The meeting ended with closing comments from USAID program manager, Mary Melnyk, congratulating the CHARIS partners and team for a successful project. She commented that the project’s success to date is not only from a scientific perspective but also for the difficult-to-measure informal relationships that provide important scaffolding of mountain hydrologic science across High Asia.
Day Three was a field excursion for all the participants. The meeting was funded by USAID through University of Colorado Boulder, USA.
Alice Hill and Alana Wilson, CHARIS graduate students at the University of Colorado, recently defended their dissertations and completed their PhD degrees. Their dissertation topics reflect the CHARIS project’s successful integration of scientific research and capacity building.
Rapid assessment of hydrologic controls on mountain water resources
Mountain river systems are facing potential hydrologic changes imposed from a warming climate and hundreds of recent hydropower development proposals. Since these river systems play an important role in water supply and provide key ecosystem services, it is important to clarify their governing hydrologic processes. Despite their high societal value, we know little about many remote mountain rivers and they are notoriously data scarce. To advance our understanding of remote mountain hydrologic processes over regional scales, Alice’s dissertation develops a hybrid field-satellite methodology called Rapid Hydro Assessment (RHA) for data scarce mountain regions facing imminent change. This method 1) clarifies the role of climate-sensitive snow and ice source waters to river flow and 2) characterizes regional hydrologic controls within a study timescale of months-to-years, not decades. RHA uses targeted water chemistry and isotope data to elicit hydrologic insights not available from, but complimented by, remote sensing imagery. RHA methodology is initially informed by headwater scale streamflow separation work at the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research site in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and is further developed via two case studies in Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan mountains and in the Peruvian Andes. This work serves as an example of the creative approaches needed to address mountain hydrologic knowledge gaps that will allow us to better anticipate future water vulnerabilities, and to inform holistic, basin-wide development strategies.
High Asia’s Glaciers: Water Resources, Water Security, and Scientific Capacity Building
To better address questions of water vulnerability in the High Mountain Asia (HMA) region, Alana’s dissertation pursues different methods for identifying how much melt is sourced from snow (a renewable water resource) and how much is sourced from glacier ice (a non-renewable water resource) while also exploring the role groundwater storage plays in alpine hydrology. Using the Langtang River Basin of Nepal as a case study, both hydrochemistry-based hydrograph separation mixing model approaches and remote sensing-based melt modeling approaches are applied. Based on five years of synoptic water chemistry sampling, End Member Mixing Analysis (EMMA) and Bayesian Monte Carlo (BMC) hydrochemistry methods agree that about one-fifth of the Upper Langtang Basin’s annual discharge is comprised of groundwater with a residence time of greater than one year. Two different temperature index melt models driven by both station data and remote sensing data estimate that approximately 80% of annual discharge in the basin is meltwater.
Additionally, the scientific capacity-building achievements of five years of the CHARIS project are documented. Surveys and interviews with research partners from eight countries of HMA are utilized to offer insight into how international collaborations can foster skill development and support local scientists in playing a more prominent role in untangling pressing questions about the cryosphere and hydrology of HMA.
Hydrologic Controls and Water Vulnerabilities in the Naryn River Basin, Kyrgyzstan: A Socio-Hydro Case Study of Water Stressors in Central Asia Has Been Published
Water vulnerabilities in Central Asia arise from infrastructure deficiencies and transboundary political tensions, as well as the sensitivity of glacial ice and snow to changing climate where mountain-sourced rivers support large downstream agricultural areas.
In the summer of 2016, CHARIS team members collected water samples and conducted community surveys along the Naryn River Basin, a headwater stem of the Syr Darya. The resulting hydrological data show which sources are contributing to river discharge at 13 sites, while the socio-data sets illuminate how water availability and access has changed over time.
The resulting interdisciplinary analysis, recently published in the journal Water, considers how glacier recession affects downstream populations while making clear that socio-political factors may have greater impact. The full citation for this publication is:
Hill, A. F., Minbaeva, C. K., Wilson, A. M., & Satylkanov, R. (2017). Hydrologic Controls and Water Vulnerabilities in the Naryn River Basin, Kyrgyzstan: A Socio-Hydro Case Study of Water Stressors in Central Asia. Water, 9(5), 325.
The related note on CHARIS Socioeconomic Field Research in Kyrgyzstan, a few stories below, describes the data collection in more detail.
Sherubtse College update on the Centre for Science and Environmental Research (CSER) and Automatic Weather Station (AWS) activities
The CSER Lab, funded by the USAID-funded CHARIS project, analyzed water samples at the wet chemistry laboratory and presented results in a poster presented at the SOHAM conference titled, Water stable isotopes in the lower Chamkhar Chhu (River) basin of central Bhutan.
In 2016 the lab was the recipient of the Sherubtse College annual research grant to analyze river water samples collected from downstream and upstream of the Kuri chu hydropower plant. The project’s completion is scheduled for June 2017.
CSER also was the recipient of the Lien Environmental Fellowship in 2015, from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. CSER in collaboration with Nanyang Environment and the Water Research Institute (NEWRI), NTU, successfully completed a base line drinking water quality assessment for the Kanglung community, Trashigang, Bhutan.
Students learn about meteorology by using the Sherubtse College AWS
The Campbell Scientific automatic weather station (AWS) donated by Prof. Konrad Steffen, Swiss Federal Institute WSL, in 2015, has immensely benefitted faculty and students of Sherubtse College in conducting small-scale weather related research. Furthermore, this weather station is used for the weather related practical exams for the BSc Environmental Science program.
In future, after comparing and validating the data with manual weather stations owned by the National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology, these data will be made available to other relevant stakeholders.
The two day CHARIS workshop and training in Nagarkot, Nepal, April 8-9, 2017, was attended by all 11 CHARIS partner institutions with 3 to 4 participants from each institution. Three participants were women. On Day One, partners from all institutions presented status reports that summarized their work that has contributed to CHARIS goals and benefited from CHARIS funding. Day Two involved lectures from CHARIS research staff on field equipment used in glacier and hydrological studies, including specific descriptions of recommended equipment, as well as application guidelines. Lectures also covered which satellite and in situ data were appropriate for use in snow and glacier studies, along with information on how to obtain these data. Lectures also covered the latest techniques for mapping glaciers, including debris covered glaciers, problem solving when working with DEM data and data management in general.
At the SOHAM (Society of Hydrology and Meteorology-Nepal) conference in Kathmandu, April 10-11, CHARIS Asian partners gave 10 talks and presented 4 posters. CHARIS University of Colorado participants gave 3 talks and presented 1 poster. At the 2013 SOHAM conference, CHARIS partners were in attendance but they did not give talks or present posters.
All CHARIS partners agreed that the two events were successful by every measure, as evidenced by the lively scientific discussions, congeniality and friendship among the partners.
As of the end 2016, 12 students were enrolled and 7 had completed their M. S. by Research in Glaciology full course, and 4 had enrolled in the one semester glaciology theory course, under the direction of CHARIS Asian project manager Dr. Rijan Bhakta Kayastha.
Two faculty members from Kabul University, Afghanistan Mr. Hedayatullah Arian and Mr. Hafizullah Rasouli, enrolled in M. S. by research in glaciology course in 2012 and graduated in 2014.
In September 2015, Mr. Rakesh Kayastha, a CHARIS-supported student from Nepal, completed his M. S. by Research in Glaciology program. He is presently working as a Research Associate at the Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University, under the CHARIS project.
In September 2016, four students, one from Nepal, and three from Pakistan, graduated the M. S. Glaciology program (Thesis titles are listed here.)
Three students from India enrolled in September 2015 for a one semester course. Two of them, Mr. Ramesh Kumar and Niraj Kumar, were enrolled in the one semester glaciology theory course. Mr. Aniket Gupta is doing a comparative study of hydrological regimes in Indian and Nepalese Himalayan river basins using the MPDD model. He will graduate in September 2017.
Dr. Kayastha coordinates the end-to-end process for these students, including arrangements for visas, health insurance, travel to Kathmandu, registration at Kathmandu University, enrollment in classes, housing and per diem support for the full two years of the program. In addition, the students participate each summer in field research programs lead by Dr. Kayastha.
From July 21 to August 6, 2016, Cholpon Minbaeva, Research Administrator, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES ), conducted collaborative field research in Kyrgyzstan, working directly with Rysbek Satylkanov, CHARIS partner in Kyrgyzstan, and his team to undertake this logistically complex field work. She conducted local scale surveys in communities in the Naryn and Kyzyl Suu river basins and in the Ala Archa region and in the vicinity of the water chemistry sampling locations at various points along the rivers. The goal was to identify local changes in relation to changes in river ecological services such as irrigation, food, flood, recreation, and water access, and to examine any corresponding changes in household activities and income structure. These field surveys support the study of socioeconomic changes within communities over the last 15 years as a result of modified water flow, hydropower and irrigation projects, and to access the local dependency on current water supplies. Survey respondents included individuals representing local government and local water authorities.
The results show that there are many similarities in changes in modified and unmodified river basin communities, including:
- Crops: vegetables and fruits were replaced by alfalfa or barley that require less water and to feed the animal stock;
- Water availability is mainly determined by the state of the water infrastructure and local government involvement and not by a location of the community on the river.
The differences between upstream and downstream communities’ changes are most noticeable in sources of income that shifted from salaries paid by state run organizations in 2000 to small businesses and livestock in upstream communities and mainly labor migration income in modified river basin communities.
Apart from these changes, it was obvious that even though the price of water increases in downstream communities, at some point the price of water doesn’t really matter in light of much bigger issues faced by modified river basin communities such as water availability, land and funds scarcity, and lack of trust in government. As a result, survey respondents in modified river basin communities indicated that there were no positive socioeconomic changes within their communities in the last 15 years.
Below is the list of survey communities representing unmodified and regulated river basin communities and dates of the survey:
Unmodified river basin:
- Kashka-Suu, Ala Archa region, July 23-24
- Kyzyl Suu, Jety Ogyz region, July 28-29
- Jalgyz Oryk, Jety Ogyz region, July 30
- Naryn, Naryn region, Aug 1
- Dostuk, Naryn region (below At Bashy hydropower station), Aug 1
- Kazarman, Jalal Abad region, Aug 1-2
Regulated river basin:
- Toktogul, Jalal Abad region, Aug 4
- Kotormo, Jalal Abad region, Aug 5
- Terek Suu, Jalal Abad region, Aug 6
- Cholpon Ata, Jalal Abad region, Aug 6
CHARIS graduate students at the University of Colorado Boulder, Alice Hill and Alana Wilson, conducted physical hydrologic field methods training and data collection in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, in summer 2016. The objective of the water sampling field methods is to use the unique chemistry signatures of different source waters to estimate how much snowmelt and glacier melt each contribute to river discharge. Their work targeted representative sub-basins in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya river catchments, filling a geographic gap of the CHARIS domain that to date has not had sufficient water chemistry data collected to facilitate hydrochemistry-based methods for quantifying the role of meltwater in river discharge.
Tajikistan’s Pamir mountains are the headwaters for the Amu Darya, a trans-boundary river that is a source to the dwindling southern Aral Sea. Alice and Alana worked with CHARIS partner Inom Normatov and his students at Tajik National University to train them in water sampling methods and protocols that will enable greater consistency and quality of data collected across CHARIS partner projects. The training was timely given a water sampling field campaign planned for late July 2016 by Tajik graduate students who will use hydrochemistry data to characterize the hydrology of the Vakhsh River which is fed by melt from the Fedchenko and Garmo glaciers. The Vakhsh River is a major tributary to the Amu Darya.
Alice and Alana also conducted a large-scale headwaters-to-plains water sampling campaign on the Naryn River of Kyrgyzstan in collaboration with the CHARIS partner Kyrgyz Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower, including graduate student and field technician Muhammed Esenamanov. The Naryn River funnels the snow and ice melt waters of the Tien Shan mountains to the lower lying agricultural and municipal areas of central Kyrgyzstan. The Naryn River is the source for Toktogul Reservoir, Kyrgyzstan’s largest hydropower operation, before draining into the Syr Darya and eventually the disappearing North Aral Sea. Samples were collected from the glacial headwaters at Kumtor gold mine downstream to Toktogul Reservoir. The group plans to use hydrochemical signatures and isotopes to understand the importance of snow and ice melt to river flow over an elevation gradient of 2975 m and a 580km river distance. In contrast to previous CHARIS water chemistry studies, which were confined to the headwater scale, the goal of this study is to understand the role of meltwater in river flow at locations where demands on surface flow will continue to strain the available supply.
The most recent CHARIS training session was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan at the Hotel Saltanat from May 11-19, 2016. The first portion was a GIS (geographic information system) training session from May 11-13. This was instructed by Adina Racoviteanu and Mary Jo Brodzik of the CHARIS group and was hands-on training on hydrologic modeling and glacier mapping. The second portion, taught by CHARIS staff Mary Jo Brodzik, Karl Rittger, Andy Barrett, Bruce Raup and Siri Jodha Khalsa, was hands-on practice for using the python programming language to perform and analyze temperature-index snow and ice melt modeling, using as model inputs the CHARIS DEM (digital elevation model), MODIS snow cover and albedo data, MODICE snow and ice extent maps, and downscaled ERA-Interim reanalysis temperature data. The participants were then able to undertake the modeling process for their own particular research sub-basins that were derived during the previous GIS workshop. Also, at the workshop, posters brought by many of the CHARIS partner participants illustrated recent work of partner institutions.
All eight CHARIS partner countries were represented with participants from all but one partner institution. Dr. Haleem Zaman Magsi from Karakoram International University in Gilgit, Pakistan registered but unfortunately was unable to attend. There were 36 participants in total with five women among the attendees.
At the conclusion of the meeting USAID Regional Environmental Adviser for Central and South Asia, Andrei Barannik, who was in attendance for both training sessions, provided an overview of USAID’s support and interaction within the CHARIS project. Also at the end of the meeting, Professor Igor Severskiy, Director of the glaciology group within the Institute of Geography, Almaty, which hosted the CHARIS meeting, concluded by thanking the attendees for their participation.
During the sessions, Richard Armstrong and Betsy Armstrong visited the USAID mission in Almaty to discuss the CHARIS project with Nina Kavetskaya, Monika Gorzelanska, Andrei Barannik and others. They also met with a number of CHARIS partners at the workshop to discuss current and future work. Meetings were held with Rysbek Satylkanov, Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower, Kyrgyzstan; Prof. A.L. Ramanathan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; Dr. Rijan Kayastha, Kathmandu University, Nepal; Muhammad Jamaid, Water and Power Development Authority, Pakistan; Chhimi Dorji, Bhutan Water Partnership, Bhutan, Dendup Tshering, Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan and Tshering Tashi, Department of Hydro-Met Services, Bhutan; and Mariam Sajood and Abeev Ahmad Sajood, Kabul University, Afghanistan.
Richard Armstrong and Betsy Armstrong traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and met with Laura Cizmo, Economic Growth Team Lead, USAID /Central Asia/ Tajikistan Country Office, and Daler Asrorov, Project Management Specialist, Office of Economic Growth USAID, Tajikistan, to describe the CHARIS project. They also met with CHARIS partner Prof. Inom Sherovich Normatov, Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower, and Ecology, Tajikistan to discuss common research goals.
As part of a field practicum requirement for the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at CU-Boulder, CHARIS graduate student Alia Khan conducted an assessment of drinking water quality in the Khumbu region of Nepal in early 2016 to understand the impacts of the 2015 earthquakes on water quality and resources in the Gokyo Valley. The Gokyo Valley is home to the Ngozumba Glacier and the Gokyo Lakes, which serve as the headwaters to the Dudh Koshi River. Water quality sampling was conducted specifically in the Gokyo Valley to compare to baseline data that Khan collected in 2012. Samples were collected from tributary streams, which serve as local drinking water sources and contribute to the Dudh Koshi watershed. Samples were collected along an elevation transect from Lukla, 9181 ft, to Gokyo, 15, 557 ft. Water samples were analyzed and incubated in a portable incubator in the field with the Aquagenx, Compartment Bag Test, a low cost method to detect E.coli, an indicator bacteria of fecal contamination. If fecal contamination is present, then other water-borne pathogens, which cause diarrheal disease, may also be present.
Water samples were also shipped back to the Kiowa Lab at CU-Boulder and will be analyzed for dissolved organic carbon, oxygen isotopes, a suite of nutrients, as well as trace metals. Snow samples were also collected along an elevation transect from Namche Bazaar at 11,657 ft to Gokyo Ri at 17,500 ft. Snow samples will be analyzed for dust and black carbon. Impurities like these reduce surface albedo and increase the amount of solar radiation absorbed by snow and ice, leading to enhanced melt. Khan also conducted two training sessions with local environmental specialists in Kathmandu. One was given to 10 Eco Himal Nepali staff on low cost methods to detect E.coli. EcoHimal works with communities in the Solukhumbu. CHARIS gave EcoHimal a portable incubator and a number of E.coli tests so they can begin monitoring drinking water in the respective communities they are working in. The second training on field methods for sampling black carbon in snow was at Kathmandu University (KU) in the Department of Cryosphere Sciences to the 12 graduate students of CHARIS partner, Dr. Rijan Kayastha. The KU team plans to collect snow samples during their 2016 field campaigns on the Yala Glacier and in Manang, which will be filtered in the field and shipped to CU-Boulder for dust and black carbon analysis.
CHARIS establishes a state-of-the-art water chemistry lab at Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan
The University of Colorado CHARIS research project, led by Dr. Richard Armstrong, has sponsored the establishment of a new water chemistry laboratory at Sherubtse College in Kanglung, Bhutan. This is the first state-of-the-art water chemistry lab in the country. The lab will not only contribute water analyses to the CHARIS project but also will analyze water samples for environmental assessment of the country’s wetlands, streams, rivers and other water bodies.
In January 2016, Dr. Mark Williams, Professor of Geography and Holly A. Miller, Lab Manager of the Kiowa Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, Boulder, traveled to Thimphu, Bhutan where they met Dendup Tshering, CHARIS representative and Lecturer at Sherubtse College, and oversaw the arrival of the instrument air-shipment. After transferring the equipment to a truck, Holly Miller then traveled across Bhutan to reach Sherubtse College, located in the eastern part of the country.
Holly Miller, accompanied by her husband Colin Miller, a University of Colorado mechanical engineer who volunteered to help, and with the assistance of Dendup Tshering, Tshewang Dendup, Punya Prasad Bhandari and Jigme Wangmo, set up the new lab, testing all the equipment and ensuring that everything was functioning before returning to Boulder.
Instruments provided by the CHARIS project included a Metrhom ion chromatograph, Picarro stable water isotope analyzer and Lachet nutrient analyzer, plus pH/conductance/acid neutralization capacity meters to evaluate water quality. Also included are an ultrapure water system, filtering gear, glassware and sample bottles, essential for collecting field samples for analysis with the newly installed instrumentation.
The lab will provide the college with the ability to evaluate and quantify water quality, such as agricultural and industrial runoff and assessments of environmental impacts from hydroelectric power. In addition to providing the CHARIS project with water sample analyses, the new lab is already contracted to analyze water quality for the Kanglung watershed and has submitted a proposal to test water quality in an industrial area to assess its environmental impact. They have also responded to a bid request from an environmental consulting company for water analysis.
Thus the Sherubtse College lab is already proving its usefulness in analyzing impacts on Bhutan’s fragile environment.
Visit with Kathmandu University CHARIS students, Bhaktapur, Nepal, October 2015 (Excerpted from the Armstrong’s trip report for Bhutan & Nepal October 12-25, 2015)
Because the Kathmandu University campus was closed due to the Dashain Festival during our visit (October 22-24), Asian Project Manager Rijan Kayastha arranged for us to meet the seven students funded by the CHARIS project at a hotel in Bhaktapur, close to the university. Syed Hammad Ali (Pakistan) and Aniket Gupta (India) were not available to join us. The students are from India (3), Pakistan (3, including 1 woman), and Nepal (1). Students gave short talks describing their research; their research topics are described below:
Amrit Thapa (Nepal). Tribhuvan University. A snow simulation study in the Langtang River Basin using the seNorge snow model.
Mr. Rakesh Kayastha (Nepal). Research Associate, Kathmandu University, Assistant Asian Project Manager for the CHARIS project. (The previous project assistant manager Bikas Bhattarai is currently pursuing a PhD in glaciology in Norway.) Mr. Kayastha completed his M.S. by Research in Glaciology program in September 2015. His thesis title was: Application of GlabTop Model for estimating glacier ice thickness distribution and bed topography of Everest region, Nepal. He enrolled in the program in September 2013.
Niraj Kumar (India). Sharda University. Only for one semester, theory courses.
Javed Hassan (Pakistan). Hydrological modeling of Shigar Basin, Central Karakorum, Pakistan, using a positive degree day model.
Iram Bano (Pakistan). Estimation of discharge from the Gilgit River Basin, Karakoram, Pakistan, using a glacio-hydrological model.
Ramesh Kumar (India). Sharda University. Only for one semester, theory courses.
Syed Hammad Ali (Pakistan). Estimation of discharge from the Hunza River Basin, Karakoram, Pakistan, using a glacio-hydrological model (not in photo).
Aniket Gupta (India). Glacio-hydrological modeling of Chandra River basin, India (not in photo).
Two CHARIS-supported students from Kabul University and one from Nepal have completed their Masters degree studies.
Richard Armstrong described the CHARIS project and how the students’ work is contributing to project goals.
Automatic Weather Station (AWS) Training Workshop, Thimphu, Bhutan, October 2015 (Excerpted from the Armstrong’s trip report for Bhutan & Nepal October 12-25, 2015)
Richard Armstrong and Betsy Armstrong arrived in Paro on October 14th, after meeting Dr. Konrad Steffen, Director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), at the airport in Delhi. Dr. Steffen was formerly the director of CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, and thus is familiar with the CHARIS project. He accompanied Richard Armstrong and Betsy Armstrong on their first visit to Sherubtse College in 2013 and volunteered the donation of the automatic weather station (AWS) that was currently unused in his study sites in Greenland. The purpose of this workshop was to teach participants how to set up the AWS and an introduction into analyzing the produced data.
Dendup Tshering met us at the airport in Paro. Dendup and his two colleagues from Sherubtse College had driven to Paro via the southern route, in and through India, then north to Paro, because the national east-west Bhutanese highway is under construction.
The training began on October 15th at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) in Thimphu. Richard Armstrong and Betsy Armstrong met briefly with the Vice Chancellor of RUB, Mr. Nidup Dorji. The 11 participants represented the following Bhutanese organizations: Renewable Natural Resources Research Development Center (RNR/RDC), Yusipang (3 participants), The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE), Bumthang (1), Royal Thimphu College (1), College of Natural Resources (CNR), Lobesa (1), Snow & Glacier Division, Department of Hydro-Met Services (DHMS), Ministry of Economic Affairs, (MoEA) Thimphu (1), and Sherubtse College, Kanglung (4). Two of the participants were women.
In the workshop, as Dr. Steffen unpacked the box that contained the AWS, he and Richard Armstrong explained each instrument, its purpose, how to set up the tower, how to install the sensors on the tower and program the AWS data logger. The participants all had similar reasons for attending this AWS training: to learn how to program and install the instruments, and to process and interpret data since in many cases they would be establishing baseline data for their research in climate and environmental studies in Bhutan. General goals included learning how to install an AWS in the field and learning how to specifically monitor the change in climate as related to forestry and community adaptation, and specific studies of aerosol radiative forcing over Bhutan.
The workshop concluded with the participants dismantling the AWS, packing the instruments and the tower for delivery to Sherubtse College, where it has now been set up on the campus and data are being recorded.
We also met with John Farrington, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Thimphu, to discuss common research interests.
GIS Fundamentals and Remote Sensing Analysis Training Course, Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan, Kanglung, Trashigang, April 26-May 1, 2015
Adina Racoviteanu, PhD and consultant to the USAID CHARIS Project, taught the GIS Fundamentals and Remote Sensing Analysis Workshop at Sherbutse College from April 26-May 1, 2015. The workshop was organized by the College’s Centre for Science and Environmental Research (CSER) in collaboration with the Centre for Climate Change and Spatial Information (CCCSI) with financial assistance from the CHARIS Project. Workshop objectives were to introduce theoretical concepts and fundamentals of GIS, provide an introduction to analysis capabilities of ArcGIS software, and strengthen institutional capacity to carry out glaciological research and water resource assessment. Participants were from diverse disciplines within the college.
For additional details, see the Sherubtse College site.
The CHARIS Project held its third partners meeting in October at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Dehradun, India. The format was a 4-day training course with lectures and hands- on exercises, along with short reports from partners. The attendees represented the partner countries of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Nepal and Tajikistan.
Under the direction of CHARIS project director Richard Armstrong, NSIDC researchers Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa, Adina Racoviteanu, Karl Rittger, Mary Jo Brodzik and Bruce Raup and CHARIS south Asia manager Rijan Kayastha presented talks on working with DEMS and delineating basins, mapping snow and glaciers with remote sensing and hydrological modeling. Each lecture was followed by hands-on exercises with participants working on their own laptops under the guidance of the instructors.
The training course feedback was extremely positive, with participants saying the course was very well organized, appreciating the interactive and informative elements with a good balance of lectures and exercises.
Two CHARIS-supported students have completed their studies for M. S. by Research in Glaciology at Kathmandu University, under the direction of Dr. Rijan Bhakta Kayastha, D. Sc., Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering. They are:
Hafizullah Rasouli, Department of Geology, Faculty of Geosciences, Kabul University, Kabul, Afghanistan
Hedayatullah Arian, Department of Hydro-Meteorology, Faculty of Geosciences, Kabul University, Kabul, Afghanistan
Six new CHARIS-supported students are now enrolled at Kathmandu University in the masters program under the direction of Dr. Rijan Bhakta Kayastha, D. Sc., Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering. They are:
Amrit Thapa, Nepal
M. Sc. in Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
B. Sc. Environment science, Tri-Chandra Campus, Ghantaghar, Kathmandu
Atar Singh, India
M. Sc. (Tech) in Geophysics, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
B. Sc., DBS (PG) College Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
Iram Bano, Pakistan
B. Sc. (Earth Sciences), Karakoram International University, Gilgit, Pakistan
Javed Hassan, Pakistan
B. Sc. (Earth Sciences), Karakoram International University Gilgit, Pakistan
FSc (Pre-engineering), Federal Board of Intermediate and secondary education
SSC (Science), Federal Board of Intermediate and secondary education
Naveen Kumar, India
M. Sc. in Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
B. Sc. Zoology (H), St. Xevier college, Ranchi, Jharkhand
Syed Hammad Ali, Pakistan
M. Sc. in Environmental Science from College of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
B.Sc. in Biological Science from University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
CHARIS funded the restoration of the Kara Batkak glacier research hut, Tien-Shan High Mountain Research Center field project, Kyrgyzstan, for daily summer use and monthly research visits in winter.
The CHARIS project, in coordination with Dr. Rijan B. Kayastha, Associate Professor, Kathmandu University and CHARIS South Asia Project Manager, held its second partners meeting in Pokhara, Nepal, December 1–2, 2013, at the Landmark Hotel. The first meeting was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan on May 13–18, 2013. Partner institutions were represented from all eight CHARIS countries:
- Afghanistan (Kabul University, Kabul),
- Bhutan (Sherbutse College, Royal University of Bhutan, Kanglung Trashigang),
- India (Sharda University, Greater Noida, U. P., and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi),
- Kazakhstan (Institute of Geography, Almaty),
- Kyrgyzstan (Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower, Bishkek),
- Nepal (Himalayan Cryosphere Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University),
- Pakistan (Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Glacier Monitoring Research Centre, Lahore, and Karakoram International University, Gilgit),
- Tajikistan (Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology, Dushanbe).
The primary purpose of this meeting was for the partners to describe their projects: current status, recent field research activities and future plans.
Front row, left to right: Kunduz Rysbek Kyzy, Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Betsy Armstrong, CIRES/NSIDC, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Pankaj Thapa, Sherubtse College, Kanglung Trashigang, Bhutan; Hafizullah Rasouli, Kabul University, Kabul, Afghanistan, presently graduate student at Kathmandu University, Nepal; Alana Wilson, INSTAAR, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Rajesh Kumar, Sharda University, Greater Noida, U. P., India; Danial Hashmi, Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Glacier Monitoring Research Centre, Lahore, Pakistan; Hedayatullah Arian, Kabul University, Kabul, Afghanistan, presently graduate student at Kathmandu University, Nepal; Adina Racoviteanu, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, Domaine Universitaire, France; Andy Barrett, CIRES/NSIDC, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Tshering Wangdi, Sherubtse College, Kanglung Trashigang, Bhutan; Thupstan Angchuk, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India; Astha Karki, Himalayan Cryosphere Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University, Nepal.
Back row, left to right: Bikas Chandra Bhattarai, Himalayan Cryosphere Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University, Nepal; Rijan B. Kayastha, Himalayan Cryosphere Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University, Nepal; Sonam Chhogyel, Sherubtse College, Kanglung Trashigang, Bhutan; Ghulam Abbas Anjum, Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Lahore, Pakistan; Madhuranjan Vatsa, Sharda University, Greater Noida, U.P., India; Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa, CIRES/NSIDC, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Richard Armstrong, CIRES/NSIDC, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Ari Nathan, U.S Embassy, Kathmandu, Nepal; Alexandr Yegorov, Institute of Geography, Almaty, Kazakhstan; Mark W. Williams, INSTAAR, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; Inom Sherovich Normatov, Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology, Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Parviz Normatov, Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology, Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Bruce Raup, CIRES/NSIDC, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; A. L. Ramanathan, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India; Rysbek Satylkanov, Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Jose George Pottakkal, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India.
Rijan Bhakta Kayastha, Himalayan Cryosphere Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Kathmandu University, Nepal
Activities of Kathmandu University
Danial Hashmi, Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
Glacier Monitoring Research Centre, Lahore, Pakistan
Current Status of CHARIS Project Activities in WAPDA
Prof. AL. Ramanathan & Team, Glacier Research Group, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru Unviersity, New Delhi, INDIA
Current status of CHARIS project Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
I. Severskiy, A. Yegorov, Institute of Geography, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Dynamics of Tuyuksu glacier for the last 56 years
Hafizullah Rasouli, Kabul University and Kathmandu University
Study on Hydro-Meteorological Characteristics of Maidan River basin, Kabul, Afghanistan
Rysbek Satylkanov, Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Monitoring the Kara-Batkak Glacier and Hydro-Meteorological Conditions in the Chon-Kyzyl-Suu River Basin
Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Sharda University, Greater Noida, U. P,India
Observation of Glacio-hydrological processes in Shaune Garang Valley
Inom Normatov, Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Current status of Charis project, IWPHE Tajikistan
Hedayatullah Arian, Kabul University and Kathmandu University
Study on Hydro-meteorological Characteristic of Panjshir river basin, Afghanistan
University of Colorado CHARIS scientists then presented material on the following subjects relevant to the partners’ projects:
Richard Armstrong, Principal Investigator
CHARIS project: current status and activities
Formatting and metadata guidelines for submission of CHARIS data to NSIDC
Reanalysis data and methods for downscaling
Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa
Optimal DEMs for the CHARIS region
Water chemistry studies – collaborative work in Nepal, with Mark Williams
Adina Racoviteanu, CHARIS consultant
Advances in techniques to identify and map debris-covered glaciers
During the wrap-up discussion partners suggested short courses and training ideas for future meetings. The meeting ended with partners agreeing that this group has the capacity to provide relevant and current science to policy makers, and is setting the path for continued collaboration among these High Asian countries.
CHARIS team members Richard Armstrong, Alana Wilson and Betsy Armstrong, along with Koni Steffen, former CIRES director and current Director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) visited CHARIS’s newest partner, Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan, in Kanglung, November 22–24, 2013. After a tour of the college, we were introduced to the faculty and facilities of the college and held discussions on planning future collaboration for field work beginning in spring-summer 2014.
CHARIS, in coordination with the local organizing institution, the Institute of Geography, Almaty, and with funding from USAID, brought all the CHARIS partners together for a short course and partner presentations on May 13–17, 2013, at the Saltanat Hotel in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The short course, presented by University of Colorado scientists from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and the National Snow and Ice Data Center offered lectures on Isotopic and Geochemical Tracers (Mark Williams and Alana Wilson), Mountain Hydrology (Mark Williams), Glacier Mapping (Bruce Raup), and Glacier Mass Balance (Andy Barrett). These lectures were also distributed on memory sticks to the participants at the beginning of the meeting.
Each partner presented their current work with ample time allowed for discussion throughout the meeting. Partner presentation titles and affiliations are listed below. The meeting concluded with a visit to the Institute of Geography and field trip to the Big Almaty Lake field station, organized by Alexandr Yegorov, Institute of Geography.
Not in the photo above but on the field trip and working hard to make sure that all went well were Vasily Kapista and Zamira Usmanova. Also not in photo but at the workshop was Rysbek Satylkanov.
In advance of the meeting, partners were sent a short questionnaire that asked about familiarity with various tools and data formats. Many respondents (about 40%) were familiar with the common GIS data formats as well as the main commercial tools for working with satellite imagery.
The second questionnaire following the meeting asked participants about their meeting experiences. Approximately half of the participants responded. All said that the short courses contained the expected material and were at a scientific level that met their needs. All were satisfied with the conference and hotel facilities. When asked for suggestions for improvement, several participants requested more hands-on training in GIS and image analysis, as well as isotope data analysis. Other suggested topics included mountain geochemistry interrelationships, discussion of unified methods of measurement, and ecosystem adaptation to shrinking glaciers. In the “additional comments” section, several participants expressed general praise and gratitude to the organizers.
Short course participants are listed below along with their organization and country. For presenters, the title of the presentation is given as well.
Bikas Chandra Bhattarai
Dhulikhel, Kavre, Nepal
Preliminary results of mass balance studies of Yala and Rikha Samba Glaciers in Nepal
Danial Hashmi and Malik Rafaqat Ali
Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
Glacier Monitoring Research Centre
WAPDA Initiatives in Upper Indus Basin Investigations
Dhulikhel, Kavre, Nepal
Activities of the Kathmandu University Cryosphere Monitoring Project
Institute of Geography
Presentation of Central Asian Regional Glaciological Centre as a Category 2 under the auspices of UNESCO
Greater Noida, U.P., India
Shaune Garang Glacier: Status of studies and future plans
Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology
Modern state and development perspective of water resources & climate and environment and strategy of the risk management in the Transboundary Zeravshan and Vakhsh River Basins
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
New Delhi, India
Input to the regional mass balance modeling in western Himalayas: Case study from Chotta Shigri Glacier, HP, India
Rysbek Satylkanov and Bakyt Ermenbaev
Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower
Tien-Shan vysokogrny Research Centre and its activities
Vladimir Shatravin and Bolat Uralbekov
Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower
The potential of uranium isotopic method when studying flow formation of poorly studied mountain river basins
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
New Delhi, India
Institute of Geography
Institute of Geography
George Jose Pottakkal
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
New Delhi, India
Greater Noida, U.P., India
Institute of Geography
Institute of Geography
Institute of Geography
Richard Armstrong, CHARIS Principal Investigator, visited Central Asia in September-October 2012, to explore opportunities for collaboration with institutions in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan.
The CHARIS project collaborates directly with key Asian research institutions to develop a consensus regarding the research methodologies to be used to achieve project goals. This effort includes joint research and capacity building that will enhance the scientific understanding of the regional hydrology among our Asian partners.