A coherent glaciers research forum

Scientists have resolved to set up a forum to merge all research studies on glaciers in the mountainous ranges in Pakistan from different institutions.

Research wing of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) has organized the Science-Policy Conference on Climate Change in the capital where around 250 scientists presented 60 scientific research papers on sustainable businesses, low-carbon growth, renewable energy, National Determined Contribution (NDCs) in addition to adaptation and mitigations.

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.

PMD Director-General Dr. Ghulam Rasul explained that it will be a national platform for glacier research, adding several institutions were working incoherently.

The PMD official further stated that the forum will meet twice a year. The first meeting will in March where every institution will share their research plan for the year and plan where it would conduct the research.

The forum will reunite after the summer season in November to update every institution on their studies, share plans for studies to be conducted in the approaching years.

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

The PMD will lead the forum while its secretary will be the GCISC’s head of water section. A web portal will be developed to update information with respect to glaciers.

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 for around 75 % of the stored water supply.

Pakistan’s glaciers at lower elevations are fast receding, including in the Hindu Kush mountain ranges in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Scientists refer to diminished snowfall, higher temperatures, heavier summer rainstorms and extensive deforestation among the reasons for this recession.

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