November 8, 2018

Reru Glacier, Kashmir Retreat and Lake Expansion

Posted by Mauri Pelto

Reru Glacier in 1998 and 2018 Landsat images.  The red arrow indicates the 1998 terminus location, the pink arrow a recent landslide, Point 1 and 2 are tributaries that are losing connection with the main glacier and purple dots are the snowline.

Reru Glacier, Kashmir is at the headwaters of the Reru River, which drains into the Doda River and then the Zanskar River.  Murtaza et al (2017) noted a 17% loss in glacier area and a 80-300 m rise in the ELA of Kashimir glaciers form 1980-2013. This is similar to the rate of loss from 1962-2001 of 18% reported by Rai et al (2013) The Kolahoi Glacier has experienced an accelerated retreat in the last decade (Rashid et al, 2017)Babu Govindha Raj (2010) identified  the glacier retreating at an average rate of 12 m per year from 1975-2005,  with lake area expanding from 0.17  to 0.42 square kilometers.  Here we examine Landsat images from 1998-2018 to document changes of Reru Glacier.

In 1998 the glacier terminates in a 1 km long lake. The snowline is at 500 m, and tributaries at Point 1 and 2 flow into the main glacier. In 2002 the snowline is at 5300 m, the tributaries still join the main glacier and no landslide is evident at the pink arrow.  By 2014 the glacier terminates in the proglacial lake that has expanded to 1.6 km in length and tributary 1 has detached from the main glacier.  The snowline is at 5100 m.  In 2018 the glacier has retreated from the proglacial lake which is 1.7 km long.  The glacier has retreated 600-700 m since 1998.  A landslide is now evident at the pink arrow. Potentially from the period of intense flooding in 2015. Tributary #2 has a narrow but existing connection to the main glacier. The snowline in 2018 is particularly high at 5700 m. This is reflective of the high freezing levels in this area in 2018, see below.  The retreat is significant, but not rapid.  This is similar to both Kolahoi Glacier and Durung Drung Glacier.

Reru Glacier in 2002 and 20184 Landsat images.  The red arrow indicates the 1998 terminus location, the pink arrow a recent landslide, Point 1 and 2 are tributaries that are losing connection with the main glacier and purple dots are the snowline.

a

Freezing levels during 2018 in the Kashmir Himalaya region, determined by the North American Freezing Level Tracker.