Field trial in the Chhota Shigri glacier

A Potential Solution to Limit Melting Glaciers

The glaciers in the Himalayas are melting rapidly with catastrophic consequences.  The mainstream initiative of decarbonizing the economy is inadequate to slow the melting.  We have a potential solution to slow the melting process that is over a decade in the works.  The solution has been shown to be effective in slowing the melt of lake ice.  We plan to conduct a research-scale field trial to evaluate the effectiveness of adapting this solution to slow the melting of glacial ice.  The field trial will run for three years with an expected start in August 2023 in Chhota Shigri Glacier in India with a goal to deliver an effective and ecologically safe solution for preserving the Himalayan glaciers by 2026.  The cost of this field trial is approximately $250,000.  We need your support to fund this field trial.

Our Solution

We plan to slow the melting by increasing the surface reflectivity of the glacial ice of the Himalayas.  Using lab testing, and research-scale field testing on small ponds in the US, Bright Ice Initiative, led by Dr. Leslie Field, and her collaborating colleagues, have demonstrated over a decade that adding a thin layer of safe reflective material such as Hollow Glass Microspheres (HGMs), which are commercially available bright tiny sand bubbles, on top of ice and snow can significantly slow the melt.  Through the climate modeling simulation, expert climate modelers at Climformatics have shown that adding HGMs to the surface of a small percentage of the Arctic could potentially preserve Arctic sea ice.  The work has been presented in international venues, the American Geophysical Union’s annual Fall meetings, and published in the AGU’s prestigious journal, Earth’s Future. Thus, we can slow the melting of the Himalayan glaciers and ultimately preserve them by increasing the surface reflectivity with HGMs and other materials that are undergoing testing in our labs.  However, glacial conditions may pose new challenges for our approach, and we need to do a field trial in a Himalayan glacier to ensure the effectiveness of our solution, as well as  climate modeling to determine the strategic areas which need to be re-brightened to preserve the Himalayan glaciers.

Minnesota Pond Experiment

Field Trial

We plan to conduct a field trial in Chhota Shigri Glacier starting in June 2023, for the duration of 3 years.  Chhota Shigri Glacier is located in the  western Himalayas in India.  We selected Chhota Shigri as the site for the trial, because of its accessibility, the availability of extensive previous data on the region to serve as a baseline, and the extensive experience of Dr. Farooq Azam, who will lead the expeditions, on this glacier.  Further, Chhota Shigri is a suitable representation of the Himalayan glaciers allowing us to extrapolate this research. 

The cost of the field trial will be approximately $250 K, which includes equipment, materials, expeditions, travel, honorariums, salary for a field assistant, and stipend for a Ph.D student from the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore.

Chhota Shigri Glacier

Expected Outcome and Benefits

We will deliver the following at the end of the field trial and climate modeling, that is, by 2026.

  1. An ecologically safe and effective solution to slow the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.
  2. Determination of the strategic areas that need to be re-brightened for the preservation of the Himalayan glaciers.
  3. The total cost and time estimated to preserve the Himalayan glaciers.

We will publish our results and datasets in peer-reviewed journals, present them in various conferences, and work to influence the United Nations and the Himalayan countries to adopt the solution to preserve the Himalayas and other glaciers.  This work is conducted only for public benefit.

A Plea for Help

We have a potential solution and a great team with eminent scientists and leaders with a determination to slow the melting and preserve the glaciers.  Based on our previous field testing and simulation results, we have high confidence to be successful.  The research-scale field trial is the next critical step and the team is ready to undertake this challenge, but we need your support to fund this field trial.  Please help - billions of lives are at stake! The link for donations is: