Next Article in Journal
Sea Wind Measurement by Doppler Navigation System with X-Configured Beams in Rectilinear Flight
Next Article in Special Issue
Circum-Arctic Changes in the Flow of Glaciers and Ice Caps from Satellite SAR Data between the 1990s and 2017
Previous Article in Journal
Robust Feature Matching Method for SAR and Optical Images by Using Gaussian-Gamma-Shaped Bi-Windows-Based Descriptor and Geometric Constraint
Previous Article in Special Issue
Wavelet-Based Topographic Effect Compensation in Accurate Mountain Glacier Velocity Extraction: A Case Study of the Muztagh Ata Region, Eastern Pamir
Article Menu
Issue 9 (September) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceArticle

The 2015 Surge of Hispar Glacier in the Karakoram

Department of Geography, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
Gamma Remote Sensing, 3073 Gümligen, Switzerland
Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zhong Lu, Magaly Koch and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(9), 888;
Received: 14 June 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 15 August 2017 / Published: 26 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Glaciers)
PDF [13403 KB, uploaded 14 September 2017]


The Karakoram mountain range is well known for its numerous surge-type glaciers of which several have recently surged or are still doing so. Analysis of multi-temporal satellite images and digital elevation models have revealed impressive details about the related changes (e.g., in glacier length, surface elevation and flow velocities) and considerably expanded the database of known surge-type glaciers. One glacier that has so far only been reported as impacted by surging tributaries, rather than surging itself, is the 50 km long main trunk of Hispar Glacier in the Hunza catchment. We here present the evolution of flow velocities and surface features from its 2015/16 surge as revealed from a dense time series of SAR and optical images along with an analysis of historic satellite images. We observed maximum flow velocities of up to 14 m d−1 (5 km a−1) in spring 2015, sudden drops in summer velocities, a second increase in winter 2015/16 and a total advance of the surge front of about 6 km. During a few months the surge front velocity was much higher (about 90 m d−1) than the maximum flow velocity. We assume that one of its northern tributary glaciers, Yutmaru, initiated the surge at the end of summer 2014 and that the variability in flow velocities was driven by changes in the basal hydrologic regime (Alaska-type surge). We further provide evidence that Hispar Glacier has surged before (around 1960) over a distance of about 10 km so that it can also be regarded as a surge-type glacier. View Full-Text
Keywords: Karakoram; Hispar Glacier; surge; hydrology controlled; velocity; time series; Landsat; Sentinel-1; Corona Karakoram; Hispar Glacier; surge; hydrology controlled; velocity; time series; Landsat; Sentinel-1; Corona

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Paul, F.; Strozzi, T.; Schellenberger, T.; Kääb, A. The 2015 Surge of Hispar Glacier in the Karakoram. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 888.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Remote Sens. EISSN 2072-4292 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top