Thursday, 28 April 2016

Khumbu Glacier 2016

A team of UK-based PhD students are all set to depart to the Khumbu Glacier, home to Everest Basecamp in Nepal, where they will spend three weeks working on and around the glacier with Nepal-based Himalayan Research Expeditions. Their research is investigating debris-covered glacier response to climate change and the implications for runoff, lake formation, and hazards in the mountain environment. 

Do say hi if you see them out and about and are interested in the research. The Khumbu Glacier may resemble a quarry from the moraines, but there are lots of processes at work! Your photographs and observations of the glacier may also be useful for the research.

What will they be doing?

Scott: I’ll be conducting repeat photographic surveys of ice cliffs I photographed last year, which I’m using to build centimetre-resolution 3D models. With these I can quantify how much melt the cliffs account for and how this varies spatially and through time. I’ll also be conducting surveys on the glacial lakes to measure their temperature and depth variability, and collecting measurements on glacier velocity. I’m also hoping to climb Lobuche East for a panoramic vantage point over the glacier, and to set an altitude record in a boat, conditions permitting...

Owen: I’ll be repeating photographic surveys of the ablation zone of the Khumbu glacier to extend a Structure from Motion (SfM) derived time series of high resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) that our group has been collected for the past two years. Examination of the differences between these DEMs will show us which processes are behind glacial mass loss on this glacier. I will also be collecting a more extensive set of ground control points (GCPs) to improve the geolocation accuracy of satellite and aerial photography derived datasets. I will also be verifying Captain Watson’s extreme Kayaking attempt.

Darren: I’ll be conducting surveys of debris-covered- and rock-glaciers, both ground-based and through kite aerial photography, with which high resolution (centimetre) 3D models will be constructed. I’ll use this data to investigate the characteristics of the debris-cover and gain insight into the transition of debris-covered glaciers to rock glaciers. I will also conduct surveys on rock glacier meltwater outflow(s) to understand the discharge volume and water quality, compared to glaciers and debris-covered glaciers

Recent article in Outside Magazine:

Monday, 25 April 2016

Outside Magazine interviews Rocky Glaciers researchers

. The team have been investigating how fast the Khumbu Glacier is melting and how this relates to ice cliffs and supraglacial ponds on the surface of the heavily debris-covered glacier.

The article is available at the link below:

Anyone visiting Everest Basecamp may spot the team, who will be supported by Nepal-based Himalayan Research Expeditions, working on the Glacier from mid-May. Feel free to say hi and ask lots of questions!