Video of the Week: Investigating a Previously Unstudied Glacier in Kyrgyzstan

Five students from Sheffield University traveled to Tien Shan Mountain Range in Kyrgyzstan to investigate the impact of climate change on a glacier that had never been studied before.

“Central Asia is one of the most threatened regions in the world to climate change, seeing some of the fastest rates of global glacial retreat,” said Sam Gillan, one of the leaders of the expedition. “There is currently a real focus on developing understandings of how climate change is affecting glaciers there, and we wanted to contribute to this developing field of research.”

Gillan and his colleague Alex Hyde were working on their undergraduate dissertation projects in the geography department at Sheffield University. Hyde says in the video that the idea for the trip came after a visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2017. He and Gillian wanted to study an actual glacier rather than working on a project in a lab. They soon narrowed down their topic to the Fedorovitch Glacier due to its relatively flat surface and accessibility.

Calum Sowden joined the expedition as a medic, Tom Drysdale as the group’s mountaineering advisor, and Louise Reddy as a research assistant.

The video documents the challenges of conducting research in such a remote location and highlights the rewards of field work. The team’s month-long data collection included measuring snow melt and temperature change.

Working at an elevation of 3,000 meters in such a remote location was challenging, mentally and physically, Reddy says in the video. “The hardest thing for all of us was the fact that the research requires you to do as much as possible,” he said. “The more often you take samples, the better the research will be.”

Check out the full video to see these young scientists at work—and find out what their favorite food was while  isolated for a month in the mountains of Central Asia.

Check Out More GlacierHub Stories About Kyrgyzstan:

Uranium Tailings Pose Environmental Risk In Kyrgyzstan

Mining Company Shirks Blame for Glacier Damage in Kyrgyzstan

Mines in Kyrgyzstan Exacerbate Glacier Advance

In Kyrgyzstan, Not All Glacier Lakes Are Monitored Equally