A high altitude glaciological research station in Himalaya called Himansh (meaning a slice of ice) began functioning above 13,500 ft (4000 m) in a remote region in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.
Researchers will use this station as a base for undertaking surveys that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision.
- Himansh station will provide much needed fillip to the scientific research on Himalayan glaciers and its hydrological contribution.
- The research lab has been established by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Spiti Valley, one of the most uninhabited parts of the country
- The station houses instruments to quantify glacier melting and its relation to changing climate.
- Some of the instruments available at this research facility include automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems and other sophisticated facilities.
- It will also serve as the base for Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for undertaking surveys.
- The Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps. It is called the “Water Tower of Asia”.
- It is source of 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, drinking water and power for over 700 million people (10% of world’s population) living in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Thus, understanding behaviour of these Himalayan glaciers and their contribution to sustainable supply of water for mankind and agriculture is one of grand challenges of Indian scientific community.