Germany announces 3 Million Euro worth grant to monitor over 5000 melting glaciers in the northern parts of Pakistan
Germany has announced a grant of 6 million Euros to establish Pakistan Glacial Monitoring Network which will monitor over 5000 melting glaciers in the northern parts of Pakistan that contribute about 80 per cent of river flow.
Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to the risks climate change, experiencing recurring floods. The German grant will help Pakistan study and address climate change challenges.
The grant will be provided through the KfW Development Bank to the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) for the Project “Glacial Monitoring for Energy and Water Security in Pakistan” for telemetric equipment in the lower stretches of the glaciated areas. Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to vagaries of climate change, experiencing recurring floods.
Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Member Water WAPDA Mr. Shoeib Iqbal and KfW Country Director Mr. Wolfgang Moellers signed the Grant Financing Agreement in Islamabad in the presence of First Secretary Sebastian Ernst from the German Embassy and WAPDA.
Speaking on the occasion, both EAD and WAPDA appreciated the long-term development partnership with KfW. Mr. Moellers said that “being the custodian of the largest number of glaciers outside the arctic, Pakistan can surely assume global leadership in addressing a critical aspect of Climate Change through this Project.”
Pakistan Glacial Monitoring Network will study Pakistani glaciers and the Solar power equipment will transmit glacial melt data for processing in Lahore. The data will be used to regulate hydropower generation, dam protection, and other reservoir management operations.
The Federal Flood Commission, the Flood Forecasting Division of the Pakistan Meteorological Department and the Indus River Systems Authority will benefit from the information and Network. Two state-of-the-art energy efficient buildings will be constructed in Lahore and Skardu for housing the staff and the sophisticated equipment.
Most of Pakistan’s 5,000 glaciers are retreating faster
Around 5,000 glaciers in Pakistan mountainous valleys, particularly Northern Areas of Chitral district and Gilgit-Baltistan region are melting at a faster rate because of rising temperatures. This alarming rise during the last decade has surpassed all the past records has enhanced the snow/ice melt rate.
“Presently, glacial melting is among major global warming-induced risk Pakistan is grappled with. Other risks include sea-level rise, floods, higher than average temperature, a higher frequency of droughts and expanding desertification,” according to Deputy Director Ministry of Climate Change Muhammad Saleem Shaikh.
The mountain streams even flow in the winter now – a phenomenon never observed few years ago – as revealed by the residents of Hunza, Ghizer, Gupis, Skardu, Gulmit and Bagrot valleys of the Gilgit-Baltistan.
“Temperatures in most of the mountainous valleys never used to go beyond 30 degree Celsius during summer but now it surpasses 40 degree Celsius at times.” This rise in temperature was causing expansion of rainy weather on one hand and squeezing the snowfall period on the other.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), there were some 2,400 potentially hazardous glacial lakes in the country’s remotest mountain valleys in 2010, a number that has now increased to over 3,000. While some glaciologists say that now all Karakorum glaciers were melting.
A 2005 study identified 5,218 glaciers with the glacier area coverage of 15,040 km² [with 2,738 km³ of ice reserves] and 2,420 lakes including 52 “potentially dangerous” glacial lakes in Pakistan.