Early 21st century spatially detailed elevation changes of Jammu and Kashmir glaciers (Karakoram–Himalaya)

Saurabh Vijay*, Matthias Braun

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Although a number of studies indicate the regional heterogeneity of the glacier elevation and mass changes in high-mountain Asia in the early 21st century, little is known about these changes with high spatial detail for some of the regions. In this study we present respective glacier elevation and mass change estimates in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (JK) for the period 2000–2012. Our estimates are based on the interferometric analysis of SRTM DEM and the bistatic TanDEM-X data. On an average the JK East (Karakoram) glaciers showed less negative elevation changes (− 0.19 ± 0.22 m yr−1) compared to the JK West (Himalaya) glaciers (− 0.50 ± 0.28 m yr−1). This agrees very well with previous studies that show a transition from larger changes in the western Himalaya to a steady-state situation in the Karakoram. We observe distinct elevation change patterns on a glacier scale that is most likely linked to debris insulation and the enhanced ice melting due to supraglacial lakes, ponds and ice cliffs. We also found 16 surge-type glaciers in the JK East which were not documented before. In total, 25 glaciers surged and 4 others appeared to be in a quiescent phase in the observation period. Our results also reveal that the glacier-averaged elevation change rates of surge-type and non surge-type glaciers in the JK East region are not significantly different.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
    Pages (from-to)137-146
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Glacier elevation change
    • SAR interferometry
    • TanDEM-X
    • SRTM
    • Jammu and Kashmir
    • Himalaya
    • Karakoram


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