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Open AccessArticle

Changes in Mountain Glaciers, Lake Levels, and Snow Coverage in the Tianshan Monitored by GRACE, ICESat, Altimetry, and MODIS

Key Laboratory of Computational Geodynamics, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Cheinway Hwang, Wenbin Shen, C.K. Shum, Stéphane Calmant, Richard Gloaguen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(10), 798; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8100798
Received: 7 February 2016 / Revised: 18 September 2016 / Accepted: 20 September 2016 / Published: 26 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Tibet and Siberia)
The Tianshan mountain range is experiencing a notable environmental change as a result of global warming. In this paper; we adopt multiple remote sensing techniques to examine the diversified geophysical changes in the Tianshan; including glacier changes measured by Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat); lake level changes measured by radar altimetry; and snow coverage measured by moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS). We find a rapid transition from dry years to wet years in 2010 in the western and northern Tianshan for all the geophysical measurements. The transition is likely caused by increasing westerlies and greatly pollutes the gravity signals in the edge of Tianshan. However, glaciers in the central Tianshan are unaffected and have been steadily losing mass at a rate of –4.0 ± 0.7 Gt/year during 2003–2014 according to space gravimetry and –3.4 ± 0.8 Gt/year during 2003–2009 according to laser altimetry. Our results show a weaker declining trend and greater linearity compared with earlier estimates; because we investigate the signal pattern in more detail. Finally; water level records of 60 years in Bosten Lake; China; are presented to show that for areas strongly dependent on meltwater; rising temperature can benefit the water supply in the short run; but cause it to deteriorate in the long run. View Full-Text
Keywords: the Tianshan; glacier change; Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE); ICESat; Bosten Lake; moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS); lake level change; snow coverage the Tianshan; glacier change; Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE); ICESat; Bosten Lake; moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS); lake level change; snow coverage
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Yi, S.; Wang, Q.; Chang, L.; Sun, W. Changes in Mountain Glaciers, Lake Levels, and Snow Coverage in the Tianshan Monitored by GRACE, ICESat, Altimetry, and MODIS. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 798.

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