PMD establishes highest glacier monitoring station | Pakistan Today

PMD establishes highest glacier monitoring station

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has established the highest glacier monitoring station (GMS) on the top of Passu and Batura glaciers, which will record ground based observation at an altitude of 4500m. According to the Met Office, this is a step forward towards the systematic assessment of the impact of the global warming on glaciers of Pakistan and resultantly, assessment of the potential hydrological resources from glaciers of Pakistan.
PMD started the scientific study of Passu glacier in Hunza Basin last year by installing a station at 3200m above mean sea level with financial assistance of International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
Passu Glacier is a valley type glacier in Hunza Basin about 15km up-stream of Ataabad Lake, having a length of 26 km, and covers an area of 63 sq km, having ice reserves nearly 10.89 cubic km.
Dr Ghulam Rasul, leader of the PMD team, reported that lower end of Passu had retreated by 25m in one year. He added that this glacier had been losing ice on lower 5kms at a much faster rate. Last year another station was installed at the lake, which was formed due to the melting of the Passu Glacier at its lower end. All these monitoring stations together will help to compute the gradient flow of glacier mass, surface velocity and the rate at which glacier accumulates and loses its mass. Such a monitoring mechanism will be replicated in other glaciated valleys of the Hunza Basin.
PMD took glacier monitoring initiative in 2006, and since then glacier such as Hinarchie in Bagrot Valley, Baltoro and Biafo in Shigar Valley, Batura, Passu, Gulmit and Gulkin of Hunza Valley have regularly been monitored, employing Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques. Met Office also informed that PMD director general formed a team of young scientists under the supervision of Dr Ghulam Rasul to install an automatic weather station (AWS) in accumulation zone of the Passu glacier.
AWS was erected at an elevation of 4500 meters on June 10, 2011. The newly-installed AWS will record parameters such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, pressure, in-coming solar radiation, wind speed and direction for a long period of time. PMD has planned to extend its research activities to the other glaciers located in the Hunza Basin.



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