Mountain Wave Project

For the first time a motorglider aircraft from the German Mountain Wave Project equipped with a prototype 3D aerial camera system carried out several flights around the Annapurna and the Khumbu Himalaya regions of Nepal. A team of German pilots and scientists, supported by ICIMOD in Kathmandu, Nepal, systematically scanned glacier surfaces using the new camera system developed by the German Aerospace Center. The camera was especially designed for the topographically challenging environment of the Nepalese Himalaya. The aerial images will be used to derive 3D models with a ground resolution as high as 15 cm. Such data can form the basis for monitoring glacier volume changes which give important information about glacier contribution to runoff. Other potential applications including monitoring of slope instabilities and glacial lakes which can cause glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF).

As a sub-project of Mountain Wave Project, a first overview of the vertical distribution of aerosol pollution over Nepalwas obtained using a portable instrument package flown on board a motor glider.  The team was able to demonstrate that small environmentally friendly aircraft are indeed a suitable tool for such measurements, carrying out vertical profile measurements over the cities of Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhairahawa and Bharatpur. Two additional flights over Baglung and the Kali Ghandaki valley up to Jomsom were performed to investigate the inflow of polluted air from the south sides of the Himalaya  into the high mountain areas. Based on the result of this preliminary study further measurements are now planned for the next dry season (2014/2015) with more frequent surveys under different meteorological conditions. These measurements are closely linked to the international Project SusKat on air pollution in Kathmanduand was carried out in cooperation with ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative, IASS- Potsdam, Germany, the University of Virginia, USA, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.

Mountain Wave Project

Mountain Wave Project