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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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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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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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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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Sedimentary evidence for recent increases in production in Tibetan plateau lakes

The Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia with an average elevation of over 4,500 m and contains the world’s third largest store of ice. It occupies a climatic transition zone between the Asian monsoons and westerly airflow. As a result of this location, the region is sensitive to changes in climate on timescales of decades to millennia and longer. Long-term data are needed to evaluate climatic changes and their impact on ecosystems, but in areas as remote as the Tibetan Plateau, long-term instrumental records of environmental change are geographically sparse and monitoring has only been undertaken in recent times. Paleolimnological approach might be then one of the few means by which environmental variability can be ascertained at scales that allow comparison with contemporary monitoring data and future model projections. Therefore, a paleolimnological study was undertaken in eight different lakes sampled along a North–South transect across the Tibetan Plateau analysing geochemistry and algal pigment in order to assess longer term variability in the trophic condition of these systems and their potential to reconstruct changes in relation to recent climate evolution and possible human impacts. Chronologies for the last century were based on radiometric techniques (210Pb, 241Am and 137Cs). Results show that inorganic sediment dominates the composition of the cores used in this study. Organic carbon constitutes less than 5% d.w. in all the lake cores, except for Kemen Co core where concentrations up to 14% d.w., are observed. Corg:N ratios are generally in the order of 5–10, indicating that autochthonous algal production is the principal biological source of organic matter. Pigment preservation is generally good throughout the cores from all lakes as shown by the 430:410 nm ratio that is generally around 1.0 or higher. Six out of eight lakes show an increase in primary production in recent times. High pre-1800 AD pigment concentrations were detected only in Qinghai Lake. Since most of the lakes show a similar behaviour in the most recent section of the core, we interpret this as a response to climate and land-use changes that have increased autochthonous production throughout the Tibetan Plateau.

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Analysis of glacial meltwater in Bagrot Valley, Karakoram, based on short term ablation and debris cover observations on Hinarche Glacier

People in the Karakoram use discharge from glaciers during summer for irrigation and other purposes. While the glacial meltwater supply during hot and dry periods will vary as a result of climate change, Karakoram glaciers so far have not shown a consistent reaction to climatic change, although climate scenarios indicate severe future impacts in the high-elevation regions of the Himalaya and Karakoram. Field measurements on Hinarche Glacier in Bagrot Valley are combined with remote sensing information and climate observations to investigate the meltwater production of the glacier and estimate the meltwater discharge in the valley. Special emphasis was placed on ice melt beneath supraglacial debris, which is the common process on the glacier tongues in the region. The calculated annual meltwater production of about 135 million m3 for Hinarche Glacier shows the order of magnitude for glacier runoff in such environments. Glacial meltwater production is about 300 million m3 per year for the entire valley under balanced conditions. This analysis serves as a basis for further investigations concerning temporal meltwater variability and potential water usage by the local population.

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A new estimation of the recent tropospheric molecular hydrogen budget using atmospheric observations and variational inversion

This paper presents an analysis of the recent tropospheric molecular hydrogen (H2) budget with a particular focus on soil uptake and European surface emissions. A variational inversion scheme is combined with observations from the RAMCES and EUROHYDROS atmospheric networks, which include continuous measurements performed between mid-2006 and mid-2009. Net H2 surface flux, then deposition velocity and surface emissions and finally, deposition velocity, biomass burning, anthropogenic and N2 fixation-related emissions were simultaneously inverted in several scenarios. These scenarios have focused on the sensibility of the soil uptake value to different spatio-temporal distributions. The range of variations of these diverse inversion sets generate an estimate of the uncertainty for each term of the H2 budget. The net H2 flux per region (High Northern Hemisphere, Tropics and High Southern Hemisphere) varies between ?8 and +8 Tg yr?1. The best inversion in terms of fit to the observations combines updated prior surface emissions and a soil deposition velocity map that is based on bottom-up and top-down estimations. Our estimate of global H2 soil uptake is ?59±9 Tg yr?1. Forty per cent of this uptake is located in the High Northern Hemisphere and 55% is located in the Tropics. In terms of surface emissions, seasonality is mainly driven by biomass burning emissions. The inferred European anthropogenic emissions are consistent with independent H2 emissions estimated using a H2/CO mass ratio of 0.034 and CO emissions within the range of their respective uncertainties. Additional constraints, such as isotopic measurements would be needed to infer a more robust partition of H2 sources and sinks.

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Mountains Witnesses of Global Changes. Research in the Himalaya and Karakoram: SHARE-Asia Project.

The Himalayan-Karakoram range - for its elevation and geographic location, represents one of the ideal places for studying long-range pollutant transport systems on a regional scale and for monitoring changes index by mechanisms that act on global scale through monsoon circulation. This book offers a comprehension of the environmental phenomena

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The determination of a regional atmospheric background mixing ratio for anthropogenic greenhouse gases: a comparison of two independent methods

Halocarbons are powerful greenhouse gases capable of significantly influencing the radiative forcing of the Earth’s atmosphere. Halocarbons are monitored in several stations which are globally distributed in order to assess long term atmospheric trends and to identify source regions. However, to achieve these aims the definition of background mixing ratios, i.e. the mixing ratio in a given air mass when the recent contribution of local sources is absent, is necessary. This task can be accomplished using different methods. This paper presents a statistical methodology that has been devised specifically for a mountain site located in Continental Europe (Monte Cimone, Italy), characterised by the vicinity of strong sources. The method involves the decomposition of the observed data distribution into a Gaussian distribution, representative of background values, and a Gamma distribution, ascribable to contribution from stronger sources. The method has been applied to a time series from a European marine remote station (Mace Head, Ireland) as well as to time series from Monte Cimone. A comparison of the methodology described in this paper with a well-established meteorological filtering procedure at Mace Head has shown an excellent agreement. A comparison of the baselines at Mace Head, Mt. Cimone and the Swiss alpine station of the Jungfraujoch highlighted the occurrence of a specific background concentration. Although this paper presents the application of the method to three hydrofluorocarbons, the proposed methodology can be extended to any long lived atmospheric component for which a long term time series is available and at any location even if affected by strong source regions.

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