Karakoram needs attention of researchers, students to study future implications: Amin Aslam

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 20 (APP):Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Wednesday said Karakoram region’s glaciers required attention of the researchers and students to explore future implications on the only non-melting glaciers in the region.

He was addressing as chief guest at the five-day training of early career researchers and students from across the country on the glacier monitoring using remote sensing and field-based methods organized by Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Amin said that Karakoram glaciers were not melting due to their location over 5,000 metres and natural topography favourable to prevent temperature rise in the glaciers due to global warming.

“Karakoram region is the only falling completely in the domain of Pakistan, whereas the Hindu Kush and Himalayan glaciers were shared by China, India, Nepal and Pakistan. There are a total of 7,000 glaciers in the country out of which around 5,000 are in the melting process and 30 glacial lakes had been developed in region.

The Northern Areas are the biggest asset for the world and it is also significantly the third pole after the North and South Pole owing to its large size of area covered with snow,” he added.

Amin said it was encouraging to see that more than half of the students participating in the training workshop came from Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and were the most affected due to glacial melting in the region.

The adviser said that it was pertinent to develop monitoring and research in glaciers whereas the recent glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF) occurred in Shisper. However, the supra-glacial lake was formed and later drained out below the glacier without any flooding the prevented any major catastrophe, he added.

Amin Aslam lauded the GCISC and ICIMOD initiative to bring academia and students at one platform for capacity building on one of the complex and significant issue. He said that they would like to expand this programme through the collaboration of the Ministry of Climate Change.

“Pakistan has been elected as Global Climate Fund (GCF) Co-Chair for a year and it is a great opportunity to access global funding for sustainable and innovative projects environmental conservation. The researchers and students are welcomed to come up with their novel and out of the box ideas to avail the opportunity,” he added.

ICIMOD Regional Programme Officer Dr Ghulam Rasool, in his vote of thanks, said glacial monitoring and remote sensing was a very complex field as multiple sciences converge in this area of study. The programme had been developed in such a manner that all important scientific components were incorporated, he added.

ICIMOD’s Dr Sher Mohammad told the participants that a large number of students applied for the training whereas only 36 people were shortlisted and out of which 30 people were given fully funded training.

GCISC Principal Scientific Officer and Head of Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use Section Dr Arif Rashid Goheer said our agriculture highly relied on glacier water and glacial melting was a serious concern for the local population. “Glaciers are still neglected in our country where less monitoring is being done and scarce real time data is recorded. GSISC has a dedicated section for water resources and glacial monitoring. We are trying to engage a mass of people who would indulge on glacial monitoring in the future,” he said.

GCISC senior scientific officer Dr Shaukat said that the centre invited researchers and students from across the country as glaciers were the most vulnerable areas and such trainings were necessary to be organized.

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