Glaciers are widely recognized as sensitive indicators for regional climate change. Very few studies have been conducted to investigate the long term deglaciation status in the Himalaya. In the present study, glaciers in the Beas basin, Himachal Pradesh, India were mapped by interpretation of various glaciomorphological features using the Landsat and IRS images. The mapping of 224 glaciers during the period 1972–2006 reveals that the glacier cover reduced from 419 to 371 km2, witnessing approximately 11.6% deglaciation in the Beas basin. A higher rate of retreat of the glaciers was observed during 1989–2006 as compared to the retreat during 1972–1989. Also, the loss has been more prominent in the glaciers with an areal extent of 2–5 km2. The number of glaciers increased from 224 to 236 due to fragmentation in this period. The average elevation of the ablation zone basin showed an upward shift from 3898 m (1972) to 4171 m (2006) which may be a consequence of a shift in Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA) reflecting imbalance.
Volume 128 | Issue 8
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