Trip to Adygene glacier mountain lake

On July 21, the ISOC research team embarked on an expedition to Adygene Glacier Mountain Lake, strategically situated 60 km south-southwest of Bishkek. Nestled at an altitude of 3600m in the upper reaches of the Adygene river valley, a left-side tributary of the Ala-Archa river, this high glacier lake serves as a focal point for the deployment of IoT sensors aimed at monitoring glacial lake outburst floods.

The Adygene lake complex, positioned on the sea of the glacier, encompasses three additional lakes to the south and southeast. The southeasternmost lake, situated at an elevation of 3640 meters, was formed along the northern edge of the glacier, with its southern coast adjoined to the glacier itself. Measuring 188 meters in length and 70 meters at its widest point, the lake has a perimeter of 550 meters, covering an area of 17142 square meters. A stream flows from the northeastern side, eventually merging with a small moraine lake after a 330-meter journey. Additionally, the southern part of the lake houses ten more small moraine lakes.

Under the guidance of our partner, the Institute of Water Problems under the Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, Adygene glacier lake has been subject to monitoring using various technological means. The Adygene station, established in 2008, plays a pivotal role in studying high mountain lakes and glaciers while safeguarding the local population from potential outbursts. Adjacent to the station, a traditional meteorological station has been set up, where researchers manually collect daily data using sensors and retrieve information from an automatic station.

Initially, geostationary connectivity was employed due to the absence of mobile coverage. However, owing to budgetary constraints, this option was abandoned, given the exorbitant monthly costs ranging from 200 to 500 USD.

Recognizing the line of sight with Chuy valley base stations, the Research team of ISOC Kyrgyz Chapter and ICTP proposed the implementation of LoRaWAN connectivity, offering real-time 24/7 monitoring at a more affordable 3-dollar GSM connectivity monthly plan.

With this strategic rationale, the ISOC Kyrgyz Chapter members and interns from the Institute of Water Problems embarked on a strenuous six-hour hike to the location. The journey was characterized by challenging terrain, transitioning from hot summer conditions to rainy and windy weather, accompanied by temperature fluctuations of up to 20 degrees.

Upon reaching the destination, the team meticulously assessed connectivity, identified potential spots for setting up communication gateways, determined the types of measurements and sensors required, and outlined the necessary mast installations. Following an intense day, the team returned to the main road of Ala-Archa national park late at night. Armed with the collected data, a comprehensive working and logistics plan was formulated for the installation of the Internet of Things infrastructure at Adygene Glacier Lake.