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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 23 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 23 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Glacier variations in the Himalaya from 1990 to 2015 based on remote sensing

Qin Ji1,2, Jun Dong3, Hong-rong Li4, Yan Qin1, Rui Liu2, and Taibao Yang1 Qin Ji et al.
  • 1Institute of Glaciology and Ecogeography, College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China
  • 2GIS Application Research Chongqing Key Laboratory, School of Geography and Tourism, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing, China
  • 3Chongqing Business Vocational College, Chongqing, China
  • 4PLA Army Special Operations Academy, Guangzhou, China

Abstract. The Himalaya is located in the southwest margin of the Tibetan Plateau. The region is of special interest for glacio-climatological research as it is influenced by both the continental climate of Central Asia and The Indian Monsoon system. Despite its large area covered by glaciers, detail glacier inventory data are not yet available for the entire Himalaya. The study presents spatial patterns in glacier area in the entire Himalaya are multiple spatial scales. We combined Landsat TM/ETM+/OLI from 1990 to 2015 and ASTER GEDM (30 m). In the years around 1990 the whole mountain range contained about 12211 glaciers covering an area of 23229.27 km2, while the ice on south slope covered 14451.25 km2. Glaciers are mainly distributed in the western of the Himalaya with an area of 11551.69 km2 and the minimum is the eastern. The elevation of glacier mainly distributed at 4,800∼6,200 m a.s.l. with an area percent of approximately 84 % in 1990. The largest number and ice cover of glaciers is hanging glacier and valley glacier, respectively. The number of debris-covered glaciers is relatively small, whereas covers an area of about 44.21 % in 1990. The glacier decreased by 10.99 % and this recession has accelerated from 1990 to 2015. The average annual shrinkage rate of the glaciers on the north slope (0.54 % a−1) is greater than that on the south slope (0.38 % a−1). Glacier decreased in the debris-covered glaciers and debris-free glaciers, and the area loss for the first is about 15.56 % and 5.22 % for the latter during 1990–2015, which showed that the moraine in the Himalaya can inhibit the ablation of glaciers to some extent.

Qin Ji et al.

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Qin Ji et al.

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