Glacier area and volume changes of Hidden Valley, Mustang, Nepal from ~1980s to 2010 based on remote sensing
Keywords: Hidden Valley, Nepal, glacier; remote sensing, GIS
Abstract. Glaciers are one of the important natural resources of freshwater and sources of water for hydropower, agriculture and drinking whenever the water is scarce. This mapping and change analysis helps to understand the status and decadal changes of glaciers in Hidden Valley, Mustang district, Nepal. The investigation is carried out using Landsat images of the years 1977 (~1980s), 1990, 2000 and 2010. We mapped 10 glaciers of the Hidden Valley covering an area of 19.79 km2 based on the object-based image classification method using an automatic method and manual delineation by a Geographic Information System (GIS), separately. The glacier outlines for 2010, 2000, 1990 and 1980s in both methods are delineated from the multispectral Landsat images of the respective years. The total area losses of the glaciers from the automatic method are 1.713 and 0.625 km2 between 1990−2000 and 2000−2010 and from manual delineation are 2.021, 1.264, 1.041 km2 between ~1980s−1990, 1990−2000 and 2000−2010. The amount of average estimated glacier ice reserves lost is 0.326 km3 (26.26 %) and the total glacier area loss is 4.33 km2 (21.87 %) from the 1980s to 2010 based on manual delineation. The glaciers of Hidden Valley are shrinking and fragmented due to decrease in glacier area and ice reserves.