Jan-Apr 2013, Vol. 1, Issue 1

Status and decadal glacier change
(1980-2010) in Nepal

The ICIMOD glacier inventories of Nepal in 2001 and 2011 revealed an increase of 17 per cent in the number of glaciers while the area decreased by 21 per cent. However, the data sources of these two inventories differ. The earlier inventory was based on topographic maps from the 1970s and the second inventory was based on satellite images from 2007 and 2008. The reduction in glacier area indicates a combination of disintegration of ice bodies and shrinking of glacier surface. In addition, the overall glacier area as a percentage of the total land in Nepal reduced from 3.6 per cent to 2.9 per cent. 

Glacier mapping was again conducted in 2010 to monitor changes in the glaciers of Nepal. To improve understanding of these changes, repeat decadal glacier mapping was carried out from 1980 to 2010, with 2005 as a baseline dataset. The evaluation and comprehensive overview of four decades of data will be a valuable contribution to ongoing research on issues related to glacial retreat. The inclusive database and report on decadal change analysis of glacier in Nepal Himalaya will be reported and available in 2013 enabling to understand the status of glaciers in coming years.

Distribution of glaciers in Nepal based on Landsat satellite images from 2010