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Earth System Science Data The Data Publishing Journal
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
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Review article
08 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript for further review has not been submitted.
Supraglacial debris cover assessment in the Caucasus Mountains, 1986-2000-2014
Levan G. Tielidze1,5, Roger D. Wheate2, Stanislav S. Kutuzov3, Kate Doyle4, and Ivan I. Lavrentiev3 1Department of Geomorphology, Vakhushti Bagrationi Institute of Geography, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Tamarashvili st., Tbilisi, Georgia, 0177
2Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, Canada, V2N 4Z9
3Department of Glaciology, Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 29 Staromonetniy Pereulok, Moscow, Russia 119017
4Institute of Cartography, Technical University of Dresden, 01069, Dresden, Germany
5Department of Earth Sciences, Georgian National Academy of Sciences, 52 Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi, Georgia, 0108
Abstract. Surpaglacial debris cover plays an increasingly important role impacting on glacier ablation, while there have been limited recent studies for the assessment of debris covered glaciers in the Greater Caucasus mountains. We selected 559 glaciers according to the sections and macroslopes in the Greater Caucasus main watershed range and the Elbrus massif to assess supraglacial debris cover (SDC) for the years 1986, 2000 and 2014. Landsat (Landsat 5 TM, Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 8 OLI) and SPOT satellite imagery were analysed to generate glacier outlines using manual and semi-automated methods, along with slope information from a Digital Elevation Model. The study shows there is greater SDC area on the northern than the southern macroslope, and more in the eastern section than the western and central. In 1986-2000-2014, the SDC area increased from 6.4 %-8.2 %-19.4 % on the northern macroslope (apart from the eastern Greater Caucasus section), while on the southern macroslope, SDC increased from 4.0 %-4.9 %-9.2 %. Overall, debris covered glacier numbers increased from 122-143-172 (1986-2000-2014) for 559 selected glaciers. Despite the total glacier area decrease, the SDC glacier area and numbers increased as a function of slope inclination, aspect, glacier morphological type, Little Ice Age (LIA) moraines, rock structure and elevation. The datasets are available for public download at
Citation: Tielidze, L. G., Wheate, R. D., Kutuzov, S. S., Doyle, K., and Lavrentiev, I. I.: Supraglacial debris cover assessment in the Caucasus Mountains, 1986-2000-2014, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Levan G. Tielidze et al.
Levan G. Tielidze et al.


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Latest update: 24 Apr 2018
Short summary
It is true, that research is being conducting in hard conditions in Georgia than other mountain countries of Europe. In addition, there was huge generation gap in glaciology field after the USSR colaps (1990s). But gradually we try to develop glaciology research in Georgia and in the Caucasus, as it is vitally important such a mountain region with > 2000 glaciers.
It is true, that research is being conducting in hard conditions in Georgia than other mountain...