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Meteorological conditions, seasonal and annual mass balances of Chhota Shigri Glacier, western Himalaya, India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2016

Mohd Farooq Azam*
IRD/UJF – Grenoble I/CNRS/G-INP, LGGE UMR 5183, LTHE UMR 5564, 38402 Grenoble Cedex, France School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India Water Resources Systems Division, National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, India
AL. Ramanathan
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
P. Wagnon
IRD/UJF – Grenoble I/CNRS/G-INP, LGGE UMR 5183, LTHE UMR 5564, 38402 Grenoble Cedex, France International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal
C. Vincent
UJF – Grenoble I/CNRS, LGGE UMR 5183, 38041 Grenoble Cedex, France
A. Linda
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala, India
E. Berthier
LEGOS, CNRS, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France
P. Sharma
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
A. Mandal
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
T. Angchuk
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
V.B. Singh
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
J.G. Pottakkal
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India Western Himalayan Regional Centre, National Institute of Hydrology, Jammu, India
Correspondence: Mohd Farooq Azam <>
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We present the updated glaciological mass balance (MB) of Chhota Shigri Glacier, the longest continuous annual MB record in the Hindu-Kush Karakoram Himalaya (HKH) region. Additionally, 4 years of seasonal MBs are presented and analyzed using the data acquired at an automatic weather station (AWS-M) installed in 2009 on a lateral moraine (4863ma.s.l.). The glaciological MB series since 2002 is first recalculated using an updated glacier hypsometry and then validated against geodetic MB derived from satellite stereo-imagery between 2005 (SPOT5) and 2014 (Pléiades). Chhota Shigri Glacier lost mass between 2002 and 2014 with a cumulative glaciological MB of –6.72mw.e. corresponding to a mean annual glacier-wide MB (Ba) of –0.56mw.e. a–1. Equilibrium-line altitude (ELA0) for the steady-state condition is calculated as ~4950ma.s.l., corresponding to an accumulation–area ratio (AAR0) of ~61%. Analysis of seasonal MBs between 2009 and 2013 with air temperature from AWS-M and precipitation from the nearest meteorological station at Bhuntar (1050ma.s.l.) suggests that the summer monsoon is the key season driving the interannual variability of Ba for this glacier. The intensity of summer snowfall events controls the Ba evolution via controlling summer glacier-wide MB (Bs).

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