Lake surface area variations in the North-Eastern sector of Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal) at the end of the 20th Century by comparison of historical maps

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Gianni TARTARI *
Franco SALERNO
Elisa BURASCHI
Gabriele BRUCCOLERI
Claudio SMIRAGLIA
(*) Corresponding Author:
Gianni TARTARI | tartari@irsa.cnr.it

Abstract

The purpose of the present work was to investigate variations in the surface areas of lakes in the north-east sector of Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal) at the end of the 20th century, through comparison of the Mount Everest maps based on a survey done in the early 1980s, and the official Map of Nepal based on a survey done at the beginning of the 1990s. The analysis of the changes occurring between the 1980s and the 1990s in the surface areas and distribution of lakes in the north-east sector of SNP reveals that lake areas substantially increased, by 15.4 (-5.5; +5.7)% (median 12.5%), within hydrographic basins that included a certain amount of glacial cover. In fact, 96% of the lakes whose surface area increased are located in glacial basins. Conversely, the majority of the lakes without glacial cover in their catchment showed a reduction in surface area, and in many cases disappeared (83% of the lakes that disappeared were situated in basins without glaciers). This different behaviour of these two types of lakes, though observed over a short time span, would appear to be consistent with the consequences of temperature increases recorded from the beginning of 1980s on a global and local scale. The digital tool produced (Limnological Information System, LIS) as part of this work is intended to provide a useful platform for extending the analysis to entire area of SNP, as well as for subsequent comparisons based on earlier maps or more recent satellite images.

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