Retreating Glaciers of the Himalayas: A Case Study of Gangotri Glacier Using 1990-2009 Satellite Images

Gangotri Glacier is one of the major sources of the River Ganges - one of the major rivers of the
Indian subcontinent. Figure 1(A) shows the location of the study area, and Figure 1(B) shows the
location of the River Ganges.

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(A) (B)

Figure 1. (A) Location of the study area; (B) Location of the River Ganges.

Landsat TM images (30-m resolution) acquired from 1990-2009 were used in this study
(Figure 2). Landsat TM images provide historic records of glacial changes in the past 30 years,
but accurate mapping of glacier geomorphology has been a challenge because of the relatively
low resolution (30 m) of Landsat TM images. GeoEye IKONOS images provide excellent spatial
details of glacial terrains with 4-m resolution (multispectral bands) and 1-m resolution
(panchromatic band), and can greatly help identify moraine-covered glaciers and other glacial
and non-glacial features. IKONOS panchromatic and multispectral images acquired in 2005 were
used to support Landsat TM image analysis in this research (Figures 3, 4, and 5). Digital
elevation data collected by Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2000 was also used to derive glacial flow
direction and topographic information (Figure 6).

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Ding, Jennifer & Dong, Pinliang. Retreating Glaciers of the Himalayas: A Case Study of Gangotri Glacier Using 1990-2009 Satellite Images. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84326/. Accessed July 11, 2014.