Surface mass balance analysis at Naradu Glacier, Western Himalaya, India

Rajesh Kumar, Shruti Singh*, Atar Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Shaktiman Singh, Surjeet Singh Randhawa

*Corresponding author for this work

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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In the present study, we analyze a field-based seven-year data series of surface mass-balance measurements collected during 2011/12 to 2017/18 on Naradu Glacier, western Himalaya, India. The average annual specific mass balance for the said period is − 0.85 m w.e. with the maximum ablation of − 1.15 m w.e. The analysis shows that the topographic features, south and southeast aspects and slopes between 7 to 24 degrees are the reasons behind the maximum ablation from a particular zone. The causes of surface mass balance variability have been analyzed through multiple linear regression analyses (MLRA) by taking temperature and precipitation as predictors. The MLRA demonstrates that 71% of the observed surface mass balance variance can be explained by temperature and precipitation. It clearly illustrates the importance of summer temperature, which alone explains 64% variance of surface mass balance. The seasonal analysis shows that most of the surface mass balance variability is described by summer temperature and winter precipitation as two predictor variables. Among monthly combinations, surface mass balance variance is best characterized by June temperature and September precipitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12710
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, for research grants (Ref. No. SR/DGH/HP-1/2009 and SB/DGH-92/2014). We acknowledge the facility of the DST-FIST supported GIS Laboratory of the Department of Environmental Science, Central University of Rajasthan, India, where the maps are prepared on geographical information system (ArcGIS 10.1; version 10.1 and authorization number: EFL691568009-1010). The freely available data on India shapefile ( gdata), Digital Elevation Model (DEM) at NASA Earth Data ( and satellite images acquired from USGS ( is thankfully acknowledged. The mass balance data of other parts of Himalaya has been compared, and we thankfully acknowledge the contribution of authors who made it available through their publications. The authors are grateful to the editors and reviewers for their comments/suggestions that helped us to improve the earlier version of the manuscript. The valuable input in the manuscript’s language by Dr. Richard Armstrong, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Colorado, is thankfully acknowledged. The authors acknowledge the local mountain people (Chitkul, District Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh) and porters from Nepal for helping with the glacier fieldwork. We also thank the International Trans Himalayan agency for providing the necessary logistics during the fieldwork.


  • hydrology
  • climate change
  • Cryospheric science


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