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Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 1358–1374 | Cite as

Glacier change in the western Nyainqentanglha Range, Tibetan Plateau using historical maps and Landsat imagery: 1970-2014

  • Kun-peng Wu
  • Shi-yin LiuEmail author
  • Wan-qin Guo
  • Jun-feng Wei
  • Jun-li Xu
  • Wei-jia Bao
  • Xiao-jun Yao
Article

Abstract

Glaciers in the western Nyainqentanglha Range are an important source of water for social and economic development. Changes in their area were derived from two Chinese glacier inventories; one from the 1970 1:50,000 scale Chinese Topographic Maps series and the other from Landsat TM/ETM+ images acquired in 2009. Analyses also included boundaries from 2000 and 2014 Landsat TM/ETM+ images. A continuing and accelerating shrinkage of glaciers occurred here from 1970 to 2014, with glacier area decreasing by 244.38 ± 29.48 km2 (27.4% ± 3.3%) or 0.62% ± 0.08% a–1. While this is consistent with a changing climate, local topographic parameters, such as altitude, slope, aspect and debris cover, are also important influences. Recession is manifested by a rise in the elevation of the glacier terminus. The shrinkage of glaciers with NE, N and NW orientations exceeded that of other aspects, and glaciers with SE and S orientations experienced less shrinkage. Changes in the average positive difference of glaciation (PDG) show that the western Nyainqentanglha Range has unfavorable conditions for glacier maintenance which is being exacerbated by a warming climate since 1970.

Keywords

Glacier change Glacier inventory Western Nyainqentanglha Range Remote sensing 

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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kun-peng Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shi-yin Liu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wan-qin Guo
    • 2
  • Jun-feng Wei
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jun-li Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei-jia Bao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiao-jun Yao
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of ScienceLanzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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