Regional Dialogue on Cryosphere Monitoring

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A conference on “State of the Cryosphere in the Himalaya: Focus on Sikkim and the Eastern Himalaya – Gaps, Challenges, and Opportunities,” held in Gangtok, Sikkim, India on 19–20 February 2018, concluded with a declaration to strengthen glacier research in Sikkim and the eastern Himalayas. Inka Koch and Anna Sinisalo of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) briefed researchers on the Centre’s latest snow research and highlighted common snow and ice research interests in the region and the need to standardize methods and work together on transboundary issues, such as mitigating the risk of glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs).

Over 50 cryosphere researchers attended the conference. Participants aimed to develop a policy framework where scientific research might help develop mitigation and adaptation strategies to address societal needs. The eight point declaration recommended better assessments of water security, improved access to scientific information for actors such as farmers and hydropower companies, exploring state-of-the art techniques to monitor the cryosphere, monitoring air quality and black carbon deposition on glaciers, building capacity in cryosphere research through work exchanges, and establishing glaciology as a topic in high school curriculums. 

The conference was hosted by the Sikkim chapter of the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) and the Department of Science and Technology and Climate Change, Government of Sikkim. ICIMOD was a co-organizer. The conference proceeding may be found on the Department of Science and Technology and Climate Change website.