Caleb Gikai Pan, The University of Montana


Glaciers in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia provide an estimated 10 % of the total water resources within the country. Yet, the number and area of glaciers within the Altai Mountains is inconsistent and conflicting. Glacier mapping attempts by previous author groups did not mention their mapping methods, data source, and/or date of analysis. Therefore, making it difficult to analyze and compare glacier base data. Due to a combination of climate change and land use management practices, the necessity of inventorying glaciers in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia is of great importance. The practice of glacier monitoring using remote sensing data provides the foundation for enlightened water resource management, vulnerability and adaptations to water shortages, climate change assessment, and glacier change detection. Implementing data acquired from Landsat Thematic Mapper, this glacier inventory developed an intuitive, robust, and inexpensive methodology to map glaciers in the Altai Mountains during 1990, 2000, and 2010. Along with the developed methodology, this study also defined a glacier definition, glaciated extents, and date of acquisition to ensure consistency for the future of glacier monitoring in the Altai Mountains. Furthermore, this study parameterized the glacier outlines using SRTM data, including equilibrium line altitude, mean slope, mean glacier terminus elevation, and aspect. Including data acquired from ASTER GDEM, this study found that surface lowering occurred on 82.3 % of all glaciers from between 2000 to 2008. The inventory includes an estimated total surface area of 540.57 km2 in 1990, 428 km2 (±17.20 %) in 2000, and 372.30 km2 (±17.17 %) in 2010. All glacier datasets will be made available to the public free of charge at for further analysis of glaciers in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia.


© Copyright 2013 Caleb Gikai Pan