Glaciers are the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth, supporting one third of the world's population. The Himalaya possess one of the largest resources of snow and ice, which act as a freshwater reservoir for more than 1.3 billion people. This article describes a new project called HIMALA, which focuses on utilizing satellite-based products for better understanding of hydrological processes of the river basins of the region. With support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), together with its partners and member countries, has been working on the application of satellite-based rainfall estimates for flood prediction. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partners are working with ICIMOD to incorporate snowmelt and glacier melt into a widely used hydrological model. Thus, through improved modeling of the contribution of snow and ice meltwater to river flow in the region, the HIMALA project will improve the ability of ICIMOD and its partners to understand the impact of weather and climate on floods, droughts, and other water- and climate-induced natural hazards in the Himalayan region in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Additional publication details
HIMALA: climate impacts on glaciers, snow, and hydrology in the Himalayan region
Mountain Research and Development
International Mountain Society
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center