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Monitoring glaciers in the Chenab basin with SBAS InSAR technology

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The Chenab basin is located in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. Glaciers in Chenab basin, as local freshwater resources, are very important to the regional ecological environment and development. At the same time, SBAS InSAR can monitor the deformation of the ground for a long time, the monitoring accuracy can reach mm level, and can obtain the time series change of deformation, whcih provides a new idea and method for glacier detection. In this study, the deformation from SBAS InSAR was combined with glacial area data to study the glacial changes in Chenab Basin. Sentinel-1 and Landsat series images were used to obtain the deformation and change in the area of glaciers by SBAS InSAR and the semi-automated method. The results showed that glaciers in the Chenab basin retreated rapidly, especially in the past ten years. The glacier area decreased by 88.05 km2 in 1990∼2000 and 118.86 km2 in 2000∼2010, and the glacier area decreased by 236.01 km2 in 2010∼2020, which was the largest rate of change of 9.49%. Moreover, glacial deformation decreased in 2020, and the deformation rate ranged from -146.3 mm/a to 119.52 mm/a. Most glaciers had deformation rates between -50 mm/a and 50 mm/a. Influenced by precipitation and temperature, glacial deformation in the Chenab basin started to change in August, the maximum accumulation was 6,828.43 mm, and the minimum ablation was -20,656.41 mm.

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This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41907396, 42001388 and 42071277), Chongqing Research Program of Basic Research and Frontier Technology (No. cstc2019jcyj-msxmX0515), the Science and Technology Research Program of Chongqing Municipal Education Commission (Grant No. KJQN202200526), Preferential Funding Scheme for Ideological and Political Teachers and Counselors in Colleges and Universities (Grant No. FDYZY2020003), the Science Foundation of the Chongqing Normal University (22XLB002, 22XLB003), and Humanities and Social Sciences Research Program of Chongqing Education Commission (22SKSZ030). We thank the United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Earth System Science Data Center and the Geospatial Data Cloud for providing data.

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Correspondence to Qin Ji or Hong Zhang.

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Ding, Yk., Liu, R., Fan, Yf. et al. Monitoring glaciers in the Chenab basin with SBAS InSAR technology. J. Mt. Sci. 19, 2622–2633 (2022).

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