Recent advances in understanding climate, glacier and river dynamics in high mountain Asia

Séminaire de Walter IMMERZEEL (Utrecht Univ.), jeudi 31 août 2017 à 11h, bâtiment Glaciologie, salle Lliboutry.

Abstract :
The water cycle in the Himalaya is poorly understood because of its extreme topography that results in complex interactions between climate, water stored in snow and glaciers and the hydrological processes. Hydrological extremes in the greater Himalayas regularly cause great damage, while high mountain Asia also supplies water to over 25% of the global population. So, the stakes are high and an accurate understanding of the Himalayan water cycle is imperative. The hydrology of the greater Himalayas is only marginally resolved due to the intricacy of monsoon dynamics, the poorly quantified dependence on the cryosphere and the physical constraints of doing research in high-altitude and generally inaccessible terrain. However, in recent years significant scientific advances have been made in field monitoring, modelling and remote sensing and the latest progress and outstanding challenges will be presented for three related fields. First focus will be on recent learnings about high altitude climate dynamics and the interaction between the atmosphere and the extreme mountain topography. Secondly, recent advances in how climate controls key glacio-hydrological processes in high-altitude catchments will be discussed with a particular focus on debris covered glaciers. Thirdly, new developments in glacio-hydrological modelling and approaches to climate change impact assessments will be reviewed. Finally, the outstanding scientific challenges will be synthesized that need to be addressed to fully close the high mountain water cycle and to be able to reduce the uncertainty in future projections of water availability and the occurrence of extreme events in high mountain Asia.

Seminar of W.W. Immerzeel.

Walter Immerzeel (1975) ( holds a PhD degree in physical geography from Utrecht University and he works on the interface of mountain hydrology, climate change and agriculture, with a particular focus on the Himalaya. He has worked in the Netherlands as well as in numerous developing countries and he has a large international network. From December 2002 until June 2004 he was attached to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal as associate expert GIS and natural resource management. Since 2005 he has been working for the research and consulting firm FutureWater in Wageningen and he has been responsible for various applied research projects across the globe. Since 2008 he combines this position with post-doctoral research work at Utrecht University and ETH Zurich. He has been awarded several prestigious personal grants : NWO-VENI (2011), ERC Starting Grant (2015) and NWO-VIDI (2016) for his pioneering Himalayan research. He has published about 70 papers in high quality peer reviewed scientific journals including Nature and Science. He currently works as associate professor at Utrecht University and he is leading the mountain hydrology ( group in the department of Physical Geography. He is responsible for a number of projects on the cutting edge of climate change, glaciology and hydrology and is teaching several courses in the curriculum of the Geosciences faculty.

Seminar hosted by Patrick Wagon (IGE-CYME)