Next Article in Journal
An Emerging Paradigm for the UNESCO Global Geoparks: The Ecosystem’s Health Provision
Previous Article in Journal
Environmental and Health: The Importance of Tremolite Occurence in the Pollino Geopark (Southern Italy)
Previous Article in Special Issue
Present Glaciers and Their Dynamics in the Arid Parts of the Altai Mountains
Article Menu
Issue 3 (March) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Regional Geomorphological Conditions Related to Recent Changes of Glacial Lakes in the Issyk-Kul Basin, Northern Tien Shan

Graduate School of Science and Technology, Niigata University, Niigata 950-2181, Japan
Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG), Bishkek 720027, Kyrgyzstan
Department of Environmental Science, Niigata University, Niigata 950-2181, Japan
Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC), Tokyo 105-0001, Japan
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba 305-8505, Japan
Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2018, 8(3), 99;
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere)
PDF [5986 KB, uploaded 16 March 2018]


To assess the current state of glacial lakes, we examine the seasonal lake-area changes of 339 glacial lakes in the Teskey and Kungoy Ranges of the Issyk-Kul Basin, Kyrgyzstan, during 2013–2016 based on optical satellite images (Landsat7/ETM+ and 8/OLI). The glacial lakes are classified into six types based on their seasonal variations in area: stable, increasing, decreasing, appearing, vanishing, and short-lived. We then track the number of each type in a given year and examine how each number changes from one year to the next. We find that many appearing, vanishing, and short-lived types occurred in both mountain ranges, having a large variability in number that is not directly related to the local short-term summer temperature anomaly, nor to precipitation or glacier recession. However, those in the Teskey Range vary significantly more than those in the Kungoy Range. To determine if the changing number and distribution of the various lake types may be due to changes in ground ice, we apply differential interferometric synthetic aperture radar (DInSAR) analysis using ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 for the debris landforms behind which glacial lakes appear. In the Teskey Range, ground ice occurs in 413 out of a total of 930 debris landforms, whereas in the Kungoy Range, ground ice occurs in 71 out of 180. In zones with predominant glacier-retreat during 1971–2010 (from Corona KH-4B and ALOS/PRISM), the Teskey Range had 180 new lake depressions as potential lake-basins, whereas the Kungoy Range had just 22. Existing depressions also expanded when melting ice produced subsidence. Such subsidence, together with debris landforms containing ground ice and ice tunnels, appear to cause the observed large number variability. In particular, the deposition of ice and debris by tunnel collapse or the freezing of storage water in a debris landform may close-off an ice tunnel, causing a lake to appear. Subsequent re-opening via melting of such blockage would produce either a vanishing or a short-lived type. In this way, the large variability in the number of each lake type and the distribution of types over this four-year period arises from regional geomorphological conditions and not directly from the local short-term summer temperature anomaly and precipitation or glacier recession. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacial lake; depressions; debris landform; geomorphological condition; DInSAR; Tien Shan glacial lake; depressions; debris landform; geomorphological condition; DInSAR; Tien Shan

Figure 1

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

Daiyrov, M.; Narama, C.; Yamanokuchi, T.; Tadono, T.; Kääb, A.; Ukita, J. Regional Geomorphological Conditions Related to Recent Changes of Glacial Lakes in the Issyk-Kul Basin, Northern Tien Shan. Geosciences 2018, 8, 99.

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]
Geosciences EISSN 2076-3263 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top