A joint Swiss-Tajik team of Cluster 3, ‘Glaciers, Snow and Hydrology’, successfully completed an expedition to the Sangvor District and the Nissai glacier. They visited and maintained an automated weather station which was installed last year, as well as a network of surface temperature dataloggers, to understand meteorology across the catchment.

A catchment stream gauge was installed and several stream discharge measurements with fluorescein dye were conducted.

Stream discharge measurements with fluorescein dye. © Evan Miles

The team also installed a network of ablation stakes across the glacier, where they intend to continue long-term glacier mass balance monitoring.

Installing ablation stakes across the Nissai glacier. © Evan Miles

A shallow firn core was extracted from the accumulation area to provide perspective on the typical accumulation processes. Unfortunately, the site has suffered back-to-back hot summers, erasing nearly all mass accumulation.

Extracting a shallow firn core. © Evan Miles

‘Adventure of Science: Women and Glaciers in Central Asia’ wrapped up the 2022 program last week with its public event in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan! The event was a perfect conclusion for the program, which brought 9 women from across Central Asia to the Ala Archa National Park for a week of glaciological discoveries and exploration of environmental topics. Thanks to incredibly good weather, the participants experienced hiking, camping and team building under the best conditions, and were able to develop exciting scientific projects. The public event provided the opportunity for the participants to present their projects to the public and to offer insights into the expedition’s challenges and discoveries!

Thankfully, the sun was shining for our walk to the Base Camp. Some girls had never hiked before, so the 6 hours hike was a challenge for some participants!
The participants had never experienced camping before. Still, they overcame all the challenges that were presented to them as a team.
Our destination: The Golubin Glacier! The hike on the glacier provided an amazing opportunity for a hands-on cryospheric module.
Our team was composed of amazing women: 9 participants from Central Asia, 6 instructors from Central Asia and Switzerland and a professional mountain guide from Kyrgyzstan.
A day on the field was dedicated to data collecting: on the left, participants measure the melting of Golubin with the help of pens placed in the glacier as ablation stakes; on the right, our instructor Laura demonstrates the use of the inclinometer.

‘Adventure of Science: Women and glaciers in Central Asia’ and ‘UNESCO Almaty cluster’ are inviting to the closing event of their expedition in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 25 August 2022. The 10-day expedition is currently taking place in the Ala Archa National Park in Kyrgyzstan. The expedition is free of charge for all Central Asian women participating.

‘Adventure of Science’ is an environmental and social program which motivates young women of Central Asia to pursue their interests through studies, and fosters new vocations in environmental science.

Another team of Cluster 3, ‘Glacier, Snow, and Hydrology’, revisited the Kyzylsu catchment in the Jirgatol district of Tajikistan. Despite weather particularly unfriendly for the region, they collected the first complete yearly records for most of the instruments and stations installed in 2021 and maintained the instrument network of a site which aims to become a reference catchment for glacio-hydrological research in the region and a key site for PAMIR.

Loading the truck and final goodbye to Professor Kayumov before going up to the field, beautiful day and perfect conditions to drive up and set up base camp. © Achille Jouberton
Traditional yurt inhabited during grazing seasons. When one passes by, the locals always come to say hello. They are curious about what is being worked on in the nearby river. © Achille Jouberton
Downloading the pluviometer station data, and discovering with joy that it recorded the first complete year of data. © Achille Jouberton
Waking up to a few centimetres of snow – the first time since the team started doing expeditions to Kyzylsu. © Achille Jouberton
View of Jirgatol and the snowy mountains in the background – the team’s destination for the following 8 days. © Achille Jouberton
Maintenance of a time-lapse camera on the glacier moraine in snowy conditions. © Achille Jouberton
One of the rare moments of fair weather during the campaign, revealing spectacular and contrasting colours in the landscape. © Achille Jouberton
Walk across the pasture lands to retrieve water level loggers which were left in these lakes in previous years. © Achille Jouberton
Flock of sheep on the top of a grassy hill. © Achille Jouberton
Typical lunch after a day of work. Whether it was noon or 4 pm, a warm lunch was always waiting in the kitchen tent. It was common to exchange food with the shepherds who had their base camp next to ours. They would provide fresh yoghurt and in return, they would get bread or a plate of cooked food. © Achille Jouberton

The team of Cluster 3, ‘Glaciers, Snow and Hydrology’, visited the abandoned Gorbunov research station, next to Fedchenko Glacier (one of the largest non-polar glaciers in the world!) and assessed the state of the automated weather station. Scientists had not visited this station in the 6 years since its installation. As this site has weather measurements dating back to the 1930s, it is an extremely valuable dataset that needs to be maintained and therefore this is a priority site for PAMIR.

On the way to Gorbunov research station © Evan Miles
On the way to Gorbunov research station © Evan Miles
Gorbunov research station © Evan Miles
Investigations at Gorbunov research station © Evan Miles