Factors controlling the accelerated expansion of Imja Lake, Mount Everest region, Nepal

Sudeep Thakuri*, Franco Salerno, Tobias Bolch, Nicolas Guyennon, Gianni Tartari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the link between area increase of Imja Tsho (Lake) and changes of Imja Glacier (area ∼25km2) under the influence of climate change using multitemporal satellite imagery and local climate data. Between 1962 and 2013, Imja Lake expanded from 0.03±0.01 to 1.35±0.05 km2 at a rate of 0.026±0.001 km2 a-1. The mean glacier-wide flow velocity was 37±30ma-1 during 1992-93 and 23±15ma-1 during 2013-14, indicating a decreasing velocity. A mean elevation change of -1.29±0.71ma-1 was observed over the lower part of the glacier in the period 2001-14, with a rate of -1.06±0.63ma-1 in 2001-08 and -1.56±0.80ma-1 in 2008-14. We conclude that the decrease in flow velocity is mainly associated with reduced accumulation due to a decrease in precipitation during the last few decades. Furthermore, glacier ablation has increased due to increasing maximum temperatures during the post-monsoon months. Decreased glacier flow velocities and increased mass losses induce the formation and subsequent expansion of glacial lakes under favourable topographic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Issue number71
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Glacier flow
  • Glacier hazards
  • Mountain glaciers
  • Remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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