Debris cover glacier melt in the Karakoram during 2018-2019

Updated Date: 7/12/2022 4:27:51 PM

The assessment of meltwater sourcing from the clean and debris-covered glaciers is scarce in High Mountain Asia (HMA). The melting rate varies with the debris cover thickness and glacier orientation. The present study quantifies glacier melting rate attributed to varying thickness of debris cover in the Karakoram. We observed daily melting rates by installing ablation stakes over debris-free and debris-covered ice during a field expedition. The stakes were installed on glacier surface with debris cover thickness ranges between 0.5 and 40 cm at selected experimental sites during the ablation period (September to October 2018) and (July to August 2019). We selected three glaciers including Ghulkin, Hinarchi, and Hoper facing east, south, and north, respectively to assess the role of glacier orientation on melting rates. We observed that the debris-free ice melts faster than the debris-covered ice. Intriguingly, a thin debris layer of 0.5 cm does not enhance melting compared to the clean ice which is inconsistent with the earlier studies. The melting rate decreases as the thickness of debris cover increases at all the three selected glaciers. Furthermore, south-facing glacier featured the highest melting (on average ~ 25% more). However, the north and east-facing glaciers revealed almost same melting rates. For further information, please read the paper associated with this data: Muhammad, S., Tian, L., Ali, S., Latif, Y., Wazir, M.A., Goheer, M.A., Saifullah, M., Hussain, I. and Shiyin, L., 2020. Thin debris layers do not enhance melting of the Karakoram glaciers. Science of the Total Environment, 746, p.141119.