Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2010, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (1): 29-36.doi: 10.11821/xb201001004

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Glacier Lake Investigation and Inventory in the Chinese Himalayas Based on the Remote Sensing Data

WANG Xin1; 2; LIU Shiyin2; YAO Xiaojun2; GUO Wanqin2; YU Pengchun2; XU Junli2   

  1. 1.Department of Geography; Hunan University of Science & Technology; Xiangtan 411201; Hunan; China; 
    2.State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Science; Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute; CAS; Lanzhou 730000; China
  • Received:2009-09-23 Revised:2009-10-23 Online:2010-01-25 Published:2010-01-25
  • Supported by:

    Knowledge Innovation Project of CAS No.KZCX2-YW-Q03-04; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40801025; No.40871043; National Basic Work Program of Chinese MST (Glacier Inventory of China, No.2006FY110200


The criteria for glacier lake inventory were set up and two phases of glacier lake inventories work of the Chinese Himalayas were carried out on the basis of the 278 topography maps(1970s-1980s),38 ASTER images(2004-2008,including 7 Land-sat Thematic Mapper images from 2004-2008 were used to fill the minor gaps between ASTER images),the DEMs and slope maps generated from the 278 topography maps and this paper.In comparison to the two phases of glacier lake inventories data,we found that the glacier lake variations are characterized by a general trend of "the decrease in the number of glacier lakes and the increase in area of glacier lakes"in the Chinese Himalayas during the past 30 years.Further analysis shows that,in recent 30 years,(1) the number of glacier lake decreased from 1750 to 1680(with a rate of 4%) whereas the area of glacier lake increased from 166.48 km2 to 215.28 km2(with a rate of 29%);(2) A total of 294 glacier lakes disappeared and 224 glacier lakes formed;(3) among the 6 types of glacier lakes,66% that disappeared were glacier lakes and 88% of newly formed glacier lakes were moraine-dammed ones;(4) the glacier lakes varied more significantly at the edge of survival glaciers due to the fact that the climate was warming and glaciers were retreating in the region of Chinese Himalayas.

Key words: the Himalayas of China, glacier lake investigation, glacier lake variations, glacier lake inventory, remote sensing

CLC Number: 

  • P343.6