Recent mass balance of the Purogangri Ice Cap, central Tibetan Plateau, by means of differential X-band SAR interferometry Institute of Geography, University of Tübingen, Rümelinstr. 19–23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
24 Oct 2013
Received: 11 Feb 2013 – Published in The Cryosphere Discuss.: 21 Mar 2013 Abstract. Due to their remoteness, altitude and harsh climatic conditions, little is
known about the glaciological parameters of ice caps on the Tibetan Plateau.
This study presents a geodetic mass balance estimate of the Purogangri Ice
Cap, Tibet's largest ice field between 2000 and 2012. We utilized data from
the actual TerraSAR-X mission and its add-on for digital elevation
measurements and compared it with elevation data from the Shuttle
Radar Topography Mission. The employed data sets are ideal for this
approach as both data sets were acquired at X-band at nearly the same time of
the year and are available at a fine grid spacing. In order to derive surface
elevation changes we employed two different methods. The first method is
based on differential synthetic radar interferometry while the second method
uses common DEM differencing. Both approaches revealed a slightly negative
mass budget of −44 ± 15 and −38 ± 23 mm w.eq. a−1
(millimeter water equivalent) respectively. A slightly negative trend of −0.15 ± 0.01 km2 a−1
in glacier extent was found for the same time period employing a time series
of Landsat data. Overall, our results show an almost balanced mass budget for
the studied time period. Additionally, we detected one continuously advancing
glacier tongue in the eastern part of the ice cap.
Revised: 30 Aug 2013 – Accepted: 09 Sep 2013 – Published: 24 Oct 2013
Citation: Neckel, N., Braun, A., Kropáček, J., and Hochschild, V.: Recent mass balance of the Purogangri Ice Cap, central Tibetan Plateau, by means of differential X-band SAR interferometry, The Cryosphere, 7, 1623-1633, doi:10.5194/tc-7-1623-2013, 2013.