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Climate change research, Ladakh, Himalayas – 2009Climate Change

A scientific expedition intends to visit the Indian Himalayan region of Ladakh from July-August 2009 to conduct multiple field research projects. The expedition is run by the British Schools Exploring Society, a youth development charity that organises challenging scientific expeditions to remote, wild environments to develop the confidence, teamwork, leadership and spirit of adventure and exploration.

The JWCT contributed over 400 towards vital scientific equipment for the research work - five temperature/relative humidity data loggers and a Buchner funnel filtering kit (used to remove moisture from riverbed sediment samples) - this equipment will remain with the BSES for future expeditions. The funds were provided to Tim Ward-Wilson, who has an unpaid internship with the BSES.

Tim commented “Ladakh is widely recognised as one of the most important areas in the world to observe the effects of climate change and as such, we will be investigating glacial run-off and surveying the glaciers for a comparative study to be possible in the future. There will also be an ecology survey which will compare the results from last year’s expedition, a study of the geology of the moraines in the area, and a survey on physiology. The physiology will be only the second study on the effects of altitude on juvenile adults . . . The area has only recently been opened up to visitors and because of this there are unlimited numbers of new mountaineering objectives.

The expedition is taking place with BSES as a medium for personal development for the young people taking part. For many, it will be the first time mountaineering, and even their first time away on their own. It is hoped that they will come away with a greater sense of self, and having further developed their leadership and teamwork skills, as well as a love for wilderness exploration.

Tim added “the science is going to be done in conjunction with major scientific institutions such as WWF-India and the MET Office. All of the results will be made public and the physiology [research] will hopefully lead to a published scientific paper.


October 2009

Tim Ward-Wilson, an expedition participant, sent a brief update:

The expedition was a great success. We came away with lots of good scientific data and summited four unclimbed peaks. We will send you a full expedition report when they have been published.”

The Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust
a charity registered in England and Wales. No. 1114871