Recent glacier mass balance and area changes in the Kangri Karpo Mountains from DEMs and glacier inventories
- 1School of Resources and Environment, Anqing Normal University, Anqing, 246133, China
- 2Institute of International Rivers and Eco-Security, Yunnan University, Kunming, 650091, China
- 3State key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, China
- 4Department of Geography, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, 411201, China
- 5Department of Surveying and Mapping, Yancheng Teachers University, Yancheng, 224007 China
- *These authors contributed equally to this work.
Abstract. Due to the influence of the Indian monsoon, the Kangri Karpo Mountains in the south-east of the Tibetan Plateau is in the most humid and one of the most important and concentrated regions containing maritime (temperate) glaciers. Glacier mass loss in the Kangri Karpo is an important contributor to global mean sea level rise, and changes run-off distribution, increasing the risk of glacial-lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Because of its inaccessibility and high labour costs, information about the Kangri Karpo glaciers is still limited. Using geodetic methods based on digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from 1980 topographic maps from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) (2000) and from TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X (2014), this study has determined glacier elevation changes. Glacier area and length changes between 1980 and 2015 were derived from topographical maps and Landsat TM/ETM+/OLI images. Results show that the Kangri Karpo contained 1166 glaciers with an area of 2048.50 ± 48.65 km2 in 2015. Ice cover diminished by 679.51 ± 59.49 km2 (24.9 ± 2.2 %) or 0.71 ± 0.06 % a−1 from 1980 to 2015, although nine glaciers advanced. A glacierized area of 788.28 km2, derived from DEM differencing, experienced a mean mass loss of 0.46 ± 0.08 m w.e. a−1 from 1980 to 2014. Shrinkage and mass loss accelerated significantly from 2000 to 2015 compared to 1980–2000, consistent with a warming climate.