Abstract: Supraglacial debris cover on glaciers undergoes a unique thermal process relative to exposed snow and ice, the spatial distribution of which influences both the rates and spatial patterns of melting. Consequently, the responses of debris-covered glaciers to climate change are more complex compared to those of debris-free glaciers. However, insufficient debris thickness data make it difficult to analyze regional debris-cover effects in the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings. In this study, the thermal resistances of debris layers on the Hailuogou Glacier, located on the eastern slope of Mount Gongga in southeastern Tibetan Plateau, were obtained from visible and near infrared and thermal infrared bands of ASTER images and solar radiation data, which can be used as a proxy for debris thickness over the ablation zone. These data, with a spatial resolution of 90 m, were stored in GeoTIFF format in 32-bit floating point. A comparison between high-resolution in situ measurements of debris thickness on the Hailuogou Glacier and ASTER-derived thermal resistances indicates that ASTER-derived thermal resistances correspond well with the spatial patterns of debris thickness, which can reflect large-scale variations in the extent and thickness of the debris cover. The dataset can be used as forcing data for the development of physically-based debris-cover melt models, and provides data support for systematic assessment of the debris-cover effect on debris-covered glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings.
Keywords: debris-covered glacier; debris cover; thermal resistance; Hailuogou Glacier; ASTER