Paribesh PRADHAN (Nepal)

Paribesh is interested in the impact of climate change in runoff and river flows, its associated risks and vulnerabilities, and how they subsequently affect water security. He further focuses on high mountain hydrology and climate along with their impact on communities and environmental ecosystems.

MSc in Physical Geography and Master of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Water Resources

University of Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland

Research focus: applied glacial hydrology and water resource management in alpine regions

Paribesh has more than seven years of professional experience in international cooperation and development which spans working at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Mountain Forum Secretariat in Nepal, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in Thailand, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Switzerland.

In previous research, Paribesh has been working on glaciers, gaining field based experience and knowledge in collecting in-situ data in remote areas of Swedish Lapland and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia.

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2014):

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Research focus: response of snow and glacier melt to climate change, its effect on runoff and water availability scenarios in the Himalayas as well as natural hazard and risk assessment

Paribesh Pradhan is using his professional background in mountain development practice to enhance his scientific research into the hydrology of the Himalayas.

After completing his first degree in Engineering in his home country of Nepal, Paribesh spent almost ten years working for regional and international organisations. Working for organisations such as the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Nepal and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific, have left him with in-depth practical knowledge of environment and development practices of the region.

Last year, Paribesh decided to return to academia and pursue his special interest in hydrology with a postgraduate degree in Physical Geography at the University of Zurich. The supply of freshwater to vast numbers of people is dependent on the steady flow of melted glacier water throughout the year and thus directly linked to the “melt rate” largely determined by Earth’s temperature. “The Himalayas regulate the flow of 10 major river systems in the region and provide freshwater and irrigation for as many as 1.3 billion people in Asia”, explains Paribesh. “The question of how climate change will impact changes in runoff and river flows, subsequently affecting water security - including irrigated agriculture, human water consumption and hydroelectricity generation - is thus inherently related to sustainable development in the region.” Until now, research on how climate change affects runoff water flows has been primarily concerned with clean-ice glaciers. Using runoff modelling, Paribesh is undertaking research into the debris-covered glaciers, since “better estimates of snow and glacier melt from these glaciers can help predict future water availability and sustainable use of water resources”.

The jury was impressed by the complementary way Paribesh is applying his specialist practical knowledge of the region to his scientific research. They believe the Green Talents Forum will give him the opportunity for an exchange of ideas and access to new perspectives before he launches the next phase of his academic career.