Automated Weather Stations installed near K2 Base Camp

Scientists from the University of Baltistan Skardu, KIU, Gilgit and the University of Milan, Italy jointly install Automated Weather Stations near K2 Base Camp, on August 2, 2023.

GILGIT: Automated Weather Stations (AWS) have been installed in Askoli, Urdukas, and Concordia near the K2 base camp in the Shigar district of Gilgit-Baltistan.
These installations aim to support environmental conservation, promote eco-tourism, improve livelihoods, and enhance the management of protected areas. Moreover, they seek to facilitate scientific research on glaciers and hydrology in the mountainous regions, with a specific focus on the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Himalayan Mountain Ranges.
According to a statement issued by the GB information department, the AWS installation on glaciers offers numerous benefits such as enhanced glacial research as it will contribute to comprehensive glacial research, enabling scientists and researchers to study the effects of climate change on glacial retreat, mass balance, and melt rates.
It can further be used for early warning systems for glacial hazards, safeguarding vulnerable communities downstream from potential disasters. Moreover, the collected AWS data will be made accessible to researchers and policymakers through the Gilgit-Baltistan Enviro­nmental Protection Agency which will serve as a custodian of AWSs and the data collected. Glacial meltwater contributes significantly to downstream rivers and lakes. AWS data aids in understanding water resource availability and planning for sustainable water management.
This initiative is part of the project “Glaciers and Students,” implemented by EvK2CNR, executed by the United Nations Development Progra­mme, and funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.
In 2022, AWS was installed on Passu, Ghulkin, and Shisper Glaciers as part of the ‘Glacier and Students Project’. The collaboration between EvK2CNR, GB Environmental Protec­tion Agency, Karakoram International University, University of Baltistan, and the University of Milan successfully deployed AWSs in Askoli, Urdukas, and Concordia, near the K2 base camp in the Shigar district, contributing to climate research and efforts to address climate change challenges.
The AWS will continuously monitor meteorological data in real time, providing valuable insights into weather conditions and their impact on glacial dynamics. The inclusion of academia and the GB Environmental Protection Agency in the project and their role as a custodian of AWSs and the data will make the project a success and sustainable.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2023