DROP project granted

The mountain ranges of Asia are the world’s most important water towers, often referred to as the planet’s Third Pole. Precipitation in these mountains feeds glaciers, snow fields and rivers. Extreme precipitation also triggers floods, landslides and avalanches, which cause enormous human and economic losses. However, we do not know what controls the distribution of precipitation and how it changes over time.

In the new ERC Advanced project DRivers and Origins of high-altitude Precipitation on the Third Pole (DROP) that was granted to Walter, he and his team will investigate how extreme topography, land use changes and moisture recycling together determine mountain precipitation patterns. This will be done by combining field observations at extreme altitude, state-of-the-art atmospheric modelling and remote sensing. This is a long-awaited scientific step forward in a region where this is of vital importance for water security and disaster risk reduction for millions of people.

Walter maintaining a small weather radar at 5000 m elevation near Yala Glacier in the Langtang Valley, Nepal.