Ice thickness measurements of Guliya ice cap, western Kunlun Mountains (Tibetan Plateau), China
Despite their high value and importance for various glaciological applications, detailed ice thickness measurements of alpine glaciers are still very limited. Knowledge of bedrock topography is essential for paleoglaciological studies. The Guliya ice cap located on the Tibetan Plateau is one of the highest and largest ice caps in mid-low latitude regions. A detailed ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey was conducted on the Guliya ice cap in 2015 using 20 and 40 MHz frequency antennas. An empirical Bayesian kriging method was used for ice thickness interpolation and uncertainty assessment. GPR measurements revealed complex basal topography of the Guliya glacier with a maximum thickness of 371.12 ± 13 m. The internal reflections caused by changes in the dielectric properties were registered on the 40 MHz radargrams at the summit and were attributed to density variations. As a result of this fieldwork, one of the largest ice thickness datasets in High Mountain Asia was obtained. Guliya glacier elevation changes were assessed by differencing digital elevation models. The glacier gained mass from 2000 to 2015 with an average rate of 0.270 ± 0.11 m w.e. a at the summit and 0.279 ± 0.11 m w.e. a at the lower elevations.