As the climate continues to change, it is important, now more than ever, to quantify what is happening to the glaciers of the Himalaya. “Boots on the ground” research approaches in Nepal serve as invaluable ways to gather data in high-resolution and in real-time. Partnerships with the local communities, trekking and mountain guides, and other researchers are crucial to obtaining data that inform and inspire. Thamserku group are proud to support the work of one such ‘boots on the ground’ programme being run by a small team from University of Colarado, USA.
Black Ice consists of a small team of scientists and Sherpas who work together on Nepal’s glaciers and mountains. Much focus has been on Ngozumpa glacier, which is an 18-kilometer “river of ice” riddled with supraglacial lakes. These effectively eat away at the glacier from above and below. Black Ice studies these lakes and their behavior through time lapse photography and in-situ field research.
Recently, the Black Ice team have expanded their knowledge base to the other ends of glaciers – the accumulation zones, where glaciers grow. As dust and black carbon (soot) deposits on snow and ice up high, this leads to enhanced melting (due to the particles’ darker colors and ability to absorb more solar radiation) and, thus, diminished glacier growth. This spring (2014), they will be studying these impacts first-hand in the Western Cwm of Mt. Everest.
We will be welcoming the team (and even the friendly robot boat!) to our Yeti Mountain Home lodges as they trek up and down the valley. Thamserku are also supporting with logistics, porter support and guides
Black Ice are getting everyone involved through their Citizen Science program: guide trainings on scientific procedures, creation of field manuals and new school curriculum using their time-lapse photography and field data from weather stations, and dissemination of these research findings to ICIMOD and Sagarmatha National Park.Uly from Black Ice and Patrick, the man behind the robot, will be training Thamserku staff on how we can all do our bit from our guides starting to collect snow and ice for sampling as they head out across the Himalaya to reducing the impacts of our trek groups and raising awareness with our clients