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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