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Glacier velocity measurements in the eastern Yigong Zangbo basin, Tibet, China

  • Chang-Qing Ke (a1) (a2), Cheng Kou (a1), Ralf Ludwig (a3) and Xiang Qin (a2)

Abstract

We apply the feature-tracking method to L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to derive detailed motion patterns of glaciers in the Yigong Zangbo basin during summer 2007. The results indicate that the flow patterns are generally constrained by the valley geometry and terrain complexity. The mean velocities of the 12 glaciers were 15–206 m a−1,with a maximum of 423 m a−1 for Glacier No. 5a. The majority of the glaciers exhibited high and low velocities in their upper and lower sections, respectively. The glacier area ranges from 3 to 42 km2. It is found that velocity shows a positive correlation with the glacier area and length. Many small-scale temporal/spatial variations in the glacier flow patterns were observed along the central glacier flowline.

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