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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-259
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-259
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 13 Jan 2020

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Terminal motions of Longbasaba Glacier and their mass contributions to proglacial lake volume during 1988–2018

Junfeng Wei1, Shiyin Liu2,3, Te Zhang1, Xin Wang1, Yong Zhang1, Zongli Jiang1, Kunpeng Wu2,3, and Zheng Zhang4 Junfeng Wei et al.
  • 1School of Resource & Environment and Safety Engineering, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, 411201, China
  • 2Institute of International Rivers and Eco-Security, Yunnan University, Kunming, 650091, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • 4School of Geomatics, Anhui University of Science and Technology, Huainan, 232001, China

Abstract. The interaction between a glacier and its glacial lake plays an increasingly important role in glacier shrinkage and proglacial lake expansion, and it increases the risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Longbasaba Glacier is directly contacted by a moraine-dammed lake with a high outburst risk in the central Himalayas, and has drawn a great deal of attention from scientists and local governments. Based on Landsat images and in-situ measurements, the evolution records of the shrinkage of Longbasaba Glacier and the corresponding expansion of its proglacial lake were determined for 1988–2018, and the mass contributions of glacier shrinkage to the increase in lake water volume were assessed. During the past three decades, Longbasaba Glacier has experienced a continuous and accelerating recession in glacier area and length but accompanied by the decelerating surface lowing and ice flow. Consequently, Longbasaba Lake has expanded significantly at an accelerating rate. The glacier surface lowering played a predominant role in the mass contribution of glacier shrinkage to the increase in lake water volume, while ice avalanches were the main potential trigger for failure of moraine dams and subsequent GLOF events. Due to the areal expansion, decreasing mass contributions from parent glacier shrinkage, and some mitigation measures by local governments to improve the drainage systems, the potential risk of outburst for Longbasaba Lake has continuously decreased during the last decade.

Junfeng Wei et al.
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Short summary
During the past three decades, Longbasaba Glacier has experienced a continuous and accelerating recession in glacier area and length but accompanied by the decelerating surface lowing and ice flow. The glacier surface lowering played a predominant role in the mass contribution of glacier shrinkage to the increase in lake water volume, while ice avalanches were the main potential trigger for failure of moraine dams and subsequent GLOF events.
During the past three decades, Longbasaba Glacier has experienced a continuous and accelerating...
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