Topographic controls on the debris-cover extent of glaciers in the Eastern Himalayas: Regional analysis using a novel high-resolution glacier inventory

Sunal Ojha, Koji Fujita, Akiko Sakai, Hiroto Nagai, Damodar Lamsal

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6 Citations (Scopus)


To better understand the influence of topography on the formation of Himalayan debris-covered glaciers, we manually digitized 5301 glaciers, covering an area of 5691 ± 893 km2, from high-resolution Advanced Land Observing Satellite imagery, and identified 842 debris-covered glaciers with a debris-covered area of 3839 ± 753 km2. This estimation of the debris-covered area of these glaciers is a novel approach in the Eastern Himalayas. We investigated the relationship between the debris-covered area and the corresponding potential debris supply (PDS) slopes for the debris-covered glaciers across the region. The PDS slopes on the southern side show better correlation with their debris-covered area formation than those situated on the northern side of the Himalayan barrier, with this correlation weakening toward the western massifs. Further investigation showed that PDS slopes oriented SE to W exert a stronger control on the formation of debris-covered areas, which is related to the diurnal freeze–thaw cycle on the southern slope of the mountain barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-92
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary International
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 7
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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