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Evolution récente des glaciers du Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya : apport de l'imagerie satellite

Abstract : The Pamir - Karakoram - Himalaya (PKH) mountain range is considered to be the largest terrestrial ice reservoir outside polar regions. However, the recent evolution of these glaciers, recognized as valuable high-altitude climatic indicators, remains poorly known, mainly because of accessibility issues and harsh meteorologic conditions that hamper field work and in situ observations. The aim of this thesis is therefore to improve the knowledge of glacier changes in PKH and study their evolution over the past decade, based on satellite images and digital elevation models (DEMs). We first developed automatic classification algorithms to monitor the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of glacial lakes between 1990 and 2009 along the PKH, based on Landsat images. We thereby highlight different types, sizes and evolutions of glacial lakes between eastern and western PKH. During the study period the total glacial lake area slightly decreased in the west (Hindu Kush and Karakoram), greatly increased in the east (Nepal, Bhutan) and remained stable in the central part (north-west India). We then computed the mass balance of PKH glaciers from elevation changes measured by comparing two DEMs, acquired ∼10 years appart, by the SRTM mission and the SPOT5 satellite. This method relies on a precise relative adjustment (horizontal and vertical) of the DEMs to remove possible systematic biases within glacier elevation changes. The difference in the original spatial resolution of the DEMs can result in an elevation-dependent bias, as well as the radar penetration into snow and ice can seriously underestimate glacier elevation in the case of a DEM derived from radar data such as SRTM. The spatial pattern of regional glacier mass balances between 1999 and 2011 turns out to be contrasted, with moderatemass losses in eastern and central Himalaya (-0.30±0.08m yr-1 w.e.), stronger in western Himalaya (-0.43±0.09 m yr-1 w.e.) and mass gains further west, for Pamir(+0.14±0.11 m yr-1 w.e.) and Karakoram glaciers (+0.10±0.20 m yr-1 w.e.). The global mass balance of PKH glaciers is estimated at -0.13±0.06 m yr-1 w.e.
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Julie Gardelle. Evolution récente des glaciers du Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya : apport de l'imagerie satellite. Sciences de la Terre. Université de Grenoble, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012GRENU028⟩. ⟨tel-00864042⟩

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