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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  16 Apr 2020

16 Apr 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

More dynamic than expected: An updated survey of surging glaciers in the Pamir

Franz Goerlich1, Tobias Bolch2, and Frank Paul1 Franz Goerlich et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK

Abstract. The investigation of surging glaciers using remote sensing has recently seen a strong increase as freely available satellite data and digital elevation models (DEMs) can provide detailed information about surges that often take place in remote or inaccessible regions. Apart from analysing individual surges, satellite information is increasingly used to collect capable data on surging glaciers. Related inventories have recently been published for several regions in High Mountain Asia including the Karakoram, parts of the Pamir and western Kunlun Shan, but information for the entire Pamir is solely available from a historic database listing about 80 glaciers with confirmed surges. Here we present an updated inventory of confirmed glacier surges for the Pamir that considers results from earlier studies and is based on a systematic analysis of Landsat image time series (1988 to 2018) and DEM differences. Actively surging glaciers were identified from animations, flicker images and the typical elevation change patterns. Selected historic and contemporary very high-resolution imagery were used to confirm surges. In total, we identified 206 spatially distinct surges within 186 glacier bodies, mostly clustered in the northern and central part of the Pamir. Where possible, minimum and maximum glacier extents were digitized, but often interacting tributaries made a clear separation challenging. Most surging glaciers (n = 70) are found in the larger size classes (> 10 km2), but two of them are very small (< 0.5 km2). We found also several surges where the length of the glacier increased by more than 100 %. The created datasets are available at: (Goerlich et al., 2020).

Franz Goerlich et al.

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Franz Goerlich et al.

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Inventory of surging glaciers in the Pamir F. Goerlich, T. Bolch, and F. Paul

Franz Goerlich et al.


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Latest update: 29 Sep 2020
Short summary
This work indicates all glaciers in the Pamir that surged between 1988 and 2018 revealed from different remote sensing data, mainly Landsat imagery. We found ~ 200 surging glaciers for the entire mountain range and detected the minimum and maximum extent of most of them. The smalles surging glacier is ~ 0.3 sqkm. This inventory is important to do furhter research on surging behaviour of glaciers and has to be considered when processing glacier changes (mass, area) of the region.
This work indicates all glaciers in the Pamir that surged between 1988 and 2018 revealed from...