ESTIMATING THE VOLUME OF ICE LOSS USING LANDSAT IMAGERIES: A CASE STUDY OF RIKHASAMBHA GLACIER, NEPAL
Nepal being a part of Hindu Kush Himalayan Region is one of the largest concentration of glaciers. The loss of ice on that region reflects the climate change resulting devastating consequences on billions of people living downstream. This is why regular monitoring of the glaciers on that region is important not only to have insight into the glacier change but also to mitigate the effect of it. The satellite image as an alternate to ground based approach provides much more flexibility for monitoring in a regular basis. Therefore, this research aimed to map the decadal changes in glacier extent followed by estimating volume of ice loss of Rikha Samba Glacier located in Mustang district of Nepal. Multitemporal Landsat satellite images dating back from 1995 to 2015 were utilized in the study. The current research involved the calculation of snow index like NDSI on the radiometrically corrected satellite imageries. An open source GIS software package was used to automatically delineate the boundary of glacier based on the NDSI. It has been revealed that the glacier area shrunk by 2.608 km 2 on an average over the period. The ice velocity of the glacier was estimated. Laminar flow approach (Cuffey and Paterson, 2010) was utilized to find the ice thickness of glacier based on the evaluated velocity information. The utilization of thus computed ice thickness gave the volume of ice loss during the study period (i.e. 310000 m 3). In addition, 0.69 km glacier retreat was observed over the period.