Vol17 No.3: 572-587
【Title】Spatio-temporal changes in the six major glaciers of the Chitral River basin (Hindukush Region of Pakistan) between 2001 and 2018
【Author】Jawaria GUL1, Sher MUHAMMAD2,3, LIU Shi-yin3, Siddique ULLAH1, Shakeel AHMAD4, Huma HAYAT1*, Adnan Ahmad TAHIR1*
【Addresses】1 Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Abbottabad Campus, 22060, Abbottabad, Pakistan; 2 International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal; 3 Institute of International Rivers and Eco-Security, Yunnan University, Kunming, China; 4 Division of Environmental System Analysis, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084 China
【Corresponding author】Huma HAYAT; Adnan Ahmad TAHIR
【Citation】Gul J, Muhammad S, Liu SY, et al. (2020) Spatio-temporal changes in the six major glaciers of the Chitral River basin (Hindukush Region of Pakistan) between 2001 and 2018. Journal of Mountain Science 17(3). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5728-9
【Abstract】Glaciers in the northern Pakistan are a distinctive source of freshwater for the irrigation, drinking and industrial water supplies of the people living in those regions and downstream. These glaciers are under a direct global warming impact as indicated in many previous studies. In this study, we estimated the glacier dynamics in terms of Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA), mass balance and the snout position variation using remote sensing data between 2001 and 2018. Six glaciers, having area ≥ 20 km2 each, situated in the Chitral region (Hindukush Mountains) were investigated in this study. Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and available cloud-free continuous series of Landsat and Sentinel satellite images from minimum snow cover season were used to monitor the variability in the studied glaciers by keeping the status of glaciers in year 2001 as a reference. The annual climatic trends of mean temperature and total precipitation from Chitral weather station were detected using the non-parametric Mann-Kendall's test. Results revealed a general increase in the ELA, decrease in the glacier mass balance and the retreat of snout position. Average upward shift in the ELA for the entire study area and data period was ~345±93 m at a rate of ~13 m.a−1 from the reference year's position i.e. ~4803 m asl. Estimated mean mass balance for the entire study area indicateda decline of −0.106±0.295m w.e. a−1. Periods of snout retreat and advance in different glaciers were found but the mean value over the entire study area was a retreat of −231±140 m. No obvious relationship was found between the glacier variation trends and the available gauged climatic data possibly due to the presence of debris cover in ablation zones of all the studied glaciers which provides insulation and reduces the immediate climatic effects.
【Keywords】Glacier dynamics; Hindukush region; Sentinel; Landsat; Mass balance; Equilibrium Line Altitude; Snout position.