2014
  • Non-ICIMOD Publication
No Cover Photo

Spatial Change Detection of Glacial Lakes in the Koshi River Basin, the Central Himalayas

  • Shijin, W.
  • Tao, Z.

Region warming and the resulting ongoing deglaciation have led to the formation of new glacial lakes and expansion of existing glacial lakes. For giving an overview of the distribution and expansion of glacial lakes in the Koshi River Basin (KRB) between the Central China and Nepal Himalayas in the recent 10 years, this paper aimed to analyze and assess recent spatial variability of glacial lake changes in the KRB, Central Himalayas using two inventory data of glacial lake in 2001 and 2010 in Nepal and Landsat TM/ETM+ data for the 1990s, 2000 and 2009 on the Chinese section of the KRB. The datasets show that there are 1,203 glacial lakes with a total area of 118.54 km2 in the KRB in 2009, in which 599 lakes are mapped in the Nepalese section of the KRB with a total of 25.92 km2, and 604 lakes in the Chinese section of the KRB with a total area of 92.62 km2. From 2000 to 2009, the total number of glacial lakes decreased from 1,668 to 1,203 with a reduction of 45.86 {%} in the KRB, whereas the total lake areas expanded by 10.60 {%} (i.e. 0.72 km2/a), from 111.35 to 118.54 km2 between 2000, 2001 and 2009, 2010. Especially, 17 lakes are identified as potentially dangerous glacial lakes (PDGLs) by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on the Nepalese section of the KRB in 2009. In the same period, 23 PDGLs are also identified on the Chinese section of the KRB and the total area increased by 77.46 {%} (i.e. 0.37 km2/a) from 1990 to 2010 and the expansion rate is significantly higher than 39 {%} (0.19 km2/a) of non-PDGLs. Therefore, there is a need for promoting the awareness of the hazard potential of glacier lakes to support proper planning of mitigation and adaptation strategies in this context.

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