Hard science

While relatively little is known definitively about the glaciers of the Himalaya and Hindukush, what facts do exist need to be acknowledged as such.

Pradeep Kumar Mool is a specialist in remote sensing at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu. In his current capacity, he studies snow and glacial monitoring, glacial lakes and the risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). Mool spoke to Himal Southasian on the status of ice and water in the region and the Centre's new research conclusions.

What specific observations of precipitation patterns in the region have been made – how much falls in the form of snow, how much in the form of rain?
Very little data on precipitation patterns is available for the region. Few instrumental meteorological observation stations or automatic weather stations exist in high-altitude areas, especially those that include rain and snow gauging. The World Meteorological Organisation, the global agency of the United Nations, specialises in data collection of meteorological, hydrological and other geo-physical observations. It shares meteorological and related data collected by stations worldwide in near real time, through a Global Telecommunication System (GTS). Unfortunately, there are no GTS gauging stations above the snowline for the Himalayan region.

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