The Cryosphere Discuss., 7, 1119-1139, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
Recent mass balance of Purogangri ice cap, central Tibetan Plateau, by means of differential X-band SAR interferometry
N. Neckel, A. Braun, J. Kropáček, and V. Hochschild
Institute of Geography, University of Tübingen, Rümelinstr. 19–23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany

Abstract. Due to their remoteness, altitude and harsh climatic conditions, little is known about the glaciological parameters of ice caps on the Tibetan Plateau (TP). This study presents an interferometrical approach aiming at surface elevation changes of Purogangri ice cap, located on the central TP. Purogangri ice cap covers an area of 397 ± 9.7 km2 and is the largest ice cap on the TP. Its behavior is determined by dry and cold continental climate suggesting a polar-type glacier regime. We employed data from the actual TerraSAR-X mission and its add-on for Digital Elevation Measurements (TanDEM-X) and compare it with elevation data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). These datasets are ideal for this approach as both datasets feature the same wavelength of 3.1 cm and are available at a fine grid spacing. Similar snow conditions can be assumed since the data were acquired in early February 2000 and late January 2012. The trend in glacier extend was extracted using a time series of Landsat data. Our results show a balanced mass budget for the studied time period which is in agreement with previous studies. Additionally, we detected an exceptional fast advance of one glacier tongue in the eastern part of the ice cap between 1999 and 2011.

Citation: Neckel, N., Braun, A., Kropáček, J., and Hochschild, V.: Recent mass balance of Purogangri ice cap, central Tibetan Plateau, by means of differential X-band SAR interferometry, The Cryosphere Discuss., 7, 1119-1139, doi:10.5194/tcd-7-1119-2013, 2013.
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