The cryosphere is water on the earth’s surface and subsurface in its frozen state, including glaciers, snow cover, and permafrost. It’s an integral part of the global climate system. The Himalayas make up the largest cryosphere region outside the poles and are highly sensitive to climate change, but the lack of long-term data for this region undermines efforts to develop policies and programs to promote the rational and sustainable use of these water resources.
ICIMOD is involved in assessments of the Himalayan cryosphere, working to devise ways and means to bridge the information gap. The Geospatial Solution Team works with the ICIMOD Cryosphere Programme to leverage Earth Observation GIS capacities to monitor the state of the cryosphere across the HKH region, including mapping of snow cover, and snow water equivalents, and monitoring temporal changes in glaciated area and water volume.
The snow cover data is presented for 92 sub-basins from the 10 major river basins of the HKH. Users can view basin/sub-basin wise statistics of the snow cover for different elevation zones, slopes and aspects The snow cover maps can be displayed for a particular date or a specified time period using a time-slider tool.