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Planimetric and volumetric glacier changes in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal, since 1962 using Corona, Landsat TM and ASTER data


Bolch, Tobias; Buchroithner, Manfred F; Pieczonka, Tino; Kunert, André (2008). Planimetric and volumetric glacier changes in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal, since 1962 using Corona, Landsat TM and ASTER data. Journal of Glaciology, 54(187):592-600.

Abstract

Multitemporal space imagery from 1962 (Corona KH-4), 1992 (Landsat TM), 2001 and 2005 (Terra ASTER) was used to investigate the glacier changes in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal. The ice coverage in the investigation area decreased by about 5% between 1962 and 2005, with the highest retreat rates occurring between 1992 and 2001. The debris coverage increased concomitantly with the decrease in total glacier area. The clean-ice area decreased by >10%. Digital terrain model (DTM) generation from the early Corona KH-4 stereo data in this high-relief terrain is time-consuming, and the results still contain some elevation errors. However, these are minor in the snow-free areas with gentle slopes. Thus comparison of the surfaces of the debris-covered glacier tongues based on the Corona DTM and an ASTER DTM is feasible and shows the downwasting of the debris-covered glaciers. The highest downwasting rates, more than 20m (>0.5ma−1), can be found near the transition zone between the active and the stagnant glacier parts of the debris-covered glacier tongues. The downwasting is lower, but still evident, in the active ice areas and at the snout with thick debris cover. All investigated debriscovered glaciers in the study area show similar behaviour. The estimated volume loss for the investigated debris-covered glacier tongues is 0.19km3.

Abstract

Multitemporal space imagery from 1962 (Corona KH-4), 1992 (Landsat TM), 2001 and 2005 (Terra ASTER) was used to investigate the glacier changes in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal. The ice coverage in the investigation area decreased by about 5% between 1962 and 2005, with the highest retreat rates occurring between 1992 and 2001. The debris coverage increased concomitantly with the decrease in total glacier area. The clean-ice area decreased by >10%. Digital terrain model (DTM) generation from the early Corona KH-4 stereo data in this high-relief terrain is time-consuming, and the results still contain some elevation errors. However, these are minor in the snow-free areas with gentle slopes. Thus comparison of the surfaces of the debris-covered glacier tongues based on the Corona DTM and an ASTER DTM is feasible and shows the downwasting of the debris-covered glaciers. The highest downwasting rates, more than 20m (>0.5ma−1), can be found near the transition zone between the active and the stagnant glacier parts of the debris-covered glacier tongues. The downwasting is lower, but still evident, in the active ice areas and at the snout with thick debris cover. All investigated debriscovered glaciers in the study area show similar behaviour. The estimated volume loss for the investigated debris-covered glacier tongues is 0.19km3.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:16 May 2017 13:37
Last Modified:16 May 2017 13:40
Publisher:International Glaciological Society
ISSN:0022-1430
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3189/002214308786570782

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