Surge of Hispar Glacier, Pakistan, between 2013 and 2017 detected from remote sensing observations

Irfan Rashid, Tariq Abdullah, Neil Glasser, Heena Naz, Shakil Ahmad Romshoo

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This study analyses the behaviour of an actively surging glacier, Hispar, in Pakistan using remote sensing methods. We used 15 m panchromatic band of Landsat 8 OLI from 2013 to 2017 to assess the changes in glacier velocity, glacier geomorphology and supraglacial water bodies. For the velocity estimation, correlation image analysis (CIAS) was used, which is based on normalized cross-correlation (NCC) of satellite data. On-screen digitization was employed to quantify changes in the glacier geomorphology and dynamics of supraglacial water bodies on the glacier. Our velocity estimates indicate that the upper part of the glacier is presently undergoing an active surge which not only affects the debris distribution but also impacts the development of supraglacial water bodies. Velocities in the actively surging part of the main glacier trunk and its three tributaries reach up to ~ 900 m yr− 1. The surge of Hispar also impacts the distribution of supraglacial debris causing folding of the medial moraines features present on the glacier surface. Changes in the number and size of supraglacial lakes and ponds were also observed during the observation period from 2013 to 2017
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
Early online date14 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • glacier surge
  • Karakoram
  • supraglacial water bodies
  • glacier velocity


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