Himalayan Goyko Lake Field Campaign

Since May 2018, we have performed 3 detailed field campaigns to monitor and assess the impacts of climate change on the Gokyo Lake system in Gokyo valley just west of Mt. Everest. This lake system involves 6 lakes, 2 of which (Lake 4 and 5) do not possess surface outflow. These glaciers are fed by melting glaciers and summer monsoons. The glaciers in the Himalayas are melting rapidly and the monsoons have shown great variability. Understanding how these pristine high altitude lakes (~16,000 above sea level) respond to changes in climate forcing is important both locally for the residents of the Khumbu, but also globally as they provide an indicator of how other systems may respond to eventual and similar climate change. The project involves Roberto Camassa and Rich McLaughlin from Mathematics, Harvey Seim and Emily Eidam from Earth Marine and Environmental Science (EMES), and Lauren Leve from Religious Studies. These lakes are holy to the local residents, and this project originated through a College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary FIRE grant launched by then Dean Kevin Guskiewicz, and has been further supported by gifts from Cosby George. We also collaborate with Subodh Sharma, the Registrar of Kathmandu University.