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Glacier velocities across the central Karakoram

  • Luke Copland (a1), Sierra Pope (a1), Michael P. Bishop (a2), John F. Shroder, (a2), Penelope Clendon (a3), Andrew Bush (a4), Ulrich Kamp (a5), Yeong Bae Seong (a6) and Lewis A. Owen (a7)...


Optical matching of ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) satellite image pairs is used to determine the surface velocities of major glaciers across the central Karakoram. The ASTER images were acquired in 2006 and 2007, and cover a 60×120km region over Baltoro glacier, Pakistan, and areas to the north and west. The surface velocities were compared with differential global position system (GPS) data collected on Baltoro glacier in summer 2005. The ASTER measurements reveal fine details about ice dynamics in this region. For example, glaciers are found to be active over their termini even where they are very heavily debris-covered. The characteristics of several surge-type glaciers were measured, with terminus advances of several hundred meters per year and the displacement of trunk glaciers as surge glaciers pushed into them. This study is the first synthesis of glacier velocities across this region, and provides a baseline against which both past and future changes can be compared.

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