ICIMOD: Glacier Status Change over 30 years based on Landsat Data

UN-SPIDER’s Regional Support Office in Nepal, ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development), released a publication that provides a comprehensive analysis of the status of glaciers in Nepal for the last 30 years based on Landsat satellite data.The aim of the report is to raise awareness on the impact of climate change on glaciers. The analysis is based on Landsat satellite processed images and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) based digital elevation models. The methodology is an improved version of methods developed by global initiatives like the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), Global Land Ice Measurement from Space (GLIMS), and GlobGlacier. The customized methodology of semi-automatic glacier mapping provides a rapid delivery of glacier attributes. The results provide information on the change in glacial extent over the past decade and quantitative data to support the discussion of climate change impacts in the Nepal Himalayas.The report concludes that there are 3,808 glaciers in the area, with the number increasing due to defragmentation. However, the total glacier area and ice reserves decreased by 24 % between 1977 and 2010.This publications complements other studies and documents on glaciers that ICIMOD has elaborated in the past.