Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-57
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-57

  15 Apr 2020

15 Apr 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ESSD.

Annual 30-meter Dataset for Glacial Lakes in High Mountain Asia from 2008 to 2017

Fang Chen1,2,3, Meimei Zhang1, Huadong Guo1,2,3, Simon Allen4,5, Jeffrey S. Kargel6, Umesh K. Haritashya7, and C. Scott Watson8 Fang Chen et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 9 Dengzhuang South Road, Beijing 100094, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 9 Dengzhuang South Road, Beijing 100094, China
  • 3Hainan Key Laboratory of Earth Observation, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Sanya 572029, China
  • 4Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, 8057, Switzerland
  • 5Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva 1205, Switzerland
  • 6The Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, 85719, USA
  • 7Department of Geology, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, 45469, USA
  • 8Department of Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA

Abstract. Climate change is intensifying glacier melting and lake development in High Mountain Asia (HMA), which could increase glacial lake outburst flood hazards and impact water resource and hydroelectric power management. However, quantification of variability in size and type of glacial lakes at high resolution has been incomplete in HMA. Here, we developed a HMA Glacial Lake Inventory (Hi-MAG) database to characterize the annual coverage of glacial lakes from 2008 to 2017 at 30 m resolution using Landsat satellite imagery. It is noted that a rapid increase in lake number and moderate area expansion was influenced by a large population of small glacial lake (≤ 0.04 km2), and faster growth in lake number occurred above 5300 m elevation. Proglacial lake dominated areas showed significant lake area expansion, while unconnected lake dominated areas exhibited stability or slight reduction. Small glacial lakes accounted for approximately 15% of the lake area in Eastern Hindu Kush, Western Himalaya, Northern/Western Tien Shan, and Gangdise Mountains, but contributed > 50 % of lake area expansion in these regions over a decade. Our results demonstrate proglacial lakes are a main contributor while small glacial lakes are an overlooked element to recent lake evolution in HMA. Regional geographic variability of debris cover, together with trends in warming and precipitation over the past few decades, largely explain the current distribution of supra- and proglacial lake area across HMA. The Hi-MAG database are available at: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3700282, it can be used for studies on glacier-climate-lake interactions, glacio-hydrologic models, glacial lake outburst floods and potential downstream risks and water resources.

Fang Chen et al.

 
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Fang Chen et al.

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Annual 30-meter Dataset for Glacial Lakes in High Mountain Asia from 2008 to 2017 F. Chen, M. Zhang, H. Guo, S. Allen, J. S. Kargel, U. K. Haritashya, and C. S. Watson https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3700282

Fang Chen et al.

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Short summary
We developed a 30-meter HMA Glacial Lake Inventory (Hi-MAG) dataset to characterize the annual coverage of glacial lakes from 2008 to 2017. Our results show proglacial lakes are a main contributor while small glacial lakes are an overlooked element to recent lake evolution in HMA. Regional geographic variability of debris cover, together with trends in warming and precipitation over the past few decades, largely explain the current distribution of supra- and proglacial lake area across HMA.