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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2016-202
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
26 Sep 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Moderate mass loss of Kanchenjunga Glacier in the eastern Nepal Himalaya since 1975 revealed by Hexagon KH-9 and ALOS satellite Imageries
Damodar Lamsal1,a, Koji Fujita1, and Akiko Sakai1 1Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
anow at: Asia Air Survey Co., Ltd., Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
Abstract. This study presents the geodetic mass balance of Kanchenjunga Glacier, a heavily debris-covered glacier, in the easternmost Nepal Himalaya between 1975 and 2010 using high-resolution (5-m) digital elevation models (DEMs) generated from Hexagon KH-9 and ALOS PRISM stereo-images. Glacier velocities are also calculated using a feature tracking method with two ALOS ortho-images taken in 2010. The difference between the two DEMs shows the rate of elevation change of the glacier, considerable surface lowering across the debris-covered area, and slight thickening in the accumulation area between 1975 and 2010. The velocity throughout the debris-covered area is slow, which stands in contrast with the faster velocity in the lower accumulation area. The rates of elevation change positively correlate with the elevation along the debris-free part, while they negatively correlate with elevation over the debris-covered part, which may result from the distribution of debris thickness. The rate of elevation change also positively correlates with the glacier velocity, whereas no correlation is found with slope and gradient of flow speed. Significant surface lowering is observed at supraglacial ponds, though the ponds should have short life spans. The geodetic mass balance of Kanchenjunga Glacier for the period of 1975–2010 (–0.14 ± 0.12 m w.e. a–1) is considerably less negative than those estimated for Khumbu Glacier (–0.27 m w.e. a–1) in the neighbouring Khumbu region. Disparities in the density of supraglacial ponds and the area contributions of accumulation and debris-covered areas may be principal causes of the difference in geodetic mass balance between the two glaciers.

Citation: Lamsal, D., Fujita, K., and Sakai, A.: Moderate mass loss of Kanchenjunga Glacier in the eastern Nepal Himalaya since 1975 revealed by Hexagon KH-9 and ALOS satellite Imageries, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-202, in review, 2016.
Damodar Lamsal et al.
Damodar Lamsal et al.
Damodar Lamsal et al.

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This study presents the geodetic mass balance of Kanchenjunga Glacier, a heavily debris-covered glacier, in the easternmost Nepal Himalaya between 1975 and 2010 using high-resolution DEMs. The rate of elevation change positively correlates with elevation and glacier velocity, and significant surface lowering is observed at supraglacial ponds. Difference of pond density would strongly affect the different geodetic mass balances of Kanchenjunga and Khumbu Glaciers.
This study presents the geodetic mass balance of Kanchenjunga Glacier, a heavily debris-covered...
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