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Quantifying Changes in the Gangotri Glacier of Central Himalaya: Evidence for Increasing Mass Loss and Decreasing Velocity

Bhushan, Shashank and Syed, Tajdarul H and Kulkarni, Anil V and Gantayat, Prateek and Agarwal, Vibhor (2017) Quantifying Changes in the Gangotri Glacier of Central Himalaya: Evidence for Increasing Mass Loss and Decreasing Velocity. In: IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATIONS AND REMOTE SENSING, 10 (12, 1). pp. 5295-5306.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JSTARS.2017.2771215

Abstract

The status of Gangotri, one of the largest Himalayan glaciers, has been a matter of scientific debate and close scrutiny of the global hydrologic community. To comprehend the current state of Gangotri Glacier, we estimated it's geodetic mass budget and ice velocity using optical satellite data. The spatial distribution of ice thickness, using a laminar flow equation, and possible locations of glacial lake formation are also analyzed. The geodetic mass budget of Gangotri Glacier, estimated for the period of 1999-2014, yielded a value of -0.55 +/- 0.42 mw.e.a(-1). Substantial decrease in ice velocity is also noted for a nearly contemporaneous period. The average decrease in velocity for the 14 year (1999-2000 to 2013-14) observation period is computed to be 6.98 +/- 6.53 ma(-1). While the deceleration is less pronounced in the accumulation areas and along the tributaries, palpable slowdown (11.07 +/- 6.53 ma(-1)) is observed along the main trunk of the glacier. The ice velocity maps produced are further used for computing glacier ice thickness and bedrock topography. Depressions in the bedrock topography are identified as potential sites for the formation of supraglacial lakes, as and when the snout retreats. In total, eight bed overdeepenings, with a maximum volume of 56.57 +/- 8.93 x 10(6) m(3), have been identified and demarcated as potential sites for lake formation. The results presented here highlight increasing mass loss and reducing velocity patterns of the Gangotri Glacier.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC, 445 HOES LANE, PISCATAWAY, NJ 08855-4141 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Depositing User: review EPrints Reviewer
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2018 06:48
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2018 06:48
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/58590

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