Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays


Happy Holidays! Christmas was just another work day here in Kyrgyzstan as it is not celebrated nationally or religiously by Muslims. However, Bishkek is decorated in tinsel and neon as Kyrgyzstan gears up for New Years, which is the big holiday here. It snowed on Christmas Eve so it was a crisp, white Christmas in Bishkek. I enjoyed several holiday parties with a mix of locals and foreign friends. Christmas dinner was a huge feast served traditional style on the floor atop a Kyrgyz shyrdak (felt rug). This past holiday weekend I had the pleasure of skiing at several small ski bases outside Bishkek. They may be small, but it is still wild Kyrgyzstan... Untracked slopes with the occasional piece of steel and ancient tow-rope-lifts that lift you several meters off the ground and carry you over obstacles. All mixed in with stoic aggressive Russian skiers, out of control kids and picnics in the parking lot. This week I will be translating my interviews for my social research project and finally finishing preparing my GIS data for Kyrgyzstan. I am looking forward to making my own maps! Mid-week I will head to the west to celebrate New Years with my Kyrgyz friend Bakyt and his family on Lake Issy-Kul!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ala-Archa Skiing

Just returned from several days skiing in Ala-Archa with my friends David (a Brit living and studying Russian in Bishkek) and Frieder (a German attending medical school in Bishkek). The trek in was long, the last 2 km took us over 6 hours and we arrived well after dark. We camped out in an old abandoned ski lodge situated at 3500 m (that is over 11,500 ft) at the head of the Ala-Archa drainage. Although the snow was shallow, weak (check out snow profile) and windblown we had a great time exploring, skiing mellow runs at the base of several glaciers and dreaming of returning when there is more snow and longer days.


PHOTOS (click to see more photos)


SNOW PROFILE (click to enlarge)

Food



Food is not the highlight of Central Asia, but still a tasty and often fatty experience. Food in Kyrgyzstan is a combination of the traditional diet of meat, dairy and bread mixed with regional influences from Dungan Chinese, Uzbek and Turks. Meat is king, and fatty mutton is the most esteemed ingredient of any meal. People also eat beef, chicken and at weddings and funerals horse meat. Daily food is based on potatoes, bread, rice, noodles and often some various combination of them mixed with mutton and load of fat. Bread products abound from street stalls into everyone’s home. Produce is seasonal, I look forward to spring and summer when the markets will fill overflowing with apricots, peaches and apples (did you know apples are from the Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan area?). In the winter, all fruits and vegetables besides potatoes seem to be more decorative than nutritional.

Meals are usually served on a dastarkhan, a large cloth laid on the floor. In some homes people sit on the floor around a small table as well. The meal usually starts with tea the breaking of bread, torn apart and distributed across the table. Then the main meal is served and it seems to be a free for all. As a guest a more elaborate setting of food is usually present. You can read about my experiences of being a guest in Issy-Kul.


BELOW IS JUST A SAMPLE OF KYRGYZ CUISINE


MEAT DISHES

  • BESH-BARMAK- Translation means five fingers, which is a literal meaning as it is usually eaten with the hand. Not just a dish, besh-barmak is a entire process from the slaughtering of the sheep to the distribution of who gets what piece of meat.

  • SHASHLYK- Kebabs of fresh marinated meat cooked outside over an open flame. Most common is mutton but you can also find beef, chicken and liver. Delicious!

  • LAGHMAN- Noodles served with mutton and a few vegetables in a broth. Everywhere, seems to be the go to item for most people.

  • MANTY- A steamed dumpling filled with meat and onions.

  • PLOV- Rice pilaf made with mutton, lots of fat and few pieces of carrots and onions all cooked in a kazan (large cauldron).

  • GAMBURGER- Found only on the streets of Bishkek, it is like a hamburger but it is not. Westernization of mutton packaged up with lots on mayo.


BREAD PRODUCTS

  • NAN (Kyrgyz) and LEPYOSHKA (Russian)- Bread usually baked in a tandoori oven. Everywhere in many forms and served at every meal. Did I mention it is everywhere?
  • SAMSA- Meat and/or veggie pie made with pastry dough baked in a tandoori oven.
  • PIROSHKI- Deep fried meat or potato pies. Different from a samsa because it is a heavier dough and deep fat fried.
  • BOORSOK- Square pieces of fried dough. One of the most preferred and respected types of bread. Heaps of boorsok often decorates the table for quests.

MILK PRODUCTS Central Asia offers the best dairy products I have ever tasted in my life.
  • Kaimak is a heavy cream, scooped of the top of sitting milk.
  • Yogurt takes on many forms here. There is plain yogurt best in rural areas when it is fresh. Aryan or kefir is a salty yogurt/water mixture. Katyk is a thinner version of Aryan. And Kurut! Kurut are small balls of dried salty kefir (yogurt). Often an acquired taste, kurut is one of my favorite snacks. Kymys is alcoholic fermented mare’s milk that is the national drink of Kyrgyzstan. Despite all the dairy, there is not too much good cheese to be found.
  • Ozz is my favorite, the thick sweet milk only produced by a cow in the first 10 days after giving birth to a calf

DRINKS

Tea and vodka are the drinks of choice...

  • Chay (TEA) Tea is of the utmost importance and as a guest your piala (round tea mug without handle) is tended to diligently and never left empty. Both black and green tea are common.

  • VODKA Despite the fact that most people are Muslim, drinking is not a light affair in Kyrgyzstan. Vodka dominates every drinking affair I have been involved with. The pressure is heavy to drink, the toasts long and the shots often. In Russian “chut chut” just a little bit is often the preface. But just one is not really an option. I have found it to be all or none.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Alpine Fund

This past weekend I spent teaching skiing with The Alpine Fund to local children who work at Osh Bazaar, one of the large street markets in Bishkek. The Alpine Fund (www.alpinefund.org) is a local non-profit that works to connect at-risk youth from orphanages and street markets with the mountains. Through hiking, climbing, skiing, education programs, mentoring, and scholarships The Alpine Fund allows the kids a chance to have fun while promoting education and helping them prepare for life. I have been attending Alpine Fund meetings and plan to be active with them throught my entire time here. There is a wonderful group of volunteers and locals involved and it is great to see an organization where the money all goes towards the kids and their education.

It was an education in my language skills to spend the weekend with the kids! I can barely speak Kyrgyz like a toddler. But through many smiles, lots of body language, the help of David and Frieder's Russian (the two other volunteers) and some new vocabulary words we spend Saturday and Sunday skiing outside Ala-Archa. The kids loved every minute of it. They had no fear tearing up the barely snow covered slopes on decade old ski gear. Saturday evening we played some games and spent some time pondering the world map.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Snow Profile: Ala-Archa


Early season conditions near ski base at entrance to Ala-Archa Canyon outside Bishkek.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Publications

WRITTEN BY ANN PIERSALL

EXTERNAL PRESS







Snow Profile

Click on image to enlarge.

My first snow pit of the year!

GOALS

SUPPORT

As U.S. Fulbright Student Scholar, my main funding is from a Fulbright Grant through the United States Department of State. My research is also supported by an American Alpine Club Research Grant and a Nikwax Alpine Bellwether Grant. I have research affiliations with The University of Central Asia and Dr. Sarah Halvorson of The University of Montana. Numerous other companies and organizations have provide invaluable support and assistance.

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PROJECTS


1. Interdisciplinary Study of Glaciation in the At-Bashy Range
This research is a unique combination of local physical data on climate change, exploratory mountaineering objectives, and a social analysis of climate change knowledge among the semi-nomadic Kyrgyz livestock herders utilizing the range’s high mountain pastures. The social research will be a field Based assessment of traditional knowledge of glaciers and contemporary perspectives of climate change. This research will be conducted in jailoos (summer grazing pastures) and small mountain communities around the At-Bashy Range, a constitute range of the Tien Shan. These communities rely on snow melt and glacial melt to sustain their semi-nomadic, livestock-based livelihoods. Despite numerous studies dramatic decreases in the Tien Shan systematic studies of what local people know and think are lacking from scientific literature. This research will then be paired with historic precipitation and temperature records, satellite imagery analysis and photography to provide an interdisciplinary approach for evaluating climate change. Exploratory mountaineering during the summer of 2010 will allow for detailed observation including collection of photographs and GIS data to enhance the research and highlight the area.


2. Inventory Work
I am organizing an inventory of information including maps, historic records, climate information and photographs of the At-Bashy Range. The entire At-Bashy inventory will be cataloged with The University of Central Asia, the American Alpine Club and several non-governmental organizations for use in future research. I currently in the process of searching across Kyrgyzstan for historic photographs suitable for use in a repeat photography project to complement ongoing investigations based on remote sensing. This work will be across the Tien Shan and will not be limited to the At-Bashy Range. Photographs will be submitted to the Global Photograph Collection at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.


3. Community Involvement
From a personal and professional level I am interested in becoming involved in local organizations and community projects. My current involvement is:

  • Volunteering with The Alpine Fund in Bishkek - a local organization that works to connect local youth and the mountains
  • Teaching avalanche safety classes: Winter recreation is in its infancy here, but developing quite rapidly. I am not interested in the tourism development aspects of this progression, but I am interested in increasing awareness of locals who work as guides. At this time I am planning to spend a couple weeks in Arslanbob, Kyrgyzstan teaching basic avalanche awareness classes to local CBT (community-based tourism guides) that will include terrain management, assessing instability and rescue skills.
  • Collaboration with The Kyrgyzstan Plan to explore ski-touring possibilities and grassroots development of ski lodges in multiple regions in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Volunteering with local and international research institutions and individuals: There are many projects currently ongoing in Kyrgyzstan regarding glaciers and mountain geography. This summer I will be assisting with research regarding biological activity and dust retention on glacial surfaces in Ala-Archa Park.
  • Development of a "Mountains and Glacier program" encouraging interest in geography and the local mountains. I will present the program at elementary schools around Kyrgyzstan including The International School in Bishkek and public schools in At-Bashy and surrounding communities.


4. Contributions
I will be documenting my final inventories, research and expedition reports with The University of Central Asia, The University of Montana, the American Alpine Club library and the National Snow and Ice Data Center. I am also interested in sharing information and increasing general awareness about Kyrgyzstan with the public through the publication of articles in magazines, newspapers and other sources, such as this blog. Although I am most interested in promoting knowledge about the mountain places and people of Kyrgyzstan, I also look forward to sharing information about daily life in Central Asia. On my blog, I will be posting information ranging snow observations to the local gastronomical delights. Following the completion of my research I also expect to submitted articles for publication in scientific journals. Upon return to the states, I will present my work and experiences to whomever is keen to listen.


5. Mountain Goals
From a personal level I am very very excited by all the mountaineering and skiing possibilities that exist in Kyrgyzstan. Some of these excursions may benefit my research specifically and some may be purely recreational. I plan on sharing these adventures through my blog and other alpine related publications.


  • At-Bashy Range Mountaineering. I will be joined by Ben Logan for the summer of 2010 to pursue mountaineering objectives in the At-bashy Range. The range is approximately 120 km long and 30 km wide, with dozens of 3000 and 4000m peaks. The first documented expedition to explore the area was by Pat Littlejohn and a group from the International School of Mountaineering in 2003 (American Alpine Journal, 2003). Since then several other parties have climbed in the area, including repeat trips by Pat Littlejohn and ISM. However, most the range is not well explored and many of the peaks do not have documented ascents. Our multi-month commitment will involve multiple trips. The range and the nomadic nature of the Kyrgyz living around the range allows the opportunity to use small villages and jailoos (summer grazing pastures) as rest and resupply locations. All climbing will be alpine style. Due to the little know nature of the range, it is expected that most ascents will be Class III to Class V, often involving steep snow travel and some glacial travel. More aggressive mountain objectives with harder technical requirements are expected to develop as we learn more about the range The mountain objectives will highlight scientific research that I currently have underway.


6. Language Skills
A personal goal of mine is to develop a working proficiency of the Kyrgyz language and develop a basic knowledge of Russian. I am currently studying Kyrgyz with hopes that by spring I will be able to engage in conversations and communicate my needs.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Research



After three weeks, I am finally starting to get a bit of a grasp on my goals for my time in Kyrgyzstan. I am currently living in Bishkek and just acquired some office space (see above photo) with one of my collaborators, University of Central Asia. I am taking Kyrgyz language classes in the morning. I spend my days getting lost and found again as I make my way around Bishkek in search of historic photographs, old maps and key informants on glaciers and mountains. I have also been making many new friends and getting out experiencing Kyrgyzstan (check out the photographs). It is amazing how quickly I have already developed a sense of community. The first snows are settling in the mountains and I am looking forward to skiing. In the near future you can expect to see a more outlined plan for my time here.



Photographs





AT-BASHY


Just click on the photograph or link to be taken to that photo gallery
Or you may access www.tienshanglaciers.mugshot.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

At-Bashy

As exciting as it was to get to Kyrgyzstan, the initial excitement was greatly surpassed by the excitement of finally seeing the At-Bashy Range. From Bishkek, it takes about 6-10 hours to get there by shared taxi, which is the most practical form of travel.

Leaving the smog of Bishkek last week, I was finally given my first real view of the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, starting with the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range, just south of the capital. Mountains cover 80-97% of the country depending on which source you consult. But what a unique landscape! Badlands give way to towering red cliffs and mountain range after mountain range of snow capped peaks.

The At-Bashy Range sits just north of the Chinese border. Running east-west they loom above a large high steppe valley which holds the town of At-Bashy and the Torugart Pass "highway", which is the only road linking central and eastern Kyrgyzstan with China. The road condition varies from potholed pavement to horrendous single-lane washboard gravel. The dusty town of At-Bashy sits just a few kilometers off the highway at 2370 meters (7800 feet). Lonely Planet describes it as a frontier town at the very far end of populated Kyrgyzstan, but it must be taken with a grain of salt as it still is in the guidebook. The ethnicity of people in this region are almost entirelyKyrgyz and they are quite proud of this fact. The population is around 14,000 according to a government official I spoke with. However this is difficult to say because of the semi nomadic nature of many of the residents. More than half of the population leaves in the summer to tend to livestock in high summer pastures called jailoos. From spring into fall, families live in yurts and move to follow the best grasses to graze their sheep, cows, yaks and horses. In the winter, most people return to At-Bashy and several smaller villages scattered throughout the valley and unemployment is extremely high in the winter. There are some permanent jobs with the government and schools, but wealth is based on livestock and cash. From my questioning it seemed that average salaries were about $20 US a month. The first important thing to note is that not many people are going hungry. Food security is decent, given the fact that many people grow and slaughter their own food. This is not to say that there are not nutrition issues. The other interesting thing is the high emphasis placed on looks. All the people in Kyrgyzstan, from the capital of Bishkek to the tiny town of At-Bashy, take great pride in their appearance. Daily dress is suits for men and fur and high-heels for women. My rubber mud boots have not been winning many fashion fans here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Arrival

Kyrgyzstan! I arrived three days ago to Bishkek, the capital city. My travels here went as smooth as imaginable. I and all of my things, most importantly my skis, have arrived safely. I have put my skiing and mountaineering equipment into storage at a friends and am now free to travel about with only my small backpack for the next several weeks.

I have been spending time walking, getting lost and then finding myself again. I also have been meeting many of my contacts and friends, both Americans and locals who live here. Bishkek is a city stuggling to find its identity as it gains foothold in the years following over 70 years of Soviet Rule. The corropution, conflict and poverty that I was warned of are all clearly visible here but are shared with emerging modern technologies, fast food and hoards of fashionably dressed students.

Tomorrow I am headed out to At Bashy and Naryn and then onto Karakol next week. I plan to be back in Bishkek for Thanksgiving for turkey, stuffing and cranberry with some friends.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Departure

The time is finally here... 10 days to departure from the states. I will depart from Kalispell, Montana on November 5th 2009. I will arrive in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, November 11th after taking in a few days of vacation in Istanbul, Turkey. I am looking forward to settling in for my first winter in Central Asia.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Welcome

This project is an exploratory evaluation of glaciation, mountain culture and climate change in the At-Bashy, a remote mountain range of Tien Shan, located within the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. Research will provide one the first empirical assessments linking the social and physical processes of glaciation. Quantitative data compilation and exploratory mountaineering will organize a local inventory and database of climate and mountains, glaciers and climate in the At-Bashy. Qualitative social data analysis will address the perceptions and knowledge of glacier retreat and climate change held by local people.

Funded by a Fulbright Grant and the American Alpine Club, the project is organized by Ann Piersall. Research will begin in November 2009 and run through the summer of 2010. The interdisciplinary field based approach of this project will promote awareness, encourage international collaboration and engage local communities of the At-Bashy in this unique assessment of mountain geography and culture.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Exploration


PAST TRIPS INCLUDE:
FUTURE PLANS INCLUDE:
  • At-Bashy Range Mountaineering. I will be joined by Ben Logan for the summer of 2010 to pursue mountaineering objectives in the At-bashy Range. The range is approximately 120 km long and 30 km wide, with dozens of 3000 and 4000m peaks. The first documented expedition to explore the area was by Pat Littlejohn and a group from the International School of Mountaineering in 2003 (American Alpine Journal, 2003). Since then several other parties have climbed in the area, including repeat trips by Pat Littlejohn and ISM. However, most the range is not well explored and many of the peaks do not have documented ascents. Our multi-month commitment will involve multiple trips. The range and the nomadic nature of the Kyrgyz living around the range allows the opportunity to use small villages and jailoos (summer grazing pastures) as rest and resupply locations. All climbing will be alpine style. Due to the little know nature of the range, it is expected that most ascents will be Class III to Class V, often involving steep snow travel and some glacial travel. More aggressive mountain objectives with harder technical requirements are expected to develop as we learn more about the range. The mountain objectives will highlight scientific research that Ann currently has underway.
  • Many other mountain trips oriented towards kids will occur through collaborations with The Alpine Fund (www.alpinefund.org) a local organization that works to connect local youth and the mountains.

TIEN SHAN

Ann Piersall, 2008

OVERVIEW
Stretching over 1800 km east to west the Tien Shan mountain range extens from the Xinjiang province of Western China across southern Kazakhstan and the entire country of Kyrgyzstan to the border of Uzbekistan. North-south the Tien Shan are as wide as 500 km in some locations. The Tien Shan separate the Junggar (Dzungarian) Basin to the north and the Taklimakan Basin in the south. Their geographic location is between 40°N and 45°N and 67°E and 95°E. The Tien Shan cover approximately 100,000 square kilometers (Rowan, 2002). , 2008

In Chinese, Tien Shan means “Celestial mountains” or “Mountains of Heaven”. This name is in reference to the appearance the mountains often take from the distance of appearing to float in the heavens above the dust of the surrounding deserts (Graetz 2008, Rowan 2002).

The Tien Shan are part of the Himalayan orogenic belt which was formed by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates in the Cenozoic era. The eastern Tien Shan is mostly crystalline and sedimentary rock dating back to 540 million years ago. The western Tien Shan is younger softer rock formed under heat and pressure about 245 million years ago (Rowan, 2002).

A majority of the Tien Shan sits within the political boundaries of the country of Kyrgyzstan. Approximately 94% of Kyrgyzstan is mountainous, with half of the country above 3000 meters. The stark and rugged landscape makes livelihood very difficult. Many different ethnic groups call the Tien Shan home. The largest ethnic group are the Kyrgyz. The Kyrgyz are a group that originated from a mix of tribes including Mongols and a tribe that migrated from the Siberian Yenisei River. Uzbeks, Uighur, Kazaks and Dungan (Muslim Chinese) are other ethnic groups that live with in the Tien Shan. Starting in the mid 1800’s a strong Russian presence developed into 150 years of Soviet rule over the area. During this time the nomadic ways of most ethnic groups were suppressed. Soviet Rule ended in the Tien Shan in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR and the Central Asian republics declaring independence. Today, a large Russian population along with some Ukrainians and Tajik refugees are found among the many ethnic groups in the Tien Shan. Many mountain people of the Tien Shan are now once again semi-nomadic pastoralists, often spending their winters in small villages (Rowan, 2002). Despite independence, the countries and peoples of the Tien Shan are struggling politically, economically and culturally.

PROMINENT FEATURES OF THE TIEN SHAN
The extensive mountains of the Tien Shan can be geographically organized in many different fashions. Generally, references are made of five main orographic areas. It is important to note that the Tien Shan hold a total of 88 constituents chains with fourteen peaks towering over 6000m. The five main areas of the Tien Shan with their most prominent ranges are: the Central Tien Shan (Kakshal-Too, Sary Djaz, Koolyu-Too), Norther Tien Shan (Kyrgyzskii, Talasskii, Kungei Ala-Too), Internal Tien Shan (Susamyr-Too, Naryn-Too, At-Bashy), Western Tien Shan (Ferganskii, Chatkalskii) and South Tien Shan (Alaiskii, Turkestanskii) (Azykova, 2002).

The ranges of the Tien Shan culminate at the Central Tien Shan, which the locals refer to as Muztag meaning “Ice Mountain”. Within the Central Tien Shan is Kokshal-Tau which contains the highest mountains of the Tien Shan and the most extensive network of glaciers.

The Inylchek Glacier is the largest glacier and centerpiece of the Central Tien Shan. Extending 62 km in length with a width of over 3 km, the Inylchek Glacier is the third longest glacier outside the polar regions. It is estimated that the glacier holds enough ice to cover the entire country of Kyrgyzstan in three meters of melt water (Stewart, 2002). The first outside to travel into the area and visit the glacier was the European Piotr Semnov in 1857. Climbing in the area began in the early 1900’s and continued through the 1930’s. Under Soviet rule, the permitting system restricted foreign access. It was not until after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that foreign climbers began to climb in the area (Stewart, 2002).

The two tallest peaks in the Tien Shan, Jengish Chokosu and Khan Tengri, are both located in the Central Tien Shan. Situated on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan Jengish Chokosu (7,439m), also called Peak Pobeda or Victory Peak, is the highest summit in the Tien Shan. A sprawling and bulky mountain; it is also the northern most true 7000m peak in the world. It was first climbed by Soviet climbers in 1938 (Stewart, 2002).

Located just north, on the border of Kazakstan, is the towering pyramid of Khan Tengri (6,995m). Khan Tengri means the “Prince of Spirits” or “Lord of the sky” in Uighur. The Kazakh name for the mountain is Kan Tan meaning “Blood Mountain” referring to the brilliant sunsets that fall upon the peak at night (Stewart, 2002). With its ice cap Khan Tengri rises above 7000m, making it the northern most 7000m peak in the world. The aesthetic beauty of the peak has been noted since it was first summited in 1931 by Mikhail Pogrebetsky. (Stewart, 2002). Currently it is featured on the Kyrgyz 100 som note. Recently in 2004, 11 mountaineers were killed from an ice avalanche on Khan Tengri (Gripped World News, 2004).

CLIMATE AND WEATHER
The Tien Shan are characterized by a dry continental climate with strong seasonal variations that marks most of Central Asia. Temperatures vary strongly according to altitude. Most areas receive strong solar insolation all year with little annual precipitation or cloud cover. However, weather in the mountains in continuously changing and violent storms often enclose the Tien Shan for weeks.

Meteorological data indicates that the western and northern peripheries of the Tien Shan have a more mild and temperate climate than the inner regions (Solomina et al., 2004). The northern Tien Shan generally receive more precipitation as they are the first mountains intercepted by winter storms crossing the plains of eastern Europe and Central Asia. The presence of the Tien Shan contributes to the arid nature of Central Asia including the Taklamakan and Tibetan Plateau (Koppes et al., 2008).

HYDROLOGICAL FEATURES
Over 30,000 rivers and streams mostly originating from glaciers and over 2,000 lakes are spread across the Tien Shan. The largest lake is Yssyk-Kul located in the eastern regions of the Tien Shan. The most prominent river is the Naryn river which flows east to west to join the Kara Darya in the Fernaga Valley of Kyrgyzstan forming the Syr Darya (Azykov, 2002). Glacial melt water make up the majority of the water in the region, which is why the mountains as aptly referred to as the water towers of Central Asia.

GLACIERS
The Tien Shan hold thousands of glacier ranging from sprawling dendritic valley glaciers such as the Inylchek Glacier to numerous small hanging glaciers. In discussing glaciation, a basic understanding of glacier dynamics is crucial. Glaciers are dynamic, moving masses of ice formed by layers of compacted snow that deform and flow in response to gravity and pressure. A common term used in describing glacier is mass balance, the difference between accumulation and ablation. Accumulation on a glacier occurs at higher elevations through snowfall, wind deposition, rain, frost, hail and avalanches. Ablation generally takes place in warmer season on the lower elevations from ice melt, wind, calving and sublimation. The line on the glacier that marks where the ablation zone turns to accumulations is called the equilibrium line altitude (ELA). The very bottom of the glacier is referred to as the terminus. (Harper, 2007)
Glaciers move through two processes; ice deformation and basal sliding. Basal sliding can be defined as the entire mass of ice sliding on the bed surface. Deformation occurs as glide on a basal plane, grain boundary slip and recrystalization. Glacial flow originates at the top of the glacier with submergent flow. Here annual layers of snow are deposited and begin an intrusive flow that continues in the middle of the glacier where the flow is typically rectilinear. Below the ELA the flow transitions to emergent flow. Variations in topography and the bed surface can cause changes in an individual glacier’s flow (Harper, 2007).

The mass balance of a glacier is continuously responding to climatic changes, however due to the mechanics a time delay exists in the response. It often take decades for a climatic event to become very apparent (lag time) and often centuries for the evidence of the event to disappear (memory time) (Harper, 2007).

It is also very important to understand the different types of measurements used to quantify glaciers and changes in glaciation. Measurements can be divided into two main categories: direct and indirect. Direct measurements offer the most accurate information; however they are spatially limiting, time consuming and expensive. Direct measurements of mass balance require measuring both the accumulation and ablation of a glacier. Accumulation or input can be measured by digging snowpits and measuring annual layers of accumulation or by probing. Ablation or output can be measured through ablation stakes that must be monitored to determine melt. Direct measurements of area require extensive time with GPS to accurate map the margins of the glacier to determine area (Harper, 2007).

Due to the limiting factors of direct measurements, indirect measurements are typically used. Many different methods exists including; remote sensing, hydrological methods, climatic methods, lichenometry and ground truth data (Harper, 2007).

Remote sensing, the use of satellite and aerial photographs can be used to determine the area of glaciers. If historic images are available, changes in glacial area and terminus elevation can be determined from comparing past to present images. Often historic images are difficult to find due to the remote locations of many glacier and the relatively recent advent of satellites.

The hydrological method estimates mass balance by equating the amount of precipitation in an area against the runoff and predicted evaporation to estimate accumulation and ablation. This requires some type of measurement of stream runoff and the presence of meteorological stations to determine input making it very difficult for remote locations. Similarly, using climate data requires meteorological stations. Two different methods in determining mass balance can be used with climate data. First the degree day method calculates melt by measuring the amount of time the temperature was high enough for melting to occur. Second, energy balances can calculated by measuring the albedo (shortwave radiation), the longwave radiation, the sensible heat the latent heat and the precipitation to estimate heat.

Lichenometry is identifying the age of lichens present on rocks below the terminus of a glacier to estimate when that location was last covered with ice. Similarly, remnant moraines can often be aged to estimate the greatest extent of the glacier and when it occurred (Harper, 2007).
GLACIATION OF THE TIEN SHAN
Currently the accepted estimate of total glaciated area of the Tien is between 6,000 and 8000 square kilometers (Aizen et. al, Bolch 2006, IRIN 2008, Solomina et al. 2004, Stewart 2002). The Inner part of the Tien Shan have over 3700 glaciers covering 3400 square km. Historically, the Tien Shan have been heavily glaciated. Remnant moraines provide evidence for extensive and repeated glaciation during the late Pleistocene (Koppes et al, 2008).

The earliest historical descriptions of glaciers in the Tien Shan date to the late 19th century from exploration by Semenov in 1858, Kassin in 1915 and Korzhenevsky in 1930 (Solomina et al., 2004). Although earlier travelers did not penetrate the Tien Shan travelers on the Silk Road often made notes of the snow and ice of the Tien Shan such as Xuan Zang, the seventh century Chinese traveler-monk, who wrote of the Tien Shan: These mountains stretch for thousands of leagues: among them are several hundred tall peaks which reach to the very sky; the valleys are dark and full of precipices. The snow that has accumulated here since the creation of the world has changed into ice rocks that do not melt either in spring or summer. There is a strong cold wind and travelers are molested by dragons.

Due to the limited access to the area during Soviet rule research and current primary literature on glaciation in the Tien Shan in limited. Little research has involved direct measurements. This coupled with the large number of glaciers and remoteness of the area has only allowed recent studies to focus on small specific regions within the Tien Shan. A majority of glaciers in the Tien Shan are unnamed and many potentially unvisited. Information of glaciers and glacier retreat for the entire Tien Shan are generalizations based off of scientific extrapolations from smaller studies and regional patterns. Specific quantitative information cannot be applied to all glaciers.
Equilibrium line altitudes of glacier is the Tien Shan varies from 3500-3600 meters on the Western Tien Shan to 4440 meters in the Central Tien Shan. (Solomina et al., 2004). The lowest ELAs are found on the northern ridges of the Tien Shan as they receive the most precipitation from winter storms. Traveling south the ELAs rise rapidly (Koppes et al., 2008).

Historically glaciers in the Tien Shan have appeared to respond primarily to changes in precipitation rather than small regional variations in temperature. However recent increases in temperature are strongly tied to glacial retreat (Bolch 2007, Koppes et al., 2008, Solomina et al. 2004).

GLACIAL RETREAT IN THE TIEN SHAN
The areas of glacial ice coverage with the Tien Shan are decreasing in similar fashion to other parts of the world (Aizen et al. 1997, Bolch 2004, Bolch 2007, Cao 1998, Khromova et al. 2003, Solomina et al. 2004). Evidence from lichenometry suggests that retreat began at the end of Little Ice Age (Solomina et al., 2004). Although glacier retreat is not homogeneous a decrease in glacier extent of over 30% is the consensus for the Tien Shan (Aizen et al. 1997, Bolch 2004, Bolch and Marchenko 2006, Bolch 2007, Cao 1998, Khromova et al. 2003, Niederer et. al. 2008, Solomina et al. 2004). The magnitude of the decrease for each individual glacier depends strongly on the size, location and weather regime at the glaciers’ location (Bolch, 2007).

Research indicates that glacial retreat started at the end of the Little Ice Age, approximately 150 years ago (Aizen, 2005). The estimated linear retreat from the end of the 19th century to the 10th century was in most cases less than 100 meters (Solomina et al., 2004). In the northern Tien Shan a more pronounced disintegration has been noted of glaciers since 1979 (Vilesov and Uvarov, 2001). This apparent acceleration in glacial retreat in the past several decades appears to be true for a majority of glacier in the Tien Shan.

One of the most extensive studies in the Tien Shan included 293 glaciers and using aerial photographs and lichenometry determined that even in the most general terms glacier retreat was occurring both in linear distance and retreat in terminus elevation. Average linear distance retreat was calculated to be a retreat of 989 ± 540 meters from the glacier terminus to Little Ice Age (LIA) moraine over the past 150 years. The average difference in elevation of the terminus and the LIA moraine was 151 ± 105 meters (Solomina et al., 2004).

Although research is limited in scope, similar patterns have been found in all studies. Given the limitations the magnitude of glacial retreat can only be estimated, but there is clear evidence that glacial recession is occurring. It appears that retreat both in linear distance and frontal elevation rise is most prominent in the Northern Tien Shan. The effects of glacial retreat also appear to greatest for large compound-valley (Solomina et al., 2004). There most significant trends associated with glacial retreat is a strong correlation with increased temperatures (Bolch 2007, Koppes et al., 2008, Solomina et al. 2004). It is important to remember that little ground truth data exists for a majority of research in the Tien Shan making additional studies warranted. Future research would quantify the amount and rate of glacial change.

OTHER CLIMATIC CHANGES
Evidence over the past 30 years permafrost has been warming in the Tien Shan. (Bolch and Marchenko, 2006). Modeling indicates a retreat of the lower altitudinal boundary of permafrost retreating upward by 150 meters since the end of the Little Ice Age. Additionally, it is estimated that the area of permafrost distribution has decreased by 16% (Marchenko et al., 2007).

IMPORTANCE
Glaciers are a key indicator of climate change as they react sensitively to climate. Research indicates that glaciers in the Tien Shan are receding in extent, volume and elevation. With current conditions it can be assumed that glaciers will continue to retreat in the Tien Shan creating and intensifying many environmental, social and political problems.

Most importantly, the high mountains of central Asia serve the crucial function as the primary water supply and water storage for over 100 million people Reductions in glacial extent and increased melt will inevitably change river runoff regimes. Although initially the volume of discharged water could increase, the overall stability of the water supply will be reduced as glacial extent is reduced. The large reduction of glacier area in the Tien Shan has many downstream implications for food production, energy development, the articulation of water policies and regional security (IRIN, 2008).

Increases in air temperatures and the melting of glaciers will also impact lowland desertification and glacier outburst floods (Aizen et. al., 2007). It is predicted that slope instability will increase, increasing the probability of landslides, thermokarst and mudflows (Bolch and Marchenko, 2006).

Local, regional and international research is warranted in light of the limited scope of data available on the Tien Shan. Future studies will provide a key incremental links to more complete future assessments of the impacts of glacial recession in the Tien Shan as glacial retreat intensifies with anthropogenic warming. Additionally, empirical assessments linking the social and physical processes of glacial recession and climate change in the Tien Shan will promote dialogs to promote additional research and development of solutions to global climate change.

WORKS CITED

Aizen, V.B., Aizen, E.M., Melack, J.M., Dozier, J., 1997. Climate and hydrologic changes in the Tien Shan, central Asia. Journal of Climate 10, 1393–1404.

Aizen V.B. et al., 2007. Glacier changes in the Tien Shan as determined from topographic and remotely sensed data. Global and Planetary Change 56: 328-340.

Azykova, E.K. et al., 2002. Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Book published in Bishkek. National Center for Development of Mountain Regions of Kyrgyzstan and National Academy of sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Bolch, T., 2004. Using ASTER and SRTM DEMs for studying glaciers and rock glaciers in northern Tien Shan. Proceedings of the Conference Teoretièeskije i Prikladnyje Problemy Geografii na Rubešje Stoletij, vol. 1. Kazakh State University, Almaty/Kasakhstan, pp. 254–258.

Bolch, T. and Marchenko, S., 2006. Significance of glaciers, rockglacier and ice-rich permafrost in the Northern Tien Shan as water towers under climate change conditions. From Assessment of Snow, Glacier and Water Resources in Asia in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 28-30 November, 2006. UNESCO-IHP.

Bolch, T. 2007. Climate change and glacier retreat in northern Tien Shan Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan) using remote sensing data. Global and Planetary Change 56: 1-12.

Cao, M.S., 1998. Detection of abrupt changes in glacier mass balance in the Tien Shan Mountains. Journal of Glaciology 44 (147), 352–358.

Dyurgerov, M.B., Mikhalenko, V.N., Kunakhovich, M.G., Chaohai, L., Zichu, U., 1994. On the cause of glacier mass balance variations in the Tien Shan Mountains. Geological Journal 33 (2/3), 311–317.

Dikich, A.N., 2004. Gletscherwasserressourcen der Issyk-Kul-Region (Kirgistan), ihr gegenwärtiger und zukünftiger Zustand. Schriftenreihe des Zentrums Internationale Entwicklungs- und Umweltforschung, vol. 19. Giessen.

Graetz, R., 2008. High Asia. Class. Geography 495. Class. Spring Semester 2008. The University of Montana.

Gripped World News, 2004. Death on Khan Tengri. World News. Gripped. Accessed on November 24th, 2008.

Harper, J., 2007. Glacial and Alpine Processes. Geology 395. Class. Spring semester 2007. The University of Montana.

IRIN, 2008. Kyrgyzstan: Melting glaciers threaten livelihoods. IRIN: humanitarian new and analysis. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 17 September 2008.

Koppes M., Gillespie A.R., Burke, R.M., Thompson, S.C. and Stone J., 2008. Late Quaternary glaciation in the Kyrgyz Tien Shan. Quaternary Science Reviews 27: 846-866.

Marchenko, S., Gorbunov A., and Romanovsky, V., 2007. Permafrost warming in the Tien Shan Mountains, Central Asia. Global and Planetary Change, 56, 311-327.

Niederer P. et. al. 2008. Tracing glacier wastage in the Northern Tien Shan over the last 40 years. Climatic Change 86:227-234.

Oerlemans, J., 1994. Quantifying global warming from the retreat of glaciers. Science 264, 243–245.

Solomina, O.N., Barry, R.G., Bodnya, M., 2004. The retreat Of Tien Shan glaciers (Kyrgyzstan) since the Little Ice Age estimated from aerial photographs, lichenometric and historical data. Geografiska Annaler. Series A 86 (2), 205–216.

Stewart, R and Weldon, S., 2002. Kyrgyzstan. Norton and Company: New York, NY.
Vilesov, E.N., Uvarov, V.N., 2001. Evoljutsija sovremennogo oledeninja Zailijskogo Alatau v XX Veke. Kazakh State University, Almaty. (in Russian).

Ann Piersall

Growing up in western Montana, I gained a strong appreciation for mountains early in life and have always been highly motivated to explore and learn about mountainous regions of the world. I have many personal goals for this project but they all centered around my interests in mountains and mountain people. I am looking forward to engaging local people in my research, partnering with skiers and climbers to explore the Tien Shan, as well as contributing to the local and international scientific community and the popular press through publication of my research, explorations and experiences.


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ANN PIERSALL
-Vitae-


EDUCATION
- University of Montana B.A. Biology:Ecology and minor in Geography
Graduated December 2008 High Honors

-Wilderness EMT certification still current

WORK EXPERIENCE
- Geographer, U.S. Fulbright Student Scholar, Kyrgyzstan
- GIS Technician/ Research Associate -Montana Audubon
- Cartographer- private contractor
- Glacier National Park Trail Crew
- Ski Guide, Boulder Hut – Ptarmigan Tours, Purcell Mtns, British Columbia
- Assistant Avalanche Course Instructor – AIRIE and USFS/FNSP
- Glacier County Avalanche Center Volunteer Snow Observer

observations may be viewed at www.glacieravlanche.org/observations.cfm
- Exhibit Intern -Montana Natural History Center, Missoula, MT
- Wildlife Technician- Lost Trail NWR
- Glacier Nordic Skate Ski Instructor, Whitefish, MT
- Glacier Wilderness Guides - West Glacier, MT
- U.S.F.S. Bob Marshall Wilderness Trail Crew


OUTDOOR TRAINING
- CAA Advanced Weather Skills 2009
- AAA AvPro (Professional Avalanche Course) 2009
- Wilderness EMT May 2005 (still current recertified 2007 and 2009)
- Attendee 2008 NACIS Cartography Conference
- Attendee/scholarship winner- 2008 MT Intermountain GIS Conference
- Swiftwater Rescue 2005
- Professional Rescuer CPR/AED recertified yearly 2003-2009
- Avalanche II Glacier Country Avalanche Center 2004
- Avalanche II National Ski Patrol 2004
- Glacier County Avalanche Center Snow Observers Course 2004
- Mountain Travel and Rescue I and II National Ski Patrol 2004
- Crevasse Rescue Course 2007
- Outdoor Emergency Care National Ski Patrol 2005-2009
- Wilderness First Responder March 2003


VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
- Flathead Nordic Ski Patrol
- Glacier County Avalanche Center Snow Observer
- USFS Volunteer Avalanche Instructor Field Courses
- Raptor View Research Institute-bird banding/migration research
- Snowbowl Ski Patrol
- Snowbowl Ski Patrol secretary and Board of Directors
- Montana State Science Fair Judge
- Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit Intern
- Glacier National Park Volunteer Loon Observer Summer
- U.S. Fish, Wildlife and Parks Game Check Station Volunteer
- Kalispell Regional Medical Center
- Dream Adaptive Ski Program


RELATED COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
- Glacier Mountaineering Society 2002-2009
- American Alpine Club Member2008-2009
- American Avalanche Association Member Affiliate 2004-2009
-The Hockaday Musuem of Art Member and Artist 2003-2008

-Glacier National Park Member Affiliates Life Member

AWARDS
- Fulbright Grant 2009-2010
- American Alpine Club Research Grant 2009
- Nikwax Bellwether Grant 2009
- Scholarship recipient MT Intermountain GIS
- Recipient of Haynes, Morrelles, Osborn, CB Nelson
Scholarships, Univ of Montana 2008
- Dean's List University of Montana 2005-2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Project

Funding for these projects is through a U.S. Fulbright Grant, an American Alpine Club Research Grant, a Nikwax Alpine Bellwether Grant and the support of several companies and organizations.

GOALS

1. Inventory Work

I am organizing an inventory of information including maps, historic records, climate information and photographs of the
At-Bashy Range. The entire At-Bashy inventory will be also be cataloged with The University of Central Asia to encourage future research. I currently in the process of searching across Kyrgyzstan for historic photographs suitable for use in a repeat photography project to complement ongoing investigations based on remote sensing. This work will be across the Tien Shan and will not be limited to the At-Bashy Range. Photographs will be added to the Global Photograph Collection at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.


2. Qualitative Research
I am currently finalizing my research methodology for my project "Field Based Assessment of Traditional Knowledge and Contemporary Perspectives of Glaciation ". This research will be conducted in jailoos (summer grazing pastures) and small mountain communities around the
At-Bashy Range. These communities rely on snow melt and glacial melt to sustain their semi-nomadic, livestock-based livelihoods. Despite numerous studies dramatic decreases in the Tien Shan systematic studies of what local people know and think are lacking from scientific literature.

3. Community Involvement
From a personal and professional level I am interested in becoming involved in local organizations and community projects. My current involvement is:

  • Volunteering with The Alpine Fund in Bishkek - a local organization that works to connect local youth and the mountains
  • Teaching avalanche safety classes: Winter recreation is in its infancy here, but developing quite rapidly. I am not interested in the tourism development aspects of this progression, but I am interested in increasing awareness of locals who work as guides. At this time I am planning to spend a couple weeks in Arsalanbob, Kyrgyzstan teaching basic avalanche awareness classes to local CBT (community-based tourism guides) that will include terrain management, assessing instability and rescue skills.
  • Collaboration with local research institutions and individuals: There are many projects currently ongoing in Kyrgyzstan regarding glaciers and mountain geography. I am interested in volunteering with some of these projects and learning from local researchers. Potential work exists with researchers at The University of Central Asia, The Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences and The Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University.
  • Development of a "Mountains and Glacier program" encouraging interest in geography and the local mountains. I will present the program at elementary schools around Kyrgyzstan including The International School in Bishkek and public schools in At-Bashy and surrounding communities.


4. Contributions
I will be documenting my inventory work and research with The University of Central Asia and other organizations such as the National Snow and Ice Data Center. I am also interested in sharing information and increasing general awareness about
Kyrgyzstan with the public through the publication of articles in magazines, newspapers and other sources, such as this blog. Although I am most interested in promoting knowledge about the mountain places and people of Kyrgyzstan, I also look forward to sharing information about daily life in Central Asia. On my blog, I will be posting information ranging snow observations to the local gastronomical delights. Following the completion of my research I also expected to submitted articles for publication in scientific journals.


5. Mountain Goals
From a personal level I am very very excited by all the mountaineering and skiing possibilities that exist in
Kyrgyzstan. Some of these excursions may benefit my research specifically and some may be purely recreational. I plan on sharing these adventures through my blog and other alpine related publications.


6. Language Skills
A personal goal of mine is to develop a working proficiency of the Kyrgyz language and develop a basic knowledge of Russian. I am currently studying Kyrgyz 2-3 hours a day in hopes that by spring I will be able to engage in conversations and communicate my needs.

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Detailed description of my research interests and goals

The Research Problem
The high mountain glaciers of the
Tien Shan act as the main water reservoir to millions of people in Central Asia. The World Glacier Monitoring Service and the United Nations Environment Program estimate that the total glaciated area within the Tien Shan has decreased approximately 25-35 percent in the 20th century, in a similar manner to patterns observed worldwide. The downstream effects of seasonal water scarcity due to glacial recession have local and international implications for food production, energy development, the articulation of water policies, and regional security.

Objectives
The main goal of this proposal is to analyze the socio-ecological dimensions of glacial retreat at the local scale in remote mountain-based communities of the At-Bashy, a constituent of the central
Tien Shan, located in the southern portion of Kyrgyzstan. Quantitative data compilation will organize hydro-meteorological data, remote sensing data and historic records to create a local inventory and database of climate and glaciers in the At-Bashy. Qualitative social data analysis will address the perceptions and knowledge of glacier retreat and climate change held by local people.
My project will provide one the first empirical assessments linking the social and physical processes of glacial recession and climate change in the
Tien Shan. The development and organization of a local glacial and climate database is warranted in light of the limited ground-validated data available. It will provide a key incremental link to more complete future assessments of the impacts of glacial recession in the Tien Shan. The database will be archived and made easily accessible locally and internationally to be employed by researchers and communities. Additionally, no studies have incorporated or addressed local perceptions of climate change. Incorporating analysis of local traditions, knowledge and views of glacial recession with the development of a simple mountain geography education curriculum will engage local people into my project.

My personal goals include linking my interest in mountain geography with mountain people in the Tien Shan, engaging local people in my research, intensively studying Kyrgyz and gaining a working knowledge of Russian as well as contributing to the international scientific community through publication of my research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and compiling data to be archived in online-accessible databases.

Study Site

The study area is located within the
At-Bashy Range, a constituent of the central Tien Shan, located in the southern portion of Kyrgyzstan. Numerous small communities within the At-Bashy Range utilize the mountain environment and glacial melt to sustain their semi-nomadic, livestock-based livelihoods. The town of Naryn will serve as the central base for this study. The University of Central Asia and Naryn State University has expressed support for my proposal and will provide institutional support and language support while I am carrying out my research. This affiliation will build upon an existing partnership between The University of Montana and Naryn State University as well as the existing Montana-Kyrgyzstan State Partnership Program. I will facilitate these partnerships with my plans to promote civilian-to-civilian and institutional scientific exchange. Furthermore, Dr. Sarah Halvorson, one of my faculty collaborators has working knowledge of the area as the result of her involvement in research on water issues in the Naryn Basin. The Alpine Fund, a local nonprofit in Kyrgyzstan that promotes youth education and involvement, has also committed to supporting my project. These pre-existing affiliations will provide me links to numerous contacts and allow access to resources and information on the area.

Methodology and Timeline

In the fall of 2009, when I arrive in
Kyrgyzstan, I will begin intensive tutoring in Kyrgyz and Russian in Bishkek. I will continue my language study with tutors or local classes through the entire duration of my stay, focusing on gaining strong conversational skills.

My research methodology will include two main components: quantitative data compilation and qualitative social data analysis and. To investigate the physical dimensions a compilation of existing quantitative data will be conducted. This inventory is warranted given that no accessible local databases of climate and ground-validated glacier inventories exist. The database will be a compilation of local weather records, climate history, hydrologic data, remote sensing analysis from international researchers, data from the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space project, maps, historic glacial photographs and local information regarding glaciers of the
At-Bashy Range. This inventory will be aided by my affiliations with Naryn State University, faculty collaborators at The University of Montana, international researchers who have worked in the Tien Shan and contacts within Kyrgyzstan. Additional analysis, including repeat photography and ground-validation of glacier recession could be incorporated if adequate historic data is recovered. Field work will be conducted during the summer of 2010. The primary goal is to assess current levels of data availability and organize a final database that will be archived and made accessible locally and internationally through a website, webserver or larger database. This compilation will provide a fundamental step to the monitoring and assessment of the impacts and mitigative strategies of glacial retreat in the Tien Shan.

I will begin my qualitative social analysis in the spring of 2009-2010. This will be facilitated by my relationship with The University of Central Asia,
Naryn State University and contacts I have through the Montana-Kyrgyzstan State Partnership and the grassroot organization, Community-Based Tourism (CBT), that links foreigners with a wider network of local homestays. Once I have spent several weeks in a village, I can begin to conduct interviews, compile historical information, and make observations about the impacts of glacial retreat on communities. Systematic interviews will be conducted and recorded with community leaders, household water managers, agriculturalists, religious leaders, teachers, and school children. The interviews will address multiple aspects including: oral traditions and religious values regarding glaciers and water; historical uses of water; and local knowledge of glaciers, glacial recession and climate change. Emphasis will be placed on compiling children’s understanding of glacial processes and climate change through interviews in schools and within homes. Working with teachers, community leaders and The Alpine Fund I plan to help develop school lesson plans on mountain geography, emphasizing glaciers and climate change. During the spring of 2010 significant amounts of time will be necessary to translate, transcribe, and organize information gathered from interviews and community observations to be prepared for a research paper for publication.

The interdisciplinary field based approach of this project will encourage international collaboration and engage local communities of the At-Bashy in unique assessment of the socio-ecological dimensions of glacial retreat. The products of the quantitative and qualitative research will further identification of local, regional and international vulnerabilities to and mitigative strategies to glacial retreat and climate change.