Ice Stupa International / Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research

Climate adaptation with growing glaciers and ice stupas

Tuesday 29 August | 12.00-12.45 | Room: FH Cabaret

Mountains are the water towers of the world. They provide freshwater to half the world’s population for irrigation, industry, domestic use and hydropower. But mountains are also among the regions most sensitive to climate change. Inevitably mountain communities are the first faced with the task of adapting and mitigating to the various challenges such changes present. World-wide glacier retreat is one of the most obvious and impressive manifestations of climate warming. On a regional scale, glaciers fluctuations may affect landscape, meltwater supply (reservoirs, irrigation), security of infrastructure and buildings (ice avalanches, outbursts of glacial lakes), and tourist industry (ski areas, attractiveness of alpine scenery).

Shrinking of glaciers can be slowed down: an analysis of a 20 year weather record combined with model simulations shows that the retreat of Morteratsch Glacier (Swiss Alps) can be stopped by using artificial summer snow produced just by gravity. In the Himalayas, the Icestupa Artificial Glacier Technology (Rolex Award for Enterprises 2016 recipient) was pioneered to compensate for reduced runoff by reutilising unused winter meltwater for irrigation.    Such interventions can sustain the mountain regions as water towers of the world and also provide economical stability by strengthening agricultural production and tourism development.  


12:00 Welcome address
Music: TangoGlaciar

12:05 Ice Stupa Project-Short film

12:10 Slowing down the retreat of Morteratsch glacier
Prof. Hans Oerlemans, IMAU, Utrecht University, Netherlands

12:20 Turning glacial lakes back into glaciers
Sonam Wangchuk, Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh, India

12:30 Ice Stupas for sustainable mountain communities
Dipl. Architekt Conradin Clavout, and Dr. Felix Keller, Academia Engiadina, Switzerland

12:40 Q&A

12:45 Close of session