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Glacier Dynamics in Changme Khangpu Basin, Sikkim Himalaya, India, between 1975 and 2016

Department of Geography, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Meghalaya 793022, India
Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(6), 259;
Received: 2 May 2019 / Revised: 22 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
PDF [69872 KB, uploaded 10 June 2019]


This study provides a high resolution glacier database in the Changme Khangpu Basin (CKB) using LANDSAT 8 (2014) and Sentinel-2A image (2016), mapping of 81 glaciers that cover a 75.78 ± 1.54 km2 area. Composite maps of land surface temperature, slope and Normalized differential Snow Index have been successfully utilized in delineating near accurate debris cover boundary of glaciers. The cumulative controlling parameters of aspect, elevation, slope, and debris cover have been assessed to evaluate the nature of glacier distribution and dynamics. The local topographic settings seem to have significantly determined the glacier distribution in the CKB. Almost 20% area erstwhile under glacier cover has been lost since 1975 at an average rate of −0.453 ± 0.001 km2a−1. The recent decade (2001–2016) has witnessed a higher rate of area shrinkage (−0.665 ± 0.243 km2a−1), compared to a relatively lower rate of recession (−0.170 ± 0.536 km2a−1) between 1988 and 2001. The lower rates of glacial recession can most likely be induced regionally due to relatively cooler decadal late summer temperatures and peak in the monsoon spell. Glaciers with western and north-western aspects showed more vulnerability to area loss than the rest of the aspects. Lower altitude glaciers have receded faster than ones perched up on higher elevations. The rate of glacier area recession has been nearly twice that on clean glaciers as compared to debris-covered glaciers in the CKB. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacier; Changme Khangpu; Sentinel-2A; supraglacial debris; Sikkim Himalaya glacier; Changme Khangpu; Sentinel-2A; supraglacial debris; Sikkim Himalaya

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Debnath, M.; Sharma, M.C.; Syiemlieh, H.J. Glacier Dynamics in Changme Khangpu Basin, Sikkim Himalaya, India, between 1975 and 2016. Geosciences 2019, 9, 259.

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