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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 11, 531-539, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-531-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 11, 531-539, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-531-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Brief communication 15 Feb 2017

Brief communication | 15 Feb 2017

Brief communication: Glaciers in the Hunza catchment (Karakoram) have been nearly in balance since the 1970s

Tobias Bolch1,2, Tino Pieczonka2, Kriti Mukherjee2, and Joseph Shea3,4 Tobias Bolch et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Institute for Cartography, Technische Universität Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
  • 3International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal
  • 4Center for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Abstract. Previous geodetic estimates of mass changes in the Karakoram revealed balanced budgets or a possible slight mass gain since  ∼ 2000. Indications of longer-term stability exist but only very few mass budget analyses are available before 2000. Here, based on 1973 Hexagon KH-9,  ∼ 2009 ASTER and the SRTM DTM, we show that glaciers in the Hunza River basin (central Karakoram) were on average in balance or showed slight insignificant mass loss within the period  ∼ 1973–2009. Heterogeneous behaviour and frequent surge activities were also characteristic of the period before 2000. Surge-type and non-surge-type glaciers showed on average no significantly different mass change values. However, some individual glacier mass change rates differed significantly for the periods before and after  ∼ 2000.

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Previous geodetic estimates of glacier mass changes in the Karakoram have revealed balanced budgets or a possible slight mass gain since the year ∼  2000. We used old US reconnaissance imagery and could show that glaciers in the Hunza River basin (Central Karakoram) experienced on average no significant mass changes also since the 1970s. Likewise the glaciers had heterogeneous behaviour with frequent surge activities during the last 40 years.
Previous geodetic estimates of glacier mass changes in the Karakoram have revealed balanced...
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