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Characteristics of Khumbu Glacier, Nepal Himalaya: recent change in the debris-covered area

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Using satellite data, the longitudinal distribution of the ablation rate and flow velocity were estimated for the ablation area, where glacier ice is covered with supraglacial debris. The ablation rate, small around Everest Base Camp (EBC) just below the equilibrium line, increased down-glacier for about 3 km, then decreased gradually toward the apparent terminus, located about 10 km from EBC. The velocity decreased almost linearly from EBC to the terminus. The results allowed estimation of the recent change of ice thickness using the continuity equation. The glacier has thinned recently in the ablation area. The rate of thinning was large near EBC, where the surface is either bare ice or covered with very thin debris cover, but relatively small and rather uniform at lower sites, where the supraglacial debris layer was thick and supraglacial lakes and ice cliffs predominate. The general pattern is compatible with field observations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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