SPATIO TEMPORAL CHANGE OF SELECTED GLACIERS ALONG KARAKORAM HIGHWAY FROM 1994–2017 USING REMOTE SENSING AND GIS TECHNIQUES
Keywords: Global warming, Glaciers, Karakoram Range, Change Detection, Floods, GIS & RS, Supervised classification
Abstract. With the acceleration of global warming glaciers are receding rapidly. Monitoring of glaciers are important because they caused outburst of floods the past. This research delivers a systematic approach for the assessment of glaciers i.e. Batura, Passu, Ghulkin and Gulmit cover along the Karakoram Highway. Main reason to select these glaciers was their closeness to Karakoram Highway which plays an important role in China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC). This study incorporates the techniques of Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS & RS). For this study, Landsat 4,5,7,8 images were taken for the years of 1994, 2002, 2009, 2013 and 2017. Using the said images supervised classification was done in ArcMap 10.3 version to identify the changes in glaciers. The area was categorized into six major classes’ i.e. Fresh snow, Glaciers, Debris, Vegetation, Water bodies and Open land. Classified results showed a decrease in the area of Glaciers, almost 3.5% from 1994 to 2017. GLIMS data about boundary of glaciers of 1999 and 2007 was compared with the classified results which show decrease in terminus of glaciers. Batura glacier has been receded almost 0.6 km from 1999 to 2017, whereas Passu glaciers receded 0.3 km, whereas Gulmit and Ghulkin glaciers are more stable than Passu and Batura with the difference of −0.05 and +0.57 km respectively. At the end results from classified maps were compared with the climatic data. Wherein temperature is rapidly increasing resulting in melting of glaciers and can cause shrinkage of fresh water as well as destruction to Karakoram highway in case of outburst floods.