Sunday, June 26, 2011

Highest glacier monitoring station established in Pakistan

Dawn via AFP (Pakistan): Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has established the highest Glacier Monitoring Station in the country, at an elevation of 4500 meters above the sea level, to study weather conditions in the glacier environment. “The station established on Passu Glacier in Hunza Basin would help in measuring snowfall, solar radiation intensity, humidity precipitation, wind speeds, wind directions and the sub-zero tempeatures in that zone,” Chief Metereologist of PMD, Dr. Ghulam Rasul said.

Talking to APP here he said Passu Glacier is a valley type 26 km long glacier, covering an area of 63 square kilometre and its estimated ice volume is about 10.89 cubic kilometre. PMD started studying the Passu Glacier last year by establishing a Glacier Monitoring Station at an elevation of 3200 meters above sea level, through financial assistance of International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), he added.

PMD had installed a station at the lake, formed due to the melting of the Passu Glacier at its lower end, he said. This helped in monitoring the snow and ice melt process in the ‘ablation zone,’ the lower area of the glacier which is melting fast due to global warming.

It was envisaged at the time that a monitoring station must be established in the ‘accumulation zone,’ the upper area of the glacier where snow continues to accumulate and converts into ice to understand the glacial dynamics, Dr. Ghulam Rasul said. “Now these two monitoring stations together will help in computing the gradient flow of glacier mass, surface velocity and the rate at which glacier accumulates and loses its mass,” he said….

Suspension bridge over the Hunza river with Passu. A great shot by Gert Wrigge & Anton Öttl, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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