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Glacier and glacial lake classification for change detection studies using satellite data: a case study from Baspa basin, western Himalaya

Jain, Sanjay K., Mir, Riyaz Ahmad
Geocarto international 2019 v.34 no.4 pp. 391-414
Landsat, basins, case studies, glaciers, ice, lakes, niches, remote sensing, temperature, Himalayan region
Using high-resolution Google Earthᵀᴹ images in conjunction with Landsat images, the glaciers and lakes in the Baspa basin are classified to explore the recent changes. A total number of 109 glaciers (187 ± 3.7 km²) are mapped and subsequently classified as compound valley glaciers, simple valley glaciers, cirques, niches, glacieretes and ice aprons. The compound and simple valley glaciers contribute 67.1 ± 1.3% and 19.8 ± 0.3% to the total glacier cover of the basin. Similarly, a total number of 129 glacial lakes (0.360 ± 0.007 km²) are identified. From 1976 to 2011, the compound valley glaciers have lost a small area of 10.3 ± 0.03% at a rate of 0.41 ± 0.002 km² a⁻¹, whereas the niche glaciers have lost higher area of 40.1 ± 0.001% at a rate of 0.04 ± 0.0001 km² a⁻¹. Change detection of two benchmark glacial lakes revealed a progressive expansion during recent decades. The Baspa Bamak proglacial lake has expanded from 0.020 ± 0.0004 km² (2000) to 0.069 ± 0.001 km² (2011). Due to the complete loss of source ice, another glacial lake has expanded from 0.09 ± 0.001 km² (1994) to 0.10 ± 0.002 km² (2011). During the study period, the mean annual temperature that is Tₐᵥg, Tₘᵢₙ and Tₘₐₓ have increased significantly at the 95% confidence level by 1.5 ᵒC (0.070 °C a⁻¹), 1.8 ᵒC (0.076 °C a⁻¹) and 1.6 ᵒC (0.0071 °C a⁻¹) from 1985 to 2008. However, the precipitation has decreased significantly from 1976 and 1985 to 2008.