The Glacier Inventory of Central Karakoram National Park

The Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) is an awe inspiring region in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan; a mountainous area endowed with rich biodiversity, natural beauty and important resources. The Park compasses the world’s largest glaciers, outside the Polar Regions. It was declared as National Park in 1993: today it is the largest protected area of Pakistan, covering over 10,557.73 km2 in the Central Karakorum mountain range and the highest park all over the world, it is characterized by extremes of altitudes that range from 2,000 m a.s.l. to over 8,000 m a.s.l., including K2, the second highest peak in the world. Roughly 40% of CKNP is covered by ice (30% of the glacier surface of the entire Karakoram range in Pakistan).

Recently launched CKNP glacier inventory book by Ev-K2-CNR Association is an important publication which consolidates the long term scientific cooperation between Italy and Pakistan, started in early ‘1900 with the explorations of Duca degli Abruzzi then persuaded by Claudio Smiraglia (professor of physical geography at the Università degli Studi di Milano) and Agostino Da Polenza (President of the Ev-K2-CNR) who have led and managed several scientific expeditions in Karakoram over the last two decades.

Approximately 70% of Pakistan fresh-water resources come from glacier melting and majority of this precious resource nested in CKNP, one of the most glaciated region on earth hosting 608 ice bodies (glaciers) of various types, sizes, surface conditions (debris occurrence), geometry and ice volume in five basins. The Shigar is the largest basin considering number of ice bodies, glacier extent and ice volume where the largest glaciers of world are present and the smallest basin is Gilgit.

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