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Article

Recent Changes of Glacial Lakes in the High Mountain Asia and Its Potential Controlling Factors Analysis

1
Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 9 Dengzhuang South Road, Beijing 100094, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
Hainan Key Laboratory of Earth Observation, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Sanya 572029, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gareth Rees and Neil Arnold
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(18), 3757; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13183757
Received: 22 July 2021 / Revised: 14 September 2021 / Accepted: 16 September 2021 / Published: 19 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Glaciology and Cryosphere Research)
The current glacial lake datasets in the High Mountain Asia (HMA) region still need to be improved because their boundary divisions in the land–water transition zone are not precisely delineate, and also some very small glacial lakes have been lost due to their mixed reflectance with backgrounds. In addition, most studies have only focused on the changes in the area of a glacial lake as a whole, but do not involve the actual changes of per pixel on its boundary and the potential controlling factors. In this research, we produced more accurate and complete maps of glacial lake extent in the HMA in 2008, 2012, and 2016 with consistent time intervals using Landsat satellite images and the Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud computing platform, and further studied the formation, distribution, and dynamics of the glacial lakes. In total, 17,016 and 21,249 glacial lakes were detected in 2008 and 2016, respectively, covering an area of 1420.15 ± 232.76 km2 and 1577.38 ± 288.82 km2; the lakes were mainly located at altitudes between 4400 m and 5600 m. The annual areal expansion rate was approximately 1.38% from 2008 to 2016. To explore the cause of the rapid expansion of individual glacial lakes, we investigated their long-term expansion rates by measuring changes in shoreline positions. The results show that glacial lakes are expanding rapidly in areas close to glaciers and had a high expansion rate of larger than 20 m/yr from 2008 to 2016. Glacial lakes in the Himalayas showed the highest expansion rate of more than 2 m/yr, followed by the Karakoram Mountains (1.61 m/yr) and the Tianshan Mountains (1.52 m/yr). The accelerating rate of glacier ice and snow melting caused by global warming is the primary contributor to glacial lake growth. These results may provide information that will help in the understanding of detailed lake dynamics and the mechanism, and also facilitate the scientific recognition of the potential hazards associated with glacial lakes in this region. View Full-Text
Keywords: controlling factors; digital disaster reduction; glacial lake; glacier; High Mountain Asia (HMA); shoreline expansion controlling factors; digital disaster reduction; glacial lake; glacier; High Mountain Asia (HMA); shoreline expansion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, M.; Chen, F.; Zhao, H.; Wang, J.; Wang, N. Recent Changes of Glacial Lakes in the High Mountain Asia and Its Potential Controlling Factors Analysis. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 3757. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13183757

AMA Style

Zhang M, Chen F, Zhao H, Wang J, Wang N. Recent Changes of Glacial Lakes in the High Mountain Asia and Its Potential Controlling Factors Analysis. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(18):3757. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13183757

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Meimei, Fang Chen, Hang Zhao, Jinxiao Wang, and Ning Wang. 2021. "Recent Changes of Glacial Lakes in the High Mountain Asia and Its Potential Controlling Factors Analysis" Remote Sensing 13, no. 18: 3757. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13183757

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