Mass-balance and dynamic behaviour of Chhota Shigri Glacier have been investigated between
2002 and 2010 and compared to data collected in 1987/1989. During the period 2002/2010, the
glacier experienced a negative glacier-wide mass balance of -0.67 ± 0.40 m/a w.e.
Between 2003 and 2010, elevation and ice flow velocities are slowly decreasing
in the ablation area leading to a 24 to 37% reduction in ice fluxes, an expected response of the
glacier dynamics to its recent negative mass balances. The reduced ice fluxes still remain far
larger than the balance fluxes calculated from the year 2002 to 2010 average surface mass
balances. Therefore, further slow down, thinning and terminus retreat of Chhota Shigri Glacier
are expected over the next years. Conversely, the 2003/2004 ice fluxes are in good agreement
with ice fluxes calculated assuming that the glacier-wide mass balance is zero. Given the limited
velocity change between 1987/1989 and 2003/2004 and the small terminus change between 1988
and 2010, we suggest that the glacier has experienced a period of near zero or slightly positive
mass balance in the 1990s, before shifting to a strong imbalance in the 21st century. This result
challenges the generally accepted idea that glaciers of Western Himalaya have been shrinking
rapidly for the last decades.