16-18 April, Bumthang: Around 45 participants including the world class leading glacier experts together with the national experts attended the International Glacier Symposium at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE).
Inaugurating the symposium, the Hon’ble Agriculture Lyonpo, Yeshey Dorji said the world is witnessing unprecedented changes in the glacier due to lack of data on climate change and its impact on glacier. He added that rivers fed by mountains and rain are vital for agriculture in Bhutan, therefore it is critically important to understand the glaciers in Bhutan.
According to Mr. Nawang Norbu, the Director for UWICE, the Himalayas are home to great rivers which feed almost 1.2 billion people. These rivers which are fed by snow, rain and glaciers are subject to increasing stress due to climate change.
Studies show that most Himalayan glaciers are losing mass at rates similar to or even greater than glaciers. There is only a limited date on how the Himalayan glaciers are affected.
The symposium covered various presentations highlighting the importance of Himalayan Glaciers, its study in Bhutan, snow cover mapping and monitoring in Hindu Kush Himalayas, the Glacier Lake Outburst of Ice Age, a case study from Ladakh and Zanskar among others and related issues were also discussed.
The Director added that the symposium was held to take stock of our current state of knowledge about Himalayan glaciers. With participation of the internationally renowned scientists from USA, Switzerland, Germany, India and Nepal along with Bhutanese experts, the meeting defined and tabled the next pressing question which needs to be addressed in the coming decade with regards to glacier and science. The symposium is expected to contribute significantly towards the understanding of glaciers enhancing a fruitful collaboration with the regional partners.
According to a spokesperson, the University of Columbia, USA and Geological Survey of India, Kolkata have assured to extend their support to Bhutan particularly in understanding the glaciers.
The symposium was organised with fund support from the Bhutan Foundation and WWF.
Tshering Doma with photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICS
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