Pakistan Meteorological Department has established the highest Glacier Monitoring Station in Hunza Valley


Islamabad: Pakistan Meteorological Department has established the highest Glacier Monitoring Station which will record ground based observation at an elevation of 4500m on the top of Passu and Batura Glaciers. PMD started scientific study of Passu Glacier in Hunza Basin last year by installing Station at 3200m above mean sea level by the 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 length of 26 km, and covers area of 63 sq.km, having ice reserves nearly 10.89 cu.km. Dr. Ghulam Rasul, leader of PMD team reported that lower end of Passu Glacier has retreated back by 25m in one year. He added that this glacier has been losing ice on lower 5kms at a much faster rate.

Last year another station was installed at the lake, i.e., formed due to the melting of the Passu glacier at its lower end. This was considered enough to monitor the snow and ice melt process in the ablation zone, where glacier has been losing its mass at much faster rate. It was envisaged at the time that a monitoring station must be established in accumulation zone to understand the glacial dynamics above the equilibrium line. Accumulation zone is part of the glacier where melting is quite slow but accumulated snow converts into ice throughout the year.

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 monitoring mechanism will be replicated in other glaciated valleys of the Hunza Basin. This is a step forward for 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 took glacier monitoring initiative in 2006, and since then glacier such as Hinarchie Galcier in Bagrot Valley, Baltoro and Biafo Glacier in Shigar Valley, Batura , Passu, Gulmit and Gulkin glaciers of Hunza Valley have regularly been monitored employing Remote Sensing and GIS techniques. In continuation of such strives, Director General PMD formed a team of young scientist under the supervision of Dr. Ghulam Rasul. Team included Mr. Muhammad Atif Wazir, Mr. Farrukh Bashir, Mr. Adnan Shafiq Rana, Mr. Syed Kamal uddin, Mr. Habibullah Barohi, Mr. Waqar Ali and Mr. Shahir Ali to install an Automatic weather station in accumulation zone of the Passu Glacier.

AWS was erected at elevation of 4500 meters above mean sea level on June 10, 2011. Newly installed AWS will record parameters like temperature, humidity, precipitation, pressure, in-coming solar radiation, wind speed and direction for long period of time. PMD has planned to extend its research activities to the other glaciers located in the Hunza Basin.

For more information, contact:
Pakistan Meteorological Department
Sector H-8/2, Islamabad- Pakistan
Tel: +9251 925 0360 -1
Fax: +9251 925 0368
Email: pakmet_islamabad@yahoo.com
Web: http://www.pakmet.com.pk