22 July 2016
On 13-20 July 2016 the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, in cooperation with the Central Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG), Kyrgyz National University and in partnership with UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office, organized a Summer School on Glacier Mass Balance Measurements and Analysis in Kyrgyzstan.About a dozen of young specialists from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia took part in the training course. The participants of the Summer School were trained in both field and theory by an international team of experts in glaciology. Theoretical lectures took place at CAIAG in Bishkek. Practical training in field work was conducted on Batysh Sook Glacier.
Due to the economic development of high mountain areas and climate change impact, the study of permafrost conditions is becoming an issue of practical importance in Kyrgyzstan, especially in relation to the construction of roads, buildings, underground utilities, communication and power lines, well drilling, mining operations, as well as to identify potential zones of mudflow risk. In this regard, UNESCO Almaty Office supported the organization of a Summer school on Permafrost and potentially dangerous glacier lakes, which was held from July 25 to August 13 and included field studies in the basins of the Big and Small Naryn Rivers. The Summer school was conducted under the guidance of the Kyrgyz National University named after J. Balasagyn, with the support of UNESCO Almaty and in cooperation with the Kyrgyz National Commission for UNESCO. During the field work, the extent and thickness of permafrost was determined, using the data on surface and soil temperatures at various depths. Very little data is available on permafrost for the Central Asia region, stressing the need of enhancing research in this area.
These activities improved the knowledge and skills of local experts and young specialists in glaciology, as well as provided with better knowledge of the expected negative implications of climate change on glacier systems and permafrost.