Pamir

From ice to microorganisms and humans: Toward an interdisciplinary understanding of climate change impacts on the Third Pole

About Us

Toward an interdisciplinary understanding of climate change impacts on the Third Pole

Climate-induced changes are dramatic in the high mountains of Asia, but we understand them much less than those in the Arctic or Antarctic. This is despite the importance of these mountains for water supply for societal and environmental use. Supplying water to an otherwise arid region, the Pamir is one of the most important mountain water towers globally. However, the status of the cryosphere in the Pamir region is particularly uncertain due to the lack of measurements since the collapse of the Soviet Union and due to the unique diversity of icy landforms it contains, leading to complex streamflow regimes and geohazards.

The SPI Flagship Programme PAMIR is an interdisciplinary undertaking to characterize the current state of the Pamir cryosphere to an unprecedented degree, as well as its impacts on ecosystems, hazards and water resources. We will: i) extract an ice core to unlock a climate archive of the past millennium; ii) assess the distribution and state of permafrost; iii) measure the mass balance and accumulation of glaciers at a regional level; iv) establish the link between microbial adaptation and a rapidly changing cryosphere; v) disentangle regional cryospheric hazards by understanding glaciological and permafrost drivers; and finally: vi) unravel the lost history of Pamir cryospheric research. Together, these ambitious scientific objectives will generate important historic and contemporary understanding of this key headwater region, enabling a better understanding of the future of this water tower.

Research Cluster

Our efforts are organized around these 6 clusters:
man-in-water-web
© Eric Pohl
base-exploration-pamir
© Matthieu Tordeur
mountain-with-grass-and-snow
© Martina Schön
glacier-pamir-mountain
© Martina Schön
glacier-pamir
© Matthieu Tordeur
© Eric Pohl
man-putting-hand-in-water
© Eric Pohl
man-taking-water
© Eric Pohl
About Pamir

About Pamir

Among the most iconic mountain ranges of the Third Pole are the Pamir Mountains, a keystone connecting the Central Asian (e.g. Tien Shan) and Himalayan mountain chains (e.g. Karakoram, Kunlun and Hindu Kush). The Pamir Mountains supply water to an arid region stretching to the Aral Sea, and buffer seasonal water shortage with snow, glacier and permafrost thaw.

About Pamir

News About Pamir

See All News
Ready for fieldwork!
09. June, 2022

Ready for fieldwork!

On 3 and 7-8 June, the Health and Safety Training and the Glacier Safety Training for fieldwork were completed in Sion and on the Steingletscher above Sustenpass. Basic first aid practices…

LEARN MORE
Swiss Polar Institute Flagship Initiatives Launch Event
18. May, 2022

Swiss Polar Institute Flagship Initiatives Launch Event

The official launch of the Swiss Polar Institute Flagship Initiatives is taking place on 18 May 2022 at 17h00, in Bern.  At this occasion, the concept and vision of the two…

LEARN MORE
PAMIR Press Release
25. January, 2022

PAMIR Press Release

We are delighted to announce that with the official press release titled ‘1.5 million Swiss francs for cryospheric research in Central Asia‘ the PAMIR programme has officially started! We are looking…

LEARN MORE