Monitoring of Gangotri glacier using remote sensing and ground observations

In this study, Gangotri glacier was monitored using Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) LISS-III sensor data in combination with field collected snow-meteorological data for a period of seven years (2001–2008). An overall decreasing trend in the areal extent of seasonal snow cover area (SCA) was observed. An upward
shifting trend of wet snow line was observed in the beginning of melt period, i.e., in May and dominant wet snow conditions were observed between May and October. Snow meteorological parameters collected in the Gangotri sub-basin suggest reduction in fresh snowfall amount during winter, increase in rainfall
amount during summer, decrease in snowfall days, increase in rainfall days and rising trend of average temperature. The prevailing wet snow condition on glacier has caused scouring of slopes which led the excessive soil/debris deposition on the glacier surface. This was observed as one of the major factor
for activating fast melting and affecting the glacier health significantly. Apart from climatic conditions, terrain factors were observed for changing the glacio-morphology. The significant changes on the glacier surface were observed in the regions of abrupt slope change. The above factors affecting the Gangotri
glacier health were also validated using high resolution satellite imageries and field visit. A deglaciation of 6% in overall area of Gangotri glacier was observed between the years 1962 and 2006.

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