Space-based observations of Eastern Hindu Kush glaciers between 1976 and 2007, Afghanistan and Pakistan

Mehmet A. Sarikaya*, Michael P. Bishop, John F. Shroder, Jeffrey A. Olsenholler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Glacier terminus fluctuations in the Hindu Kush are largely unknown, although research indicates expanding glaciers in the Karakoram. Consequently, we quantified glacier terminus locations in the Eastern Hindu Kush Range of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Fifty-two Alpine glaciers of various sizes, altitudes and orientations were sampled from Landsat and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) imagery acquired in 1976, 1992, 2001 and 2007. Our results show that 76% of the sampled glaciers retreated, 16% advanced and 8% exhibited relatively stable terminus conditions. Our research suggests that there is a spatial gradient in glacier fluctuations in the Western Himalaya governed by precipitation, where glacier retreat dominates in western Pakistan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalRemote Sensing Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


This work was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA Grant NNG04GL84G) and the Agency for International Development under the Pakistan-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperative Program.

FundersFunder number
Agency for International Development
National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNNG04GL84G


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