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Glacier changes between 1971 and 2016 in the Jankar Chhu Watershed, Lahaul Himalaya, India



Glacier changes in the Jankar Chhu Watershed (JCW) of Chandrabhaga (Chenab) basin, Lahaul Himalaya were worked out based on Corona and Sentinel 2A images between 1971 and 2016. The JCW consists of 153 glaciers (>0.02 km2) with a total area of 185.6 ± 3.8 km2 that include 82 glaciers with debris-covered ablation zone, comprising 10.9% of the total glacierized area as in 2016. Change analysis based on Corona (1971), Landsat (2000) and Sentinel 2A (2016) was restricted to 127 glaciers owing to the presence of cloud cover on 26 glaciers in 1971. A subset of glaciers was also mapped using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM; 1989) image. The total glacier area decreased by 14.7 ± 4.3 km2 (0.3 ± 0.1 km2 a¹). The number of glaciers in the JCW increased by four between 1971 and 2016 due to fragmentation. More recently (2000–16), recession rate has increased. Clean-ice area decreased by 21.8 ± 3.8 km2 (0.5 ± 0.1 km2 a¹) while debris-covered ice increased by 7.2 ± 0.4 km2 (0.2 ± 0.01 km2 a¹). Field observations of select glaciers also support derived recession trend in the JCW. Retreat rates in the JCW have been observed to be much lower than previously reported.

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Correspondence: Suresh Das <>


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Glacier changes between 1971 and 2016 in the Jankar Chhu Watershed, Lahaul Himalaya, India



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