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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 903709, 8 pages
Research Article

Changes in Glaciers and Glacial Lakes and the Identification of Dangerous Glacial Lakes in the Pumqu River Basin, Xizang (Tibet)

1Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
2Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research, National Central University, Chung-Li 32001, Taiwan

Received 27 October 2013; Accepted 18 December 2013; Published 20 January 2014

Academic Editor: Chung-Ru Ho

Copyright © 2014 Tao Che et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Latest satellite images have been utilized to update the inventories of glaciers and glacial lakes in the Pumqu river basin, Xizang (Tibet), in the study. Compared to the inventories in 1970s, the areas of glaciers are reduced by 19.05% while the areas of glacial lakes are increased by 26.76%. The magnitudes of glacier retreat rate and glacial lake increase rate during the period of 2001–2013 are more significant than those for the period of the 1970s–2001. The accelerated changes in areas of the glaciers and glacial lakes, as well as the increasing temperature and rising variability of precipitation, have resulted in an increased risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Pumqu river basin. Integrated criteria were established to identify potentially dangerous glacial lakes based on a bibliometric analysis method. It is found, in total, 19 glacial lakes were identified as dangerous. Such finding suggests that there is an immediate need to conduct field surveys not only to validate the findings, but also to acquire information for further use in order to assure the welfare of the humans.