Understanding Dynamics of Himalayan Glaciers: Scope and Challenges of Remote Sensing
Remote-sensing based consistent semi-automated glacier mapping methodology with minimum manual intervention has been developed at ICIMOD. Using this methodology the glaciers of Hindu Kush Himalayan region were mapped in 2011 and continuously used for glacier mapping and monitoring in the region. These data were freely available to download from ICIMOD portal and GLIMS database. These comprehensive glacier information are the only data which is being used for research and development projects for countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. Recently decadal glacier change from 1980 to 2010 of Nepal and Bhutan were published to understand the glacier change in the Himalaya. The decadal change assessment will be continued in other basins of HKH region to understand the glacier change. Due to rugged terrain, remote access, and logistic hindrance field verification is a challenging task and can be limited only in selected glaciers. Geodetic mass balance study in the selected glaciers like in Yala of Langtang basin and Rikha Samba of Hidden valley are on progress complement to field validation. High resolution images, lack of hydro-meteorological stations near to the glacier and limited competent manpower are another hindrance in the study of glacier change of the HKH region.