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Monitoring the glacier changes in the Muztag Ata and Konggur mountains, east Pamirs, based on Chinese Glacier Inventory and recent satellite imagery

  • Donghui Shangguan (a1), Shiyin Liu (a1) (a2), Yongjian Ding (a1), Lianfu Ding (a1), Libing Xiong (a3), Dihua Cai (a3), Gang Li (a1), Anxin Lu (a1), Shiqiang Zhang (a1) and Yong Zhang (a1)...

Abstract

Glaciers in the Muztag Ata and Konggur mountains of the eastern Pamir plateau, northwestern China, have been monitored by applying aerial photo stereo models (1962/66) and Landsat TM (1990) and ETM+ (1999) images, all of which have been compared in order to detect areal and frontal changes through the past four decades. The mean frontal retreat of glaciers in the Muztag Ata and Konggur mountains increased from 6.0 ma−1 between 1962/66 and 1990 to 11.2ma−1 between 1990 and 1999, with an overall glacier length reduction of 9.9% for the whole study period. The glacier area has decreased by 7.9%, mainly due to changes observed in the most recent period (1990–99), when the annual area loss almost tripled to 1.01 km2 a−1. Based on meteorological data from Taxkogan station since 1957, we conclude that climate change, particularly the rise in summer temperature after 1994, is the main forcing factor in glacier shrinkage.

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References

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