ANALYZING RETREATING GLACIERS AND GROWING PROGLACIAL LAKES IN FOUR DIFFERENT MOUNTAIN RANGES OVER THREE DECADES USING REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE IMAGES
David J. Binger1, Umesh K. Haritashya1 University of Dayton, Dayton, OH1
As a result of climate change most of the world’s alpine glaciers are undergoing measurable retreat and dynamic changes. The result of accelerated melting has led to the formation and growth of potentially dangerous glacial lakes. In this study, alpine glaciers and associated lakes from the Himalayas, Andes, Alaska and New Zealand, showing similar geomorphological settings were analyzed to compare differences in regional proglacial lake growth and its relationship with glacier dynamics. Specifically, we analyzed the surface area growth of the lakes, retreat of glacier terminus, changes in glacier velocity, changes in debris using surface temperature mapping and potential glacial lake outburst flood triggers. Using Landsat and ASTER satellite images, Cosi – Corr software, and in house thermal mapping, 10 glaciers were analyzed and compared. Results show a substantial increase in proglacial lake surface area and terminus retreat over the past 30 years, with accelerated velocity and significant calving of the glaciers. However select glaciers in the Himalayas (Imja, Lower Barun, Thulagi) and Andes (Nef and Cachet) have shown a decrease in lake growth rate since 2010 with some featuring an oscillating lake terminus. Lakes with high rates of surface area growth paired with glaciers with increased velocity and calving could prove to be unsustainable and lead to an increased risk for glacial lake outburst floods. Overall, result show the changing dynamics of the alpine glaciers in different mountain regions and the growth of their proglacial lakes.