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A. identitas Jurnal

1. Judul Jurnal : Understanding changes in the Himalayan cryosphere using remote sensing techniques

2. Penulis : ANIL V. KULKARNI



3. ISSN : - ISSN 0143-1161 print

- ISSN 1366-5901 online © 2011 Taylor & Francis

4. Nama jurnal : International Journal of Remote Sensing

5. Volume/ Nomor : Vol. 32, No. 3

6. Tahun Terbit : 10 February 2011

7. Halaman : 601–615

8. Penerbit : Taylor & Francis Group

9. Dowload : http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals

10. DOI : 10.1080/01431161.2010.517802


A. Abstrak Jurnal

In the Himalayas, a large area is covered by glaciers and seasonal snow and changesin its extent can
influence availability of water in the Himalayan Rivers. In this paper, changes in glacial extent, glacial
mass balance and seasonal snow cover are discussed. Glacial retreat was estimated for 1868 glaciers in
11 basins distributed in the Indian Himalaya since 1962. The investigation has shown an overall
reduction in glacier area from 6332 to 5329 km2 from 1962 to 2001/2 – an overall deglaciation of 16%.
Snow line at the end of ablation season on the Chhota Shigri glacier observed using field and satellite
methods suggests a change in altitude from 4900 to 5200 m from the late 1970s to present. Seasonal
snow cover was monitored in the 28 river sub-basins using normalized difference snow index (NDSI)
technique in Central and Western Himalaya. The investigation has shown that in the early part of winter,
i.e. from October to December, a large amount of snow retreat was observed. For many basins located
in lower altitude and in the south of the Pir Panjal range, snow ablation was observed throughout the
winter season. In addition, average stream runoff of the Baspa basin for the month of December
increased by 75%. This combination of glacial retreat, negative mass balance, early melting of seasonal
snow cover and winter-time increase in stream runoff might suggest an influence of global warming on
the Himalayan cryosphere.

1. Introduction

Himalaya has one of the largest concentrations of glaciers, and a large area of the Himalaya is also
covered by snow during winter time. Many Himalayan rivers such as Indus, Ganga and Bramhputra and
their numerous tributaries originate from the snow and glacier bound regions. Melt water from snow
and glaciers makes these Himalayan Rivers perennial. This has helped to sustain and flourish Indian
civilization along the banks of these rivers. However, this source of water need not be considered as
permanent, as geological history of the Earth suggests constant change of glacial extent due to changing
climate. However, natural changes in the Earth’s climate might have been augmented by the enhanced
greenhouse effect, caused by manmade changes in the Earth’s environment.

In addition, recent development in climate modelling suggests that existing greenhouse gases and
aerosols in the atmosphere has led to absorb 0.85 ± 0.15 W m–2 more energy by the Earth than is
emitted into space. This means additional global warming of about 0.6◦C without further change in
atmospheric composition (Hansen et al. 2005).

In addition, the best estimates of globally average surface air warming for different warming scenarios
vary between 1.8 and 4.0◦C (IPCC 2007). This will have a profound effect on the Himalayan cryosphere.
However, the Himalayan region is highly rugged and detailed information is available for a few glaciers
only. Therefore, numerous predictions were made based on limited data and it has created significant
confusion in the scientific community and public in general (Cracknell and Varotsos 2007, Bagla 2009).
To overcome this limitation, remote sensing techniques can play very important role in monitoring
Himalayan snow and glaciers (Kulkarni 1992, Kulkarni et al. 2007).

2. Methodology

To estimate long term retreat, topographic maps and imageries of Line Imaging Self Scanner Sensor
(LISS)-III sensor of Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) was used. The maps were prepared using aerial
photographs and a field survey in 1962. LISS-III images of 2001/2/4 were used. The error in glacier area
estimated from topographic maps was calculated using inventory data published by Geological Survey of
India (GSI) for the Baspa and Tista basins (Kaul et al. 1999), where topographic maps, aerial photographs
and limited field investigations were used to estimate glacier area. To estimate short-term retreat
satellite data, LISS-IV, Pan and LISS-III sensors of the IRS satellite were used (Kulkarni et al. 2009).

To monitor seasonal snow cover, Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) data of IRS at an interval of 5
days were used. Snow cover was monitored from October to June from the years 2004/05–2007/08.
Snow cover monitoring from July to September was not carried out due to cloud cover in the monsoon
season. Thirty sub-basins in Indus and Ganga river basins were monitored and approximately 1500
AWiFS scenes were analysed. The algorithm based on normalized difference snow index (NDSI) was used
to map snow cover (Kulkarni et al. 2006b). The algorithm was validated using field and satellite data
(Kulkarni et al. 2010). For a Beas basin, snow cover for years 1997 to 2000–01 was monitored using WiFS
data of the IRS. Due to lack of shortwave infrared (SWIR) band in WiFS data, NDSI method could not be
used for snow cover monitoring. In winter, due to long mountain shadows, combination of visual and
unsupervised classification was used to monitor snow cover (Kulkarni and Rathore 2003).

3. Results and discussion

3.1 Glacier retreat

To estimate glacial retreat, an investigation was carried out at 11 river basins in the Himalaya (Kulkarni
et al. 2009) and field investigations were carried out at Samudra Tapu glacier in 2004, 2006 and 2008 to
monitor retreat on the ground (Kulkarni et al. 2006a, Dhar et al. 2010). Field and satellite data suggest a
loss of 58 ha glacial area between 1976 and 2006. Total glacier area in 1976 was 72.41 km2. Satellite
imagery showing loss in glacier area and field photographs are given in figures 3 and 4, respectively.

Basin-wise loss in glacier area is given in table 2. Areal extents of 1868 glaciers were estimated. It was
6332 km2 in 1962 and 5329 km2 in 2001/04, an overall 16% deglaciation.

The amount of retreat varies from glacier to glacier and from basin to basin, depending on parameters
such as maximum thickness, mass balance and rate of melting at terminus (Kulkarni et al. 2005). The
data suggests that loss in glaciated area depends on the areal extent of the glaciers (table 2). This is
possibly because glacier response time is directly proportional to thickness (Johannesson et al. 1989).
Thickness is directly proportional to its areal extent (Chaohai and Sharma 1988).

4. Conclusions

The main components of the cryosphere such as glaciers, seasonal snow cover and moraine-dammed
lakes are discussed in this paper. These could be influenced by climate change. Numerous satellite
sensors and field investigations were used to develop a methodology and to assess results obtained
from remote sensing techniques. Loss in glacier area was estimated using high and medium resolution
satellite data and topographic maps of the Survey of India. In this investigation glacial retreat was
estimate for 1868 glaciers in the Chenab, Parbati and Baspa basins from 1962. The investigation has
shown an overall reduction in glacier area from 6332 to 5329 km2 between 1962 and 2001/04 – an
overall deglaciation of 16%. However, the number of glaciers increased due to fragmentation. Mean
glacial extent was reduced from 1.4 to 0.32 km2 between 1962 and 2001. In addition, the number of
glaciers with higher areal extent is reduced and the number with lower areal extent is increased
between the periods. Small glaciarates and ice fields have shown extensive deglaciation.
Another important parameter is glacier mass balance. Glacier mass balance was estimated using the
AAR method. To estimate accumulation area, the snow line was monitored throughout the ablation
season and the position of the snow line at the end of the ablation season was taken to estimate AAR
and mass balance. This investigation was carried out using WiFS and AWiFS sensors. The investigations
suggest glaciers in Baspa basin are losing mass at the rate of –69 cm per year. However, loss in mass is
not reflected in loss in area, possibly due to heavy debris cover around glacier terminus.

Seasonal snow cover is an important component of the Himalayan cryosphere. An NDSI-based

algorithm was developed to estimate seasonal snow cover and it was used to monitor numerous basins
in the Himalaya. In the early part of winter, i.e. from October to the end of December, a large amount of
snow retreat was observed for basins even located in an altitude range higher than 3000 m and average
stream runoff of the Baspa basin for the month of December has increased by 75%. In low altitude
basins like Beas and Ravi, snow accumulation and ablation was observed throughout the winter. This
combination of glacial retreat, negative mass balance, early melting of seasonal snow cover and winter-
time increase in stream runoff suggest an influence of climate change on the Himalayan cryosphere.

3.2 Glacier mass balance

The shift in snow line at the end of summer season was observed from 4900 m to 5200 m altitude from
late 1970s to 2008 (figure 7).

To estimate glacial mass balance, a relationship between accumulation area ratio (AAR) and specific
mass balance is developed using field mass balance data of the Shaune and the Gor Garang glaciers.
These glaciers are located in the Baspa river basin (Kulkarni 1992). Field data were taken from various
reports of Geological Survey of India (Sangewar and Siddique 2006). Glacier area was estimated using
IRS LISS-III (table 1). Images from the July–September season (25 August 2001 and 11 September 2000)
were selected, because during this period snow cover is at it minimum and glaciers are generally fully
exposed (Kulkarni and Suja Alex 2003).

3.3 Monitoring of seasonal snow cover

In the Beas basin, changes in snow melt pattern were studied from 1997 and 2008. The comparison was
made for an altitude range between 3000 and 3600 m. Snow cover area was estimated for the years
between 1997 and 2001 using WiFS data. In addition, AWiFS data were used to monitor snow cover
between the years 2004 and 2008.

Snow accumulation and ablation curves for the Ravi and Bhaga basins are given in figures 9 and 10. The
Ravi basin is located in the south and the Bhaga basin in the north of the Pir Panjal range, respectively.
In addition, the Ravi basin is in altitude range between 630 and 5860 m. The Bhaga basin is located in
the altitude range between 2860 and 6352 m. Therefore these basins are located in different
climatological zones. In the Ravi basin, snow accumulation and ablation is a continuous process
throughout winter. Even in the middle of winter a large snow area was observed to be melting. In the
Bhaga basin, no significant amount of melting was observed between January and April. However, snow
melting was observed in early part of winter, i.e. in the month of December (Kulkarni et al. 2010). In the
Eastern Himalaya, snow cover monitoring was carried out in the Tista river basin (figure 11). Data
suggests accumulation of snow during the North East monsoon and in winter-time. Winter-time
accumulation is more a source of snow than monsoon time.

3.4 Monitoring of moraine-dammed lakes

Lonak Lake in the Tista river basin was monitored using multi-year satellite data. The satellite data
suggest an increase of Lonak lake from 23 to 110 ha from 1976 to 2007. This increase in lake area was
caused by retreat and melting of glacier terminus (figure 12). The thermal influence of lake water could
also be one important reason for the retreat of the Lonak glacier. In the Satluj and Chenab basins, 22
and 31 lakes were mapped, respectively (Randhawa et al. 2005). This could also be one of the important
factors influencing glacier retreat.