After completing their health and safety training in Sion (VS), scientists of the PAMIR research consortium left for the first of a range of research expeditions taking place the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan this season. 

Among the many ambitious aims of the science teams, consisting of Swiss-based scientists and local partners, are the collection of biological samples from the Abramov and Turgen-Aksuu catchments, a re-visit to the Sangvor valley in support of the Cromo-Adapt project, data collection at the Kyzylsu Glacier, the installation of long-term monitoring equipment in and around supraglacial lakes on the Baralmos Glacier within the GLOFCA project, and a reconnaissance trip to the Kon Chukurbashi Ice Cap.

Health & Safety training in Sion. © Nina Schuback, all rights reserved
Health & Safety training in Sion. © Nina Schuback, all rights reserved
Ready for the field season! © Tom Battin, all rights reserved

On Thursday 4 April Galerie rauminhalt in Vienna launched an exhibition on art and science in the framework of Climate Biennale with a focus on High Mountain Asia glaciology, and featuring PAMIR work. The vernissage was a big success, with more than 250 people joining. The exhibition can be seen until 18 May 2024.

Growing glaciers: not fiction, but reality. At the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA), scientists led by Francesca Pellicciotti are researching glaciers that appear to be defying global warming. With the artists Céline Ducret, Martin Heynen, Patrick Hari, Jason Klimatsas and Eduardo Soteras ISTA is dedicated to our complex feelings in times of uncertainty and tells us what it means to measure new realities step by step while the world changes under our feet.

Members of research cluster 3, ‘Glaciers, Snow and Hydrology’, successfully completed their second visit to Kyzylsu since the start of PAMIR. This time, the joint Tajik-Swiss expedition team also included a professional photographer, Jason Klimatsas, who documented the scientific work and captured unique shots of Tajikistan’s glaciated landscapes.

The weather provided very good working conditions and the group was able to revisit many of the previously installed meteorological and hydrological stations as well as re-drill mass balance stakes in the glacier ablation area. Supraglacial debris properties were surveyed with numerous thickness measurements, and temporary weather stations were installed to later derive values of aerodynamic roughness.

A parallel expedition took place as part of a UNESCO project coordinated by members of cluster 5 “Cryospheric Hazards”, aiming at starting the monitoring of supraglacial lakes on the neighboring Baralmos glacier, using lake level loggers, ground temperature sensors and time-lapse cameras.

Group photo of the field team taken just before starting the field campaign. © Jason Klimatsas

PAMIR scientists from research cluster 5 (Cryospheric Hazards) just completed a joint expedition with research cluster 4 (Microbial Biogeochemistry) to the Yakarcha catchment area.

Their objective was to study the impact of recent climate change on the Yakarcha Rock Glacier through a multidisciplinary approach, involving phytosociology (detailed vegetation surveys), Remote Sensing (drone images), IR photos and Electrical Resistivity Tomography.

PAMIR scientists also completed a successful GPR survey of Yakarcha Glacier, only the second including ice thickness measurements in Tajikistan.

PAMIR PIs Francesca Pellicciotti and Martin Hoelzle met on 1 June 2023 with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin to discuss the importance of their Flagship Programme in the scope of “2025 – International Year of Glaciers’ Preservation” adopted at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

An account of that meeting is given on the Ministry’s home page and their respective social media channels:

Header photograph: © Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan, all rights reserved