Multitemporal glacier inventory revealing four decades of glacier changes in the Ladakh region

Mohd Soheb* (Corresponding Author), Alagappan Ramanathan, Anshuman Bhardwaj, Millie Coleman, Brice Rea, Matteo Spagnolo, Shaktiman Singh, Lydia Sam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Multi-temporal inventories of glacierised regions provide an improved understanding of water resource availability. In this study, we present a Landsat-based multi-temporal inventory of glaciers in four Upper Indus subbasins and three internal drainage basins in the Ladakh region for the years 1977, 1994, 2009 and 2019. The study records data on 2257 glaciers (of individual size >0.5 km2) covering an area of ~7923 ±106 km2 which is equivalent to ~30% of the total glacier population and ~89% of the total glacierised area of the region. Glacier area ranged between 0.5±0.02 and 862±16 km2 16 , while glacier length ranged between 0.4±0.02 and 73±0.54 km. Shayok Basin has the largest glacierised area and glacier population, while Tsokar has the least. Results show that the highest concentration of glaciers is found in the higher elevation zones, between 5000 and 6000 m a.s.l, with most of the glaciers facing towards the NW-NE quadrant. The error assessment shows that the uncertainty, based on the buffer20 based approach, ranges between 2.6 and 5.1% for glacier area, and 1.5 and 2.6% for glacier length with a mean uncertainty of 3.2 and 1.8%, respectively. This multitemporal inventory is in good agreement with previous studies undertaken in parts of the Ladakh region. The new glacier database for the Ladakh region will be valuable for policy23 making bodies, and future glaciological and hydrological studies. The data can be viewed and downloaded from PANGAEA, (Soheb et al., 2022).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4171–4185
Number of pages15
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number9
Early online date9 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors are thankful to the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, for the lab facilities and the United States Geological Survey for the Landsat and ASTER imageries. The authors also thank Planet Labs and Google for the high resolution PlanetScope and Google Earth imageries. We are also thankful to the Scottish Funding Council and the University Of Aberdeen, United Kingdom for financially supporting our work.


Dive into the research topics of 'Multitemporal glacier inventory revealing four decades of glacier changes in the Ladakh region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this