In Nepal, the detailed scientific study of high altitude geomorphology started in the early 1970s under the project called Glaciological Expedition to Nepal (GEN) leaded by K. Higuchi of Nagoya University, Japan.
Although the major objective of GEN was to obtain data on the state of glacier in the Himalayas, and to understand the relation between glaciers and climate, the periglacial morphology was also considered as the first step in the field of periglacial studies in the Nepal Himalaya. The results of these initial works were published in special issues of the Journal of the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice (SEPPYO) in 1976 and 1978. Since then significant work have been carried out in the field of glacier studies including glacier inventory, mapping, and Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding (GLOFs); however permafrost and periglacial studies received less attention. After a lapse of nearly 15 years, M. Jakob, in 1992, presented his discourse on the lower limit of permafrost in the Khumbu Himalaya. Following this Hokkaido University and Tribhuvan University undertook collaborative research on the geoecology of the Kanchenjunga area. Significant investigations were performed in periglacial and permafrost studies under the leadership of T. Watanabe. Miniature data loggers were extensively used to measure the BTS, rock surface temperature, and ground temperature profiles in eastern Himalaya. Rock glacier inventories were also made using detail aerial photographs interpretation. Electrical resistivity and seismic surveys were carried out to understand the present state of permafrost. Rockfall activity and the slow mass movement processes were also monitored by direct observation and by using strain probes, respectively.
Gradually similar measurements were started in the central and western Nepal Himalaya. This project was interrupted in 2004 because of the political instability. At present the improved political situation allows for the restarting the periglacial and permafrost studies in the Nepal Himalaya. A Japanese group from Nagoya University has been active in the Khumbu Himal region under the project Cryosphere Research in the Himalayas (CREH). Some results of recent research are summarized in a paper and references submitted by the undersigned to NICOP entitled ‘Rock Glacier Distribution and the Lower Limit of Discontinuous Mountain Permafrost in the Nepal Himalaya’ and in a paper by the Japanese group by K. Fukui et al., ‘Changes in the lower limit of mountain permafrost between 1973 and 2004 in the Khumbu Himal, the Nepal Himalayas’ in Global and Planetary Change, 2007.
Dhananjay Regmi (firstname.lastname@example.org)