Glaciers of the Karakoram Himalaya

Glacial Environments, Processes, Hazards and Resources

  • Kenneth Hewitt

Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 1-35
  3. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 37-60
  4. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 61-86
  5. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 117-141
  6. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 143-162
  7. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 163-185
  8. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 187-218
  9. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 219-244
  10. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 245-265
  11. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 267-289
  12. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 291-326
  13. Kenneth Hewitt
    Pages 327-351
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 353-363

About this book


The Karakoram contains the greatest concentration of glaciers and most of the largest ice masses outside high latitudes. They comprise major stores and sources of fresh water in an otherwise extreme, continental, dry region. As many as 200 million people living downstream, in the valleys of the Indus and Yarkand Rivers, depend on melt waters from snow and ice. They are at risk from climate-change impacts on glaciers and water supply, and from hazards such as glacial lake outburst floods.

Useful research initiatives go back to the nineteenth century, but coverage has generally been limited geographically and has not been continuous over time. It is almost 80 years since a monograph was devoted to the Karakoram glaciers. The book presents a comprehensive overview, including statistics for the ice cover, glacier mass balance and dynamics, glacierized landscapes, rock glaciers, water resources and environmental hazards. Published glaciological and related research is surveyed along with expedition reports and archival materials in several languages. The expanding potential of satellite coverage is exploited, but conditions and processes reported from field investigations are the main focus. Previously unpublished observations by the author are presented, based on some 45 years of work in the region.

Broad understanding of the glacial environment is used to address emerging concerns about the High Asian cryosphere and the fate of its glaciers. These are discussed in relation to the pressing issues of water supply, environmental risk and sustainability. Questions of what is not known help identify much needed monitoring and research.

The book is of interest to researchers, professionals, and those studying glaciers, mountain environments, water resources and environmental hazards. The topics discussed should be of concern for anyone involved in regional development and global change in South and Inner Asia.


GLOFs Inner Asia Karakoram Himalaya Mountain glaciers Water resources anthropology of glaciers melting glaciers surging glaciers

Authors and affiliations

  • Kenneth Hewitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental StudiesWilfrid Laurier University Dept. Geography &WaterlooCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Earth and Environmental Science
  • Print ISBN 978-94-007-6310-4
  • Online ISBN 978-94-007-6311-1
  • Series Print ISSN 1879-7180
  • Series Online ISSN 1879-7199
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Materials & Steel
Energy, Utilities & Environment