The data set integrated glacier inventory data and 668 Landsat TM/ETM+/OLI images, and adopted manual visual interpretation to extract glacial lake boundaries within a 10-km buffer from glacier terminals using ArcGIS and ENVI software, normalized difference water index maps, and Google Earth images. It was established that 27,205 and 30,121 glacial lakes in HMA, with sizes of 0.0054–6.46 km2, covered a combined area of 1806.47 ± 2.11and 2080.12 ± 2.28 km2 in 1990 and 2018, respectively.The current glacial lake inventory provided fundamental data for water resource evaluation, assessment of glacial lake outburst floods and gacier hydrology research in the mountain cryosphere region.

  1. Name of Data High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.Shp High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.shp
  2. Data description of attribute items GLAKE_ID: The coding of glacial Lake GL_Image: Information of source image GL_Type: The type of glacial Lake GL_SubR: The Sbu-region of glacial Lake in the HMA GL_Time: The acquisition date of the original Landsat image GL_Elev: The average elevation of glacial lake (m) GL_Area: The area of glacial lake (m2) GL_Peri: The Perimeter of glacial lake (m) GL_A_Error: The error of glacial lake area (m2) GL_Long: The longitude of center point of the glacial lakes (°) GL_Lati: The latitude of center point of the glacial lakes (°)

Basic infomation


Data source

  1. Landsat Images Download from the websites of the United States Geological Survey (https://www.usgs.gov/) and Geospatial Data Cloud (http://www.gscloud.cn/).
  2. Glacier Inventory Acquired from the Second Chinese Glacier Inventory (http://westdc.westgis.ac.cn) and RGI 5.0 (https://www.glims.org/RGI/rgi50_dl.html).
  3. SRTM Shuttle Radar Topography Mission digital elevation model with spatial resolution of 1″download from the website http://imagico.de/map/demsearch.php.

Data processing method

  1. Pre-processing of Remote Sensing Data: False Colour Compositing of Landsat Image
  2. Extracting the preliminary lake extent: Automatically extracted from each image over the entire HMA area using the NDWI based on the near infrared band (NIR) and green band (GREEN) in ArcMap. formula: NDWI=(B_GREEN-B_NIR)/(B_GREEN+B_NIR ) Reference:Mcfeeters, S. K.: The use of the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) in the delineation of open water features, Int. J. Remote Sens., 17(7), 1425-1432, doi: 10.1080/01431169608948714, 1996.
  3. Manual Vectorization and Entering of Attribute Data Seven groups were formed to conduct lake boundary vectorization of the 13 HMA sub-regions. After vectorization of a glacial lake, it was required that manual attribute items (e.g., data source and lake type) be input concurrently.
  4. Interactive Checking and Accuracy Control (1) Glacial lakes were discerned via human–computer interaction; (2) Glacial lake boundary vectorization results were checked interactively by another vectorization operative; (3) Attribute items such as glacial lake classification, new/disappeared lakes, and separated/coalesced lakes were checked interactively. The Google Earth imagery was used as an important auxiliary reference data source for error examination.

Data quality

Accuracy of Data: (1) The percentage difference of the absolute area encircled by the manually delineated lake boundary and that derived by the GPS survey varied from 5.5–25.5 %. (2) The average accuracy of the delineation of glacial lake boundaries was within ±0.5 pixels (±15 m). (3) The resulting calculated error indicated that the total absolute area error of HMA glacial lakes was approximately ±231.44 and ±259.68 km2 and the average relative error was ±13.8 and ±13.3 % in 1990 and 2018, respectively.

 funding projects
# code title type
1 41771075 Effects of meltwater withheld by glacial lake expansion and its implications for GLOF hazards National Natural Science Foundation of China
2 41571061 Estimation of the mass balance of lake-contacted glaciers National Natural Science Foundation of China
3 41271091 Coupling mechanism of temperature field and structure change in moraine dam and its impacts on the stability of dam National Natural Science Foundation of China
Data reference
In order to protect the rights and interests of the platform's science and technology resources, to expand the service of the platform center, Data user should clearly state the source of resources and the author of the resource in the research results generated by using the data (including the published papers, the works, the data products and other research reports, data products, etc.).

Wang Xin, Guo Xiaoyu, Yang Chengde, Liu Qionghuan, Wei Junfeng, Zhang Yong, Liu Shiyin, Zhang Yanlin, Jiang Zongli, Tang Zhiguang,Glacial lake inventory of High Mountain Asia,National Cryosphere and Desert Scientific Data Center,2019,doi:10.12072/casnw.064.2019.db

# title size
1 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.cpg 5 Bytes
2 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.dbf 10.1 MB
3 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.prj 440 Bytes
4 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.sbn 248.2 kB
5 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.sbx 7.8 kB
6 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.shp 21.8 MB
7 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.shp.xml 164.6 kB
8 High_Asia_glacial_lake_1990.shx 208.8 kB
9 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.cpg 5 Bytes
10 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.dbf 11.2 MB
11 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.prj 440 Bytes
12 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.sbn 271.4 kB
13 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.sbx 8.0 kB
14 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.shp 21.9 MB
15 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.shp.xml 151.2 kB
16 High_Asia_glacial_lake_2018.shx 231.7 kB
17 High_Asia_glacial_lake.rar 32.4 MB
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