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Open AccessArticle

Three-Dimensional Glacier Changes in Geladandong Peak Region in the Central Tibetan Plateau

College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Yancheng Teachers University, Yancheng 224002, China
State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences (SKLCS), Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1749;
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 24 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
PDF [11093 KB, uploaded 28 November 2018]


In this study, contour lines from the topographic maps at a 1:100,000 scale (mapped in 1968), Landsat MSS/TM/OLI images, ASTER images and SPOT 6-7 stereo image pairs were used to study changes in glacier length, area and surface elevation. We summarized the results using the following three conclusions: (1) During the period from 1973 to 2013, glaciers retreated by 412 ± 32 m at a mean retraction rate of 10.3 ± 0.8 m·year−1 and the relative retreat was 5.6 ± 0.4%. The glacier area shrank by 7.5 ± 3.4%, which was larger than the glacier length. In the periods of 1968–2000, 2000–2005 and 2000–2013, the glacier surface elevation change rates were −7.7 ± 1.4 m (−0.24 ± 0.04 m·year−1), −1.9 ± 1.5 m (−0.38 ± 0.25 m·year−1) and −5.0 ± 1.4 m (−0.38 ± 0.11 m·year−1), respectively. The changes in the glacier area and thickness exhibited similar trends, both showing a significant increasing reduction after 2000. (2) Eleven glaciers were identified as surging glaciers. Changes of the mass balance in surging glaciers were stronger than in non-surging glaciers between 1968 and 2013. Changes of area in surging glaciers were weaker than in non-surging glaciers. (3) Increasing temperature was the major cause of glacier thickness reduction and area shrinkage. The increase in precipitation, to a certain extent, inhibited glacial ablation but it did not change the status of the shrinkage in the glacial area and the reduction in the glacier thickness. View Full-Text
Keywords: surface elevation changes; glacier fluctuations; remote sensing surface elevation changes; glacier fluctuations; remote sensing

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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).

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Xu, J.; Shangguan, D.; Wang, J. Three-Dimensional Glacier Changes in Geladandong Peak Region in the Central Tibetan Plateau. Water 2018, 10, 1749.

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