Himalayan Glaciers (India, Bhutan, Nepal): Satellite Observations of Thinning and Retreat

Adina E. Racoviteanu, Yves Arnaud, I. M. Baghuna, Samjwal R. Bajracharya, Etienne Berthier, Rakesh Bhambri, Tobias Bolch, Martin Byrne, Ravinder K. Chaujar, Regula Frauenfelder, Andreas Kääb, Ulrich Kamp, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Anil V. Kulkarni, Gregory J. Leonard, Pradeep K. Mool, I. Sossna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter summarizes the current state of remote sensing of glaciers in the India, Nepal, and Bhutan regions of the Himalaya, and focuses on new methods for assessing glacier change. Glaciers in these Himalaya regions exhibit complex patterns of changes due to the unique and variable climatic, topographic, and glaciological parameters present in this region. The theoretical understanding of glaciers in the Himalaya is limited by lack of sufficient observations due to terrain breadth and complexity, severe weather conditions, logistic difficulties, and geopolitics. Mapping and assessing these glaciers with satellite imagery is also challenging due to inherent sensor limitations and information extraction issues. Thus, we still lack a complete understanding of the magnitude of feedbacks, and in some places even their sign, between climate changes and glacier response in this region. In this chapter we present the current status of glaciers in various climatic regimes of the Himalaya, ranging from the monsoon-influenced regions of the central-eastern Himalaya (Nepal, Garhwal, Sikkim, and Bhutan) through the monsoon transition zone of Himachal Pradesh (India), to the dry areas of Ladakh (western Himalaya). The case studies presented here illustrate the use of remote sensing and elevation data coupled with glaciermapping techniques for glacier area and elevation change detection and ice flow modeling in the context of the Himalaya.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Land Ice Measurements from Space
EditorsJeffrey S. Kargel, Gregory J. Leonard, Michael P. Bishop, Andreas Kääb, Bruce H. Raup
Place of PublicationBerlin, Heidelberg
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)978-3-540-79818-7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2014


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