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Changes in ice thickness and flow velocity of Yala Glacier, Langtang Himal, Nepal, from 1982 to 2009

  • Shin Sugiyama (a1), Kotaro Fukui (a2), Koji Fujita (a3), Kenta Tone (a1) (a4) and Satoru Yamaguchi (a5)...
Abstract

To investigate recent glacier changes in the Himalayan region, we carried out GPS and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) measurements at Yala Glacier, a benchmark glacier in Nepal. Glacier surface elevation and ice thickness were surveyed along a 1.5 km profile from the glacier top to the terminus. Ice flow velocity was measured at five locations by surveying stakes for either 1 year or 4 day periods. Obtained surface elevation and ice velocity were compared with those measured in 1982 and 1996. The mean ice thickness along the radar profile was 36 m in 2009 and the ice has been thinning at rates of-0.69 ±0.25 and -0.75 ± 0.24 m a-1 during the periods 1982-96 and 1996-2009, respectively. The thinning rate increases down-glacier, reaching a magnitude up to -1.8 m a-1 near the terminus from 1996 to 2009. The ice velocity has reduced by >70% from 1982 to 2009 in the lower half of the glacier. By assuming a constant driving stress over the glacier, the total ice volume in 2009 was estimated as 0.061 km3. Our results indicate that Yala Glacier has lost ∼40% of its ice volume over the last 27 years and that the rate of the mass loss has accelerated over the last decade.

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References
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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