Saving the Himalayan Glaciers: A Field Trial to Slow the Melting of Glacial Ice
The glaciers in the Himalayas are melting rapidly, and traditional methods of decarbonizing the economy are not sufficient to slow the melting. A collaboration of organizations, including the Healthy Climate Initiative along with Bright Ice Initiative, Indian Institute Technology Indore, Climformatics, Climate Foundation, and Indigenous People's Climate Justice are working to preserve the Himalayan glaciers. We have a potential solution that has been shown to be effective in slowing the melting of lake ice. The solution, which has been shown to be effective in slowing the melting of lake ice, will be evaluated in a three-year field trial beginning in June 2023 at the Chhota Shigri Glacier in India. The goal is to deliver an effective and ecologically safe solution by 2026. The cost of the field trial is approximately $250,000, and donations are being accepted through the link https://donorbox.org/save-our-glaciers-concert. Your support can make a difference in saving our glaciers.
The Himalayan glaciers are melting rapidly due to global warming, causing extreme floods in South and East Asia, and resulting in water insecurity for the people in the region. The recent devastating flood in Pakistan is an example of the impact. The retreat of the glaciers is causing many people to become climate refugees as they desert their homes. The eastern Himalayas are projected to be ice-free by 2050, which would have devastating impacts on billions of people, destabilizing the region and the world. Therefore, immediate action is needed to stop or slow the melting of these glaciers in order to prevent these catastrophic consequences.
We plan to slow the melting of the Himalayan glaciers by increasing their surface reflectivity. The Bright Ice Initiative, led by Dr. Leslie Field and collaborating colleagues, have shown through lab testing and research-scale field testing on small ponds in the US that adding a thin layer of safe reflective material such as Hollow Glass Microspheres (HGMs) on top of ice and snow can significantly slow the melt. Climate modeling simulations by Climformatics have also shown that adding HGMs to the surface of a small percentage of the Arctic could potentially preserve Arctic sea ice. However, glacial conditions in the Himalayas may pose new challenges for this approach, which is why a field trial in a Himalayan glacier is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of our solution. Climate modeling will also be used to determine the strategic areas that need to be re-brightened to preserve the Himalayan glaciers.
Minnesota Pond Experiment
We plan to conduct a field trial in the Chhota Shigri Glacier in India starting in June 2023 for a duration of three years. The trial will include several test scenarios such as flat surfaces, inclined surfaces with various slopes, different altitudes, and melt conditions. We will test the effectiveness of HGMs and other materials under these conditions. The trial will use two 10 x 10 meter test areas, one with the material and the other without, for each test scenario. We will measure the reduction in melt and mass balance, albedo (reflectivity), incoming and outgoing radiation, and ambient temperatures by deploying fully automatic weather stations. The cost of the field trial is approximately $250,000, which includes equipment, materials, expeditions, travel, honorariums, salary for a field assistant, and stipend for a Ph.D student from the Indian Institute of Technology Indore.
Expected Outcome and Benefits
At the end of the field trial and climate modeling by 2026, we will deliver the following: (a) an ecologically safe and effective solution to slow the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, (b) determination of the strategic areas that need to be re-brightened for the preservation of the Himalayan glaciers, and (c) the total cost and time estimated to preserve the Himalayan glaciers. Our results and datasets will be published in peer-reviewed journals, presented in various conferences, and we will work to influence the United Nations and the Himalayan countries to adopt the solution to preserve the Himalayas and other glaciers. This work is conducted only for public benefit.
A Plea for Help
We have a potential solution and a dedicated team of scientists and leaders to slow the melting and preserve the Himalayan glaciers. Our previous field testing and simulation results give us confidence in our approach, but we need your support to fund the critical next step of the research-scale field trial. The fate of billions of people is at stake. Please help us by donating through the provided link: https://donorbox.org/save-our-glaciers-concert . Your support can make a difference in saving billions of lives.
The Healthy Climate Initiative and Bright Ice Initiative have formed a collaboration with expert scientists and climate leaders from the US, India, Iceland, Nepal, and Germany to preserve the Himalayan glaciers. The primary team members include the following.
1. Dr. Leslie Field, Founder is the Chief Scientist for this project.
2. Dr. Mohd. Farooq Azam will lead the field trials.
3. Doug Johnson is a materials and applications expert for the project.
4. Dr. Anthony P. Manzara is a scientist for the project.
5. Dr. Mahendra Bhutiyani is a glaciologist for the project.
6. Dr. Subarna Bhattacharyya is a climate modeler for the project.
7. Dr. Detelina Ivanova is a climate modeler for the project.
8. Dr. Fred Litt is a scientific advisor for the project.
9. Dr. Soumitra Das is the overall lead for the project.