Study of Glacial Variations in Pakistan using Landsat and ALOS data

Rahmatullah Jilani(1), Aisha Naseer(1) and Mateeul Haq(1)

(1) Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Divisio, Sector 28, Gulzar-e-Hijri, Off University Road,, karachi (75270), Pakistan


Mountain glaciers world wide have been observed with decreasing trends both in length and area over the last century. The retreating rate of glaciers is now increasing with changing climate. Pakistan has mountain glaciers in the north bordering China, Afghanistan and India. The purpose of this study was to see the variations in Yazghil and Jutmau glaciers’ area during 1992 and 2007. Landsat (TM Oct 1992, ETM+ Oct 2000) and ALOS (AVNIR Oct 2007) cloud free images were selected for the study. Various classification techniques were applied for area calculations of the glaciers. A slight decrease in the area of Yazghil glacier was observed as compared to Jutmau glacier. Yazghil glacier has lost a total of 1.18 sq km area during 1992 and 2007, whereas Jutmau glacier has lost a total of 6 sq km area. Jutmau glacier is facing south hence receives more sun light which may be the cause of more area loss as compared to Yazghil glacier which is facing north where the sun rays are falling oblique on its surface. Previous studies of Biafo and Batura glaciers have shown the same retreating trends. Glaciers are the major water resource in Pakistan; therefore, monitoring their health can help in better water resource management in the country.

Keywords: Yazghil Glacier, Jutmau Glaciers, AVNIR



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