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Recent Glacier Mass Balance and Area Changes from DEMs and Landsat Images in Upper Reach of Shule River Basin, Northeastern Edge of Tibetan Plateau during 2000 to 2015

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Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
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College of Urban and Environmental Science, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(6), 796; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10060796
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 June 2018 / Published: 16 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
Glacier changes in the Upper Reach of the Shule River Basin (URSRB) serve as a good indicator of climate change in the western part of the Qilian Mountains, located on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. However, information on recent glacier changes in the URSRB is limited. In this study, the changes in ice surface elevation were determined using geodetic methods based on digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) (2000), and from pairs of Third Resources Satellite (ZY-3) of China (taken around 2013). In addition, glacier area changes from 2000–2015, were derived from Landsat TM/ETM+/OLI images. The results suggest that 478 glaciers with an area of 375.1 ± 2.68 km2 remained in the URSRB in 2015. Ice cover diminished by 57.5 ± 2.68 km2 (11.9 ± 0.60%), or 0.79 ± 0.04% a−1 and 35 small glaciers disappeared from 2000 to 2015 in the URSRB. The most pronounced glacier shrinkage occurred during 2004 to 2009. The average ice surface elevation of the URSRB from 1999 to 2013 reduced by about 4.98 ± 0.6 m, which is equal to a mass loss of 0.383 ± 0.046 m·a−1. This reduction indicates that the ice storage loss has accelerated since 1999, compared to a mass loss of 0.21 ± 0.04 m·a−1 around Tuanjiefeng from 1966 to 1999, as reported by Xu et al. (2013). View Full-Text
Keywords: recent change; glacier area; ice surface elevation; remote sensing; Upper Rach of Shule River Basin recent change; glacier area; ice surface elevation; remote sensing; Upper Rach of Shule River Basin
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Zhang, X.; Li, H.; Zhang, Z.; Wu, Q.; Zhang, S. Recent Glacier Mass Balance and Area Changes from DEMs and Landsat Images in Upper Reach of Shule River Basin, Northeastern Edge of Tibetan Plateau during 2000 to 2015. Water 2018, 10, 796.

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