Glacial Lake Inventory of Bhutan using ALOS (Daichi) Data

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is cordially announcing public release of "Glacial Lake Inventory of Bhutan using the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS, nicknamed "Daichi") Data" (Version 12.03), which is covered the entire country of Bhutan.
In the Himalayan region, there are numerous lakes in the vicinity of glaciers. These glacial lakes impose potential risks for sudden outbursts and consequent floods. This type of flooding event is referred to as a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), which occurs frequently enough in the Himalayan region. With a growing amount of public and scientific concern about hazards, climate change, and water management associated with GLOFs, the "Bhutan GLOF Project" (*1) aims at updating and improving glacial lake inventory for Bhutan using new and high spatial resolution data from ALOS. The motivation for this release is to support the research community and various domestic and international projects.
The inventory is based on images taken between 2006 and 2011 from the two optical instruments, the Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM) and the Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 (AVNIR-2) onboard ALOS. The construction procedure consists of ortho-rectification, geometric correction, pan-sharpening, and digitization to extract water bodies. Glacial lakes included in the inventory are bodies of water that lay between the terminus of the mother glacier and the Little Ice Age moraine. Lakes located within 2 km of the Little Ice Age moraine down-valley are also included to take into account a possible flooding event with multiple lakes being involved. In addition, supraglacial lakes on debris-covered glaciers are included. Finally, we set 0.01 km2 as the minimum lake size considering small lakes contribute a less amount of GLOFs' risk. The parameters included in the inventory are ID, latitude, longitude, area, and some references in addition to a shape file for each lake. In total, 733 glacial lakes are extracted in the Bhutan Himalaya, and total area of the lakes is about 82.5 km2.

Figure 1 shows the pan-sharpened image covering the entire country of Bhutan overlaid the glacial lakes inventory (color polygons) and boundaries of river basin (red lines). Each color of polygons indicates an individual river basin. Figure 2 shows an enlarged image of Fig.1 around upper stream of Mangde Chu basin as example, which is overlaid the inventory (red polygons) and a Map ID.

*1 The project is a collaborative work of Nagoya University, Rikkyo University, Hokkaido University, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED), Hiroshima Institute of Technology, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC), Niigata University, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), Earth System Science Co.,Ltd. (ESS), Hirosaki University, Nihon University, Teikyo Heisei University, Gunma University, Keio University and the Department of Mineral and Geology (DGM) of the Royal Government of Bhutan supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under the "Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development" (SATREPS).

Figure 1: Pan-sharpened mosaic image by PRISM and AVNIR-2 in the Bhutan Himalayas as of July 2011 (R, G, B = Band 3, 2, 1 as true color composite). The red lines show boundaries of river basin and the color dots show extracted glacial lakes in this study.

Figure 2: Enlarged image around upper stream of Mangde Chu basin with glacial lake inventory (red polygons).

Related Link

» Link to "Glacial Lake Inventory of Bhutan using ALOS Data" (evaluation version, Version 11.02).