Memories from Himalaya – MSc field research

‘They say, when you die, you go to the Hell or the Himalayas!’ – Bout India

JBA Himalayan frozen lake
Himalayan frozen lake

Himalaya is one of the main tourist attractions in the world and is also the centre of focus for conducting various research. Its mighty landscape and natural beauty attracted Nazimul Islam, known as Nazem, like all others to study it. Below, he gives his account of the fantastic trip and the benefits to his study and research.

I joined JBA in November 2017 as a Project Assistant under the work placement scheme for my Master’s Professional Development module for ten weeks and went on to be appointed as a part-time Technical Assistant. Besides my current professional role, I am pursuing an MSc in River Basin Dynamics and Management with GIS at the School of Geography, University of Leeds, of which JBA are linked with for our Leeds University Environmental Water Consultancy postgraduate training modules. My course enables me to cover a wide range of theoretical and practical modules in flood management and related disciplines including my interest
in hydrology, or more specifically in Flood Management and Modelling.

Getting permission

Sikkim state map

I have developed a specific interest looking at the response of both snow covered and snow free glacial lakes to climate change in the Himalayan area for outburst flooding glacial lakes in my current Master’s dissertation. This study deals with flood modelling using various software and by analysing of satellite data. So, following this interest I applied for the dissertation grant to the Priestley International Centre for Climate (PICC), University of Leeds and was awarded the funding to purchase satellite data, climate data and to conduct fieldwork in the Sikkim state of India which is located in the eastern Himalayan region.

Conducting the research

JBA Himilayan River
Himilayan River

My journey began on 25 May from London Heathrow Airport. When I reached the site and saw the picturesque views, I couldn’t stop myself to express enormous excitement and to capture all the possible beauties of this place I could – even after covering over 8,000km in 15 hours or so. Having completed my survey at an elevation of 17,000 feet (>5,000 metres) I had access to as many places as I could visit during this one-week fieldwork. Locations included Gurudongmar Lake which is one of the main tourist attractions in the Eastern Himalaya located at 5,163m, Cho Lhamu Lake, Chopta Valley, Kala Patthar Hill, and two other unknown lakes in this region.

It was a unique experience for me to conduct this field survey in one of the world’s most challenging environments where natural disaster is a regular phenomenon. I had a team of three members including a local guide and have made memories which will be lifelong. I am thankful to the PICC for choosing me for this grant without which this fieldwork wouldn’t be possible, and I am also grateful to my dissertation supervisor and the School of Geography for their support, encouragement and for allowing me to take the instruments to the field.

I am equally thankful to my team leader and other staff at JBA Consulting for approving my request for annual leave and the support given to complete this survey. Based on my experience of this trip, I can say that the Himalaya is truly the Heaven of the Earth and everyone should visit the place at least once in their life.

Want to know more?

Email Nazimul Islam for more information on his trip. Visit our postgraduate training web page to find out more about our continued professional development opportunities with the University of Leeds and Lancaster University.

JBA Trust studentship award scheme scholarship

JBA Trust works with the British Hydrological Society and the Environment Agency to support talented MSc students wishing to pursue development of their academic experience and qualifications in hydrology and catchment management with the Studentship Award Scheme.

The studentships will be awarded to a small number of students to help towards Master’s degree tuition costs at UK Higher Education Institutions. Awards are anticipated to be between £1,500 and £2,500 depending on the number and quality of applicants.

Find out more on the JBA Trust website – the closing date is 16 July 2018.

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