Snow Leopards, Howling Wind and Climate Change Fears:Our Role in a Research Project in the Himalayas

snow-leapords-himalayas.jpg“Last April me and my colleagues from Wageningen University went to Nepal for fieldwork. We successfully installed 8 WINDCRANE weather stations in the Annapurna Conservation Area. The lowest pair of stations is situated at 3500 MASL and the highest at 5200 MASL. We aim to monitor the local weather patterns with high temporal resolution (measurements every 10m) in order to better understand how wildlife such as Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep and Yak can cope with extreme environments such as the high Himalayas. This will provide scientific insights in the thermal ecology of these species, which in turn will help local authorities to better manage their parks, and anticipate future shifts in climatic conditions. Your WINDCRANE loggers allow us to work in these extreme conditions, with temperatures dropping to -30 for prolonged periods in winter, high winds and no connectivity to the outside world.” – Yorick Liefting, Wageningen University

The project:

When researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands travelled to Nepal they knew that they needed to obtain accurate, reliable readings in extreme weather conditions. The Dutch team were aiming to discover how the local wildlife- such as yaks and snow leopards – are able to cope with the brutal weather conditions in this part of the Himalayas.

Could climate change rob these animals of a habitat that they have become accustomed to and adapted to perfectly? To see if this is the case, they had to first of all understand the local weather patterns with a focus on wind and solar.

Eventually, the end results will allow the local authorities to manage their parks more effectively, as well as to anticipate how the climate and living conditions there may change in the future. This is a part of the world that could be particularly susceptible to climate change as global temperatures rise.

windcrane in himalayas at 5200N).JPG.jpg

Who Carried Out This Project?

Wageningen University currently has 120,000 students from over a hundred different countries. Their mission statement of “to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life” neatly sums up their approach to finding solutions to some of the biggest issues facing the planet and humans right now.
Researchers from this university have carried out a range of invaluable projects around the planet. Their website lists wide-ranging and important climate change projects carried out in varied places such as the Horn of Africa and Northern India. However, it was clear that their trip to Nepal was going to throw up some unique challenges.

How Did WINDCRANE Help?

Sometimes, our wind speed monitoring equipment is challenged to perform to the highest possible standards even when the setting is among the toughest on the planet. In this case, WINDCRANE was asked to provide the wind monitoring equipment that they needed for setting up their weather stations in the remote Annapurna Conservation Area.

Among the challenges here is the high altitude, with the lowest station located at 3,500 metres above sea level and the highest at a dizzying 5,200 metres. Add in incredibly low temperatures (-30) and howling wind, and you begin to understand that this was no normal wind and solar monitoring assignment.
Our devices helped the researchers to carry out their weather monitoring project with an absolute minimum of fuss. With powerful gusts of winds and temperatures that can drop as dramatically low as -30oC, this was the sort of mission in which they needed to have total faith in their equipment to not let them down at a crucial moment.

You have a project which entails monitoring wind and weather conditions?
Contact us and speak to our friendly team.

WINDCRANE can also offer custom built systems for specific applications. If you have any questions or would like to discuss a current project or assignment, please contact us at info@windcrane.com or via our website: www.windcrane.com.

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