Scientists create glacier research forum

Forum will meet twice a year to share studies, research plans


Shahzad Anwar December 20, 2017
Images of receding glaciers in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Scientists have resolved to set up a forum which would consolidate all research studies from different institutions on glaciers in the mountainous ranges in Pakistan.

On the second day of Science-Policy Conference on Climate Change in the capital, organised by the research wing of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), around 250 scientists presented 60 scientific research papers focusing on sustainable businesses, low-carbon growth, renewable energy, National Determined Contribution (NDCs) besides of adaptation and mitigations on Tuesday.

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Scientists from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Global Climate Change Impact Study Centre (GCISC), Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) are currently involved in research over the glaciers in the Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakorum regions.



“It will be a national platform for glacier research,” PMD Director General Dr Ghulam Rasul explained to The Express Tribune, adding that previously, various institutions were working disjointedly.

“We want to integrate their [different institutions’] studies to avoid duplications and to consolidate research work of all Pakistani institutions,” Dr Rasul added.

The PMD official went on to say that the forum will meet twice a year. The first meeting will be held in March where every institution will present their research plan for the year, how and where it would conduct its research during the summer season.

The forum will reconvene after the summer season in November where every institution will present updates on their studies, share plans for studies which will be conducted in the coming years.

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The forum will also support institutions to develop research proposals in collaboration with international partners and also an exchange of expertise on different issues related to glaciers along with glacier research on socio-economic issues, such as water supply, attack of pests and diseases on crops and orchids, and impacts of climate warming on aquatic culture.

The forum will be led by the PMD while the GCISC’s head of water section will be its secretary.  The forum will also develop its own web portal where updated information with respect to glaciers will be uploaded.

According to various studies, Pakistan is home to more than 7,000 known glaciers and it has more glacial ice than anywhere else on the planet outside of the Polar Regions. These glaciers feed rivers which account for around 75 per cent of the stored water supply in the country.

But, as in many other parts of the world, researchers say, Pakistan’s glaciers are fast receding, especially those at lower elevations, including in the Hindu Kush mountain ranges in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Scientists cite diminished snowfall, higher temperatures, heavier summer rainstorms and rampant deforestation among the reasons for this recession.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2017.

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