JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (8): 1666-1681.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20190808

• Resource Ecology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Remote sensing monitoring of advancing glaciers in the Bukatage Mountains from 1973 to 2018

GAO Yong-peng1(), YAO Xiao-jun1(), LIU Shi-yin2,3, QI Miao-miao1, DUAN Hong-yu1, LIU Juan1, ZHANG Da-hong1   

  1. 1. College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environmental and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
    3. Institute of International Rivers and Eco-Security, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, China
  • Received:2019-01-06 Revised:2019-06-14 Online:2019-08-28 Published:2019-08-28


Glacier surging is a performance of glacial dynamic instabilities, which affects about 1% of glaciers worldwide. Glacier surge refers to the periodically rapid movement of glacier in a short period of time (2-3 a). Compared with the monitoring of ice crevasse change in glacier ablation area and the elevation change of glacier surface, the advance of glacier terminal is the most obvious feature to identify the surging glacier from remote sensing image. Based on 208 Landsat MSS/TM/ETM+/OLI remote sensing images from 1973 to 2018, advancing glaciers at different periods in the Bukatage Mountains are recognized. Meanwhile, we have explored the factors affecting the advance of glacier with the combination of meteorological data and established the variational mode of surge glacier terminal on the basis of the existing research for surging glaciers to lay a foundation for the study of the mechanism of glacier surging in this region and provide the basis for the Chinese Advancing Glacier Dataset. The results showed that: (1) There were 7 advancing glaciers in the Bukatage Mountains range from 1973 to 2018, among which 3 glaciers were in the state of fluctuating retreat and 2 glaciers in the state of advancing and fluctuating stability. We inferred that Monuomaha Glacier and the 5Y542H0020 Glacier belonged to surging glaciers, whose fronts were in an active phase. (2) There were 25 advance events for these 7 advancing glaciers in the past 45 years. The frequency of each glacier advance was more than or equal to 2 times and the time of advance was focused on the 2000s (7 times) and the 1970s (6 times). Additionally, glacier advance occurred in each month, so these advancing glaciers probably belonged to Svalbard glacier. There was no obvious pattern of the glacier advance in the Bukatage Mountains. The time interval between two advances of most glaciers was 10 years. (3) The terminals of advancing glaciers in the Kunlun Mountains exerted different changing patterns because of the geographical location, glacier velocity, glacier morphology and etc. The glacial stage lasted 5 years and was longer compared with other areas of China. These 7 advancing glaciers are shown as the modes of terminal change of the "repeated type" in the Bukatage Mountains range. It was hard to solely explain the trigger mechanism that is so complex in the Kunlun Mountains.

Key words: advancing glacier, glacier surges, remote sensing monitoring, Bukatage Mountains