Climate Research

 Carina Ahlqvist   

                     Climate Research Explorer                           

Collecting snow and ice samples in the Annapurna region in Nepal

Research in climate change

The Himalayas and other mountain regions around the world are under threat. Changes in the climate in the mountains are often greater than those observed in the adjacent lowlands. Recent exploration has seen actual and potential changes in climatic parameters that can have disastrous impacts: change in duration of snow cover, an increase of ice and snow avalanches, glacier recession, slope stability, formation and break-out of moraine-dammed lakes and warming of perennially frozen ground. Glaciers are valuable reservoirs of freshwater. The glacier Naimona'nyi in Tibet is the headwaters of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers that supply freshwater to half a billion people. As the volume of water changes people cannot plan ahead for needs of freshwater which has impact for their livelihood. 

As it is difficult to determine the volume of stored freshwater in glaciers using only satellite techniques, Carina took the opportunity and formed project teams with researchers at NASA and Universities in US and Europe to contribute with essential “boots on the ground” snow, rocks- and ice samples.

2018 Rock samples to NASA and to The European Space Agency (ESA)

Mount Makalu 8 481 m, Carina designed The Makalu Climate Climb with a team of 11 trekkers, all together 50 individuals with supporting crew, followed her to Makalu Base Camp. Rock samples were collected  at historic moraines of Barun Glacier to date them, assuming that some of the moraines deposited by the glacier are older than 20 000 years. The better we understand how glaciers are responding to climate change, the better we can model their future evolution and mitigate potential impacts of a diminishing water resource. Studies were made of the debris that protects the ice underneath from melt. The key factor for the surface energy balance of the glacier is the debris thickness, the thicker the better the protection is.

Carina also collaborated with the NGO The Himalayan Stove Project (HSP). HSP has delivered 4100 stoves to Nepal, enough to impact 40 000 peolple. According to the founder George Basch, this model of stove use up to 80 percent less fuel and create 90 percent less indoor pollution. The team visited mountain villages to investigate how the stoves function in practice at high altitude.

2016 Snow- and ice samples to NASA and glacier water samples for studies in microplastics to Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC)

Mount Shishapangma 8 027 m, Carina formed a team comprised of researchers from NASA JPL in California, the leading US center for robotic exploration of the solar system, Earth science and space-based astronomy missions. Carina collected snow samples at 6000 meters to contribute to research of impurities, specifically black carbon and dust, and element/isotope analysis. She collected water samples to the ASC Global Microplastics Initiative, studying the sources, composition and distribution of microplastics pollution.

2015 Snow- and ice samples to NASA and the Universities of Mexico, Arizona and Central Washington

Carina collected samples every 400 m up to 6 800 m on Mount Manaslu 8 163 m. The samples were later analyzed for their chemical properties, isotope composition as well as how snow and glacial ice is affected by different sources of pollution, and for data comparisons to satellite data and computer model predictions.

2014 Snow- and ice samples to the University of Venice in Italy   

Carina summited Mount Cho Oyu 8 201 m. She contacted National Geographic which directed her to join the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC). Her application was accepted for their project Snow and ice collections. She collected samples at 6 400 m to the University of Venice, Italy.

The Earth Caretakers initiative

Combining climbing and purpose, Carina initiated a clean up initiative after her expedition to Mount Manaslu 8 163 m 2016. She met two Nepalese women porters, Sarita Gurung and Maya Gurung, and paid them shoes, salary, lodge, food and insurance. Together they collected trash up to 5 000 m.

Carina met school teachers and Lamas in the mountain villages, to discuss cleaning up mountains.

The Eath Caretakers Initiative was approved member in Clean Up the World - a global environmental campaign to empower communitie in conjunction with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Collecting trash at high altitude.

Thank you Sarita Gurung and Maya Gurung!

Meeting with school teachers on the trek back from Manaslu base camp.

Carina measuring the debris at Mount Makalu to contribute to research in climate change to ESA

"Our planet is small in the universe, but it is important for us who belong to it."

 Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

Contact Carina

+4670 318 95 56

Skype carina.ahlqvist67