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GNSS Station at the Pyramid International Laboratory – Observatory (Khumbu Valley - Nepal)

In 2011, within the framework of the SHARE project a new GPS receiver Leica GRX 1200 + GNSS was installed on a hill near the Pyramid Laboratory. Coordinates: Latitude: 27°57'33.23 Longitude: 86°48'47.14 Elevation: 4994.59 (above the GRS84 Ellipsoid)

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Geospatial Rainfall Modelling at Eastern Nepalese Highland from Ground Environmental Data

The study presents a geospatial knowledge transfer framework by accommodating precipitation maps for the Eastern Nepalese Highland (ENH) across an area of about 100,000 km2. For this remote area, precipitation–elevation relationships are not homogeneously distributed, but present a chaotic gradient of correlations at altitude ranges. This is mainly due to impervious orography, extreme climate, and data scarcity (most of the rain gauges in Himalaya are located at valley bottoms). Applying geostatistical models (e.g. multivariate geospatial approaches) is difficult in these zones. This makes the ENH an interesting test area where we obtained monthly precipitation spatial patterns for a 30-year period (1961–1990). The aim was to both capture orographic meso-a spatial regimen (~30 km) and local pattern variability (~10 km). Data from 58 FAO raingauges were used plus data from an atmospheric weather station (AWS Pyramid) operating at 5,050 m a.s.l., used to compensate the gap of precipitation pattern presents in the area surrounding the Mount Everest. In these complex orographically remote areas of the Himalayas, monsoon precipitation systems exhibit important topographical interactions and spatial correlations, depending on the scale at which the primary variable (e.g., precipitation) and co-variables (e.g., elevation) are recorded and analysed. Precipitations were assessed for months—May, July and September—representative of the monsoon season. For the rainiest month (July), cokriging indicated a range of precipitation values from ~100 mm over the Tibetan Plateau to ~500 mm in the southern part of Nepal, up to ~900 mm towards the pre-Himalayan range. For July, cokriging precipitation map also showed correspondence with the map of vegetation pattern, and therein lies the clue to using multivariate geostatistical models as flexible approaches for estimating precipitation spatial patterns in remote areas.

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Energy, Forest, and Indoor Air Pollution Models for Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone, Nepal: Implementation of a Participatory Modeling Framework

This paper presents the results of management-oriented research on energy, forest, and human health issues in a remote mountain area, the Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone (SNPBZ), Nepal. The research was based on a broader, integrated participatory framework ultimately intended for use in adaptive management. The present study focused on the application of a participatory modeling framework to address problems related to energy demand and consumption, forest condition, and indoor air pollution, which were defined by the stakeholders as important issues to be addressed. The models were developed using a generalizing design that allows for user-friendly adaptation to other contexts (free download at http://hkkhpartnership.org). Moreover, we simulated management scenarios in collaboration with all modeling actors with the aim of building consensus on the understanding of the system as well as supporting decision-makers' capacity not only to respond to changes, but also to anticipate them. Importantly, the system dynamics assessment found that the SNPBZ forests are affected by an increasing demand for fuelwood (occurring due to tourism growth), as one of the main sources of energy. Selected forests show an average reduction of 38% in forest biomass from 1992 to 2008. This shows that the business-as-usual scenario is unlikely to result in the preservation of the current forest status; in fact, such preservation would require 75% of fuelwood to be replaced with alternative energy sources. At the same time, a 75% reduction of fuelwood use (and an 80% reduction of dung use) would reduce indoor carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations to the standard limits for CO exposure set by the World Health Organization.

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Sixth Scientific Conference of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project (IGAC)

Special Issue:Sixth Scientific Conference of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project (IGAC) Bologna, Italy; 13–17 September 1999

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Chemical and biological response of two small lakes in the Khumbu Valley, Himalayas (Nepal) to short-term variability and climatic change as detected by long-term monitoring and paleolimnological methods

The most remote regions of the globe are home of the least disturbed ecosystems, yet they are threatened by air pollution and by climatic change. The Himalayas are one of the most isolated and least explored wilderness areas in the world outside the Polar Regions and it is for this reason that the Tibetan Plateau is often referred to as the Third Pole. Since 1990, an annual limnological survey (including chemistry and biology) has been carried out at two lakes located in the Kumbhu Valley, Nepal, at 5200 and 5400m a.s.l., respectively. Lake water chemistry surveys reveal a persistent increase in the ionic content of the lake water, a trend which appears to be closely linked to increasing temperature. In this study, we also analysed lake sediment cores for historical changes in algal abundance and community composition to evaluate how long-term variations in primary producer communities corresponded to known regional variations in climate systems during the past 3500years. Paleolimnological results support the evidence that the strong variability observed in the chemical data drives the variability in lake production and in the composition of algal assemblages. These variabilities can be related to known features of local climate and the values recorded in the recent years compare well with those recorded during warm periods, such as around 2000 BP, and thus support the idea that this area of the Himalayan Range, influenced by the South Asia monsoon, is closely linked to Northern Hemisphere climate dynamics.

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Global change impacts on mountain lakes

The issue entitled "Global change impacts on mountain lakes” from “Hydrobiologia”.

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High altitude lakes: limnology and paleolimnology

The most remote regions of globe represent some of the least disturbed ecosystems, yet they are threatened by air pollution and by climatic change. The Himalaya is one of the most isolated regions in the world and least explored wildernesses outside the Polar Regions; and it is for this reason that the Tibetan Plateau is often referred to as the ‘Third Pole’. Limnological survey (including chemistry, biology and sediment core studies) of lakes located between ca. 4500 and 5500 m a.s.l. has been performed from 1992 in the Kumbhu Valley, Nepal. Lake water chemical surveys reveal a constant increase of the ionic content of the lake water probably related to glacier retreat. Modern phytoplankton data compared with previous data point to an increasing trend in lake productivity. Zooplankton, benthos and thechamoebians provide useful biogeographical information. Paleolimnological reconstructions show the potential use of these sites in providing proxy data of past climatic changes in high altitude regions. Data collected of persistent organic pollutants show that the studied sites receive input related to long-range transport pollution. The aims and rationale for the future development of the Ev-K2-CNR Limnological Information System is discussed.

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Spatial distribution of debris thickness and melting from remote-sensing and meteorological data, at debris-covered Baltoro glacier, Karakoram, Pakistan

A distributed surface energy-balance study was performed to determine sub-debris ablation across a large part of Baltoro glacier, a wide debris-covered glacier in the Karakoram range, Pakistan. The study area is similar to 124 km(2). The study aimed primarily at analyzing the influence of debris thickness on the melt distribution. The spatial distribution of the physical and thermal characteristics of the debris was calculated from remote-sensing (ASTER image) and field data. Meteorological data from an automatic weather station at Urdukas (4022 m a.s.l.), located adjacent to Baltoro glacier on a lateral moraine, were used to calculate the spatial distribution of energy available for melting during the period 1-15 July 2004. The model performance was evaluated by comparisons with field measurements for the same period. The model is reliable in predicting ablation over wide debris-covered areas. It underestimates melt rates over highly crevassed areas and water ponds with a high variability of the debris thickness distribution in the vicinity, and over areas with very low debris thickness (<0.03 m). We also examined the spatial distribution of the energy-balance components (global radiation and surface temperature) over the study area. The results allow us to quantify, for the study period, a meltwater production of 0.058 km(3).

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Observation of 1,1-difluoroethane (HFC-152a) at AGAGE and SOGE monitoring stations 1994-2004 and derived Global and regional emission estimates

Ground-based in situ measurements of 1,1-difluoroethane (HFC-152a, CH3CHF2) which is regulated under the Kyoto Protocol are reported under the auspices of the AGAGE (Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment) and SOGE (System of Observation of halogenated Greenhouse gases in Europe) programs. Observations of HFC-152a at five locations (four European and one Australian) over a 10 year period were recorded. The annual average growth rate of HFC-152a in the midlatitude Northern Hemisphere has risen from 0.11 ppt/yr to 0.6 ppt/yr from 1994 to 2004. The Southern Hemisphere annual average growth rate has risen from 0.09 ppt/yr to 0.4 ppt/yr from 1998 to 2004. The 2004 average mixing ratio for HFC-152a was 5.0 ppt and 1.8 ppt in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, respectively. The annual cycle observed for this species in both hemispheres is approximately consistent with measured annual cycles at the same locations in other gases which are destroyed by OH. Yearly global emissions of HFC-152a from 1994 to 2004 are derived using the global mean HFC-152a observations and a 12-box 2-D model. The global emission of HFC-152a has risen from 7 Kt/yr to 28 Kt/yr from 1995 to 2004. On the basis of observations of above-baseline elevations in the HFC-152a record and a consumption model, regional emission estimates for Europe and Australia are calculated, indicating accelerating emissions from Europe since 2000. The overall European emission in 2004 ranges from 1.5 to 4.0 Kt/year, 5–15% of global emissions for 1,1-difluoroethane, while the Australian contribution is negligible at 5–10 tonnes/year, <0.05% of global emissions.

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Atmospheric measurements of the halogenated hydrocarbons involved in global change phenomena

Chlorofluorocarbons and their replacement compounds are anthropogenic compounds of great environmental concern. For this reason monitoring their atmospheric mixing ratios on a worldwide scale is recommended. An analytical methodology for the simultaneous determination of selected chlorofluorocarbons and their replacement compounds has recently been developed. This methodology was applied in the analysis of actual air samples collected in remote and semi-remote areas located in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The concentration levels measured in the air samples collected in the two hemispheres are reported.

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