Abstract

Comparative mapping of the glacier surface in 1968–2005 and 2005–2014 using old topographic sheets, LANDSAT ETM+ and LANDSAT 8 OLI images suggested 8% and 1.6% decrease respectively. It was observed that the numbers of glaciers increased due to fragmentation of big glaciers. The intensity of glacier shrinkage has decreased in recent years due to increase in supraglacier cover that inhibits the glacier-melting processes. The glacier mass balance of this region is −0.28/yr mwe (metre water equivalent) for the period 1968–2014. The response of change in size and subsequent change in glacio-geomorphic parameters of big glaciers show limited impact, while the parameters of small glaciers respond quickly. Study of glaciers in Garhwal Himalaya shows that the glaciers with high relief, larger length and large maximum height are less vulnerable to de-glaciation than others. In response to shrinkage in glacier size due to warming, the minimum and maximum elevation, relief, slopes, direct and total energy changes systematically for small glaciers through time. Long-term climate data (1901–2014) indicated that winter minimum and maximum temperatures are increasing rapidly compared to summer. The winter snow precipitation melts quickly and consequently there is shrinkage in glacier area.

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