In this study, we present a first regional assessment of glacial lake distribution and evolution in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).
Seven sites have been selected between Bhutan and Afghanistan, to capture the climatic variability along the 2000-km long mountain range.
For each site, glacial lakes have been mapped with LANDSAT satellite imagery acquired in 1990, 2000 and 2009, using an automatic classification.
In the East (India, Nepal and Bhutan), glacial lakes are bigger and more numerous than in the West (Pakistan, Afghanistan),
and have grown continuously between 1990 and 2009 by 20% to 65%.
On the other hand, during the same period, the glacial lake coverage has shrunk in the Hindu Kush (-50%) and the Karakorum (-30%).
This east/west pattern of lake changes seems in agreement with sparse glaciological measurements that suggest less (or even no)
ice loss in the western part of the HKH.