Abstract Glaciers are key indicators for climate change. Mass balance studies form the important link between advances and retreats of glaciers to changes in climate. Mass balance studies were performed in the balance year 2004/05 on Bogerbreen as part of my Master thesis. Bogerbreen is a valley glacier with a size of 3.3 km² located in central Spitsbergen, Svalbard at 78 degrees north and 15 degrees east. The direct glaciological method was applied to measure winter mass balance using sno...
Caidong, Caidong; Sorteberg, Asgeir
Due to a lack of in situ measurements, model-based studies of glacier mass balance in the Tibetan Plateau are very limited. An energy-balance model is applied to analyse the mass-balance sensitivity of Xibu glacier, in the Nyainqêntanglha mountain range, to climatic change. A sensitivity calculation shows that a temperature change of ±1°C or a precipitation change of ±35% changes the equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) by 140±125 m. We use a clustering method to link local weather parameter...
Mark, B. G.; Fernandez, A.
Most tropical glaciers are Peru, where they are key water sources for communities in mountain environments and beyond. Thus, their sustained shrinkage portrays these glaciers as archetype of global warming impacts on the local scale. However, there is still no deep understanding on the mechanism connecting temperature and these glaciers. Among others, the effect of temperature on the glacier surface mass balance (GSMB) can be expressed within accumulation regimes and hence in surface albedo, or in ablation dynamics through incoming longwave energy (LE). Here, we report a study combining statistical analyses of reanalysis data (~30km grid-cell), regional climate modeling and glacier mass balance simulations at high resolution (2km) to analyze long-term (30 years) and seasonal GSMB along north-central Peru. Our goal is to mechanistically understand climate change impact on these glaciers. Results suggest temperature as the main factor controlling GSMB changes through the lapse rate (LR). Correlations of GSMB with LR, humidity and zonal wind point to vertical homogenization of temperature, causing LE to increase, despite this flux always remaining negative. This "less negative" LE multiplies the impact of the seasonal fluctuation in albedo, thereby enhancing total ablation. As this mechanism only needs a relative increase in temperature, it may even occur in subfreezing conditions. Model output also indicates that turbulent fluxes are small, largely cancelling out. This suggests that the impact of LE is more likely to occur compared to either turbulent fluxes changes or shifts in the proportion of sublimation versus melt, which we find to be regionally stable. These findings imply that glaciers in north-central Peru are sensitive to subtle changes in temperature. We discuss the implications for process-based understanding and how this non-linear and somewhat hidden effect of temperature reduces the skill of temperature index models to simulate GSMB in the Tropics.
Mernild, Sebastian H.; Kane, D.L.; Hansen, Birger;
Climate, glacier mass balance and runoff are investigated in the Low-Arctic Mittivakkat Glacier catchment on Ammassalik Island, Southeast Greenland. High-resolution meteorological data from the catchment covering 1993-2005 and standard synoptic meteorological data from the nearby town of Tasiilaq...... (Ammassalik) from 1898-2005 are used. Within the catchment, gradients and variations are observed in meteorological conditions between the coastal and the glacier areas. During the period 1993-2005 about 15% lower annual solar radiation was observed in the coastal area. Further, decreasing mean annual air...... temperatures (MAAT) occur in the coastal area, indicating an approximately 20-d shorter thawing period. The higher lying glacier area, in contrast, experiences an increasing MAAT, an approximately 40-d longer thawing period and a 60-d longer snow-free period. The Mittivakkat Glacier net mass balance has been...
Larsen Chris F; Burgess, E; Arendt, A.A.; O'Neel, Shad; Johnson, A.J.; Kienholz, C.
Mountain glaciers comprise a small and widely distributed fraction of the world's terrestrial ice, yet their rapid losses presently drive a large percentage of the cryosphere's contribution to sea level rise. Regional mass balance assessments are challenging over large glacier populations due to remote and rugged geography, variable response of individual glaciers to climate change, and episodic calving losses from tidewater glaciers. In Alaska, we use airborne altimetry from 116 glaciers to estimate a regional mass balance of −75 ± 11 Gt yr−1 (1994–2013). Our glacier sample is spatially well distributed, yet pervasive variability in mass balances obscures geospatial and climatic relationships. However, for the first time, these data allow the partitioning of regional mass balance by glacier type. We find that tidewater glaciers are losing mass at substantially slower rates than other glaciers in Alaska and collectively contribute to only 6% of the regional mass loss.
M. H. Masiokas
Full Text Available Despite the great number and variety of glaciers in southern South America, in situ glacier mass balance records are extremely scarce and glacier–climate relationships are still poorly understood in this region. Here we use the longest (> 35 years and most complete in situ mass balance record, available for glaciar Echaurren Norte in the Andes at ~34° S, to develop a minimal glacier surface mass balance model that relies on nearby monthly precipitation and air temperature data as forcing. This basic model is able to explain 78 % of the variance in the annual glacier mass balance record over the 1978–2013 calibration period. An attribution assessment indicates that precipitation variability constitutes the most important forcing modulating annual glacier mass balances at this site. A regionally-averaged series of mean annual streamflow records from both sides of the Andes is then used to estimate, through simple linear regression, this glacier's annual mass balance variations since 1909. The reconstruction model captures 68 % of the observed glacier mass balance variability and shows three periods of sustained positive mass balances embedded in an overall negative trend totaling almost −42 m w.eq. over the past 105 years. The three periods of sustained positive mass balances (centered in the 1920s–1930s, in the 1980s and in the first decade of the 21st century coincide with several documented glacier advances in this region. Similar trends observed in other shorter glacier mass balance series suggest the glaciar Echaurren Norte reconstruction is representative of larger-scale conditions and could be useful for more detailed glaciological, hydrological and climatological assessments in this portion of the Andes.
Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Fujita, K.; Takenaka, S.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.
Among meteorological elements, precipitation has a large spatial variability and less observation, particularly in high-mountain Asia, although precipitation in mountains is an important parameter for hydrological circulation. We estimated precipitation contributing to glacier mass at the median elevation of glaciers, which is presumed to be at equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) such that mass balance is zero at that elevation, by tuning adjustment parameters of precipitation. We also made comparisons between the median elevation of glaciers, including the effect of drifting snow and avalanche, and eliminated those local effects. Then, we could obtain the median elevation of glaciers depending only on climate to estimate glacier surface precipitation. The calculated precipitation contributing to glacier mass can elucidate that glaciers in arid high-mountain Asia receive less precipitation, while much precipitation makes a greater contribution to glacier mass in the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas, and the Hengduan Shan due to not only direct precipitation amount but also avalanche nourishment. We classified glaciers in high-mountain Asia into summer-accumulation type and winter-accumulation type using the summer-accumulation ratio and confirmed that summer-accumulation-type glaciers have a higher sensitivity than winter-accumulation-type glaciers.
Rowan, Ann V.; Egholm, David L.; Quincey, Duncan J.; Glasser, Neil F.
Many Himalayan glaciers are characterised in their lower reaches by a rock debris layer. This debris insulates the glacier surface from atmospheric warming and complicates the response to climate change compared to glaciers with clean-ice surfaces. Debris-covered glaciers can persist well below the altitude that would be sustainable for clean-ice glaciers, resulting in much longer timescales of mass loss and meltwater production. The properties and evolution of supraglacial debris present a considerable challenge to understanding future glacier change. Existing approaches to predicting variations in glacier volume and meltwater production rely on numerical models that represent the processes governing glaciers with clean-ice surfaces, and yield conflicting results. We developed a numerical model that couples the flow of ice and debris and includes important feedbacks between debris accumulation and glacier mass balance. To investigate the impact of debris transport on the response of a glacier to recent and future climate change, we applied this model to a large debris-covered Himalayan glacier-Khumbu Glacier in Nepal. Our results demonstrate that supraglacial debris prolongs the response of the glacier to warming and causes lowering of the glacier surface in situ, concealing the magnitude of mass loss when compared with estimates based on glacierised area. Since the Little Ice Age, Khumbu Glacier has lost 34% of its volume while its area has reduced by only 6%. We predict a decrease in glacier volume of 8-10% by AD2100, accompanied by dynamic and physical detachment of the debris-covered tongue from the active glacier within the next 150 yr. This detachment will accelerate rates of glacier decay, and similar changes are likely for other debris-covered glaciers in the Himalaya.
This report is a result of a master thesis project. The project was launched to get more information of the factors affecting the mass balance of small glaciers in Northern Iceland. Observations on the glaciers were analysed in comparison with previous estimations of mass balance (Eythorsson and Sigtryggsson, 1971), a degree-day mass-balance model (MBT) and an atmospheric model MM5 (National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) / Pennsylvania State University).
K. S. Aas
Full Text Available In this study we simulate the climatic mass balance of Svalbard glaciers with a coupled atmosphere-glacier model with 3 km grid spacing, from September 2003 to September 2013. We find a mean specific net mass balance of −167 mm w.e. yr−1, corresponding to a mean annual mass loss of about 5.7 Gt, with large interannual variability. Our results are compared with a comprehensive set of mass balance, meteorological and satellite measurements. Model temperature biases of 0.17 and −1.9 °C are found at two glacier automatic weather station sites. Simulated climatic mass balance is mostly within about 0.1 m w.e. yr−1 of stake measurements, and simulated winter accumulation at the Austfonna ice cap shows mean absolute errors of 0.05 and 0.06 m w.e. yr−1 when compared to radar-derived values for the selected years 2004 and 2006. Comparison of surface height changes from 2003 to 2008 from model, and satellite altimetry reveals good agreement in both mean values and regional differences. The largest deviations from observations are found for winter accumulation at Hansbreen (up to around 1 m w.e. yr−1, a site where sub-grid topography and wind redistribution of snow are important factors. Comparison with simulations using a 9 km grid spacing reveal considerable differences on regional and local scales. In addition, the 3 km grid spacing allows for a much more detailed comparison with observations than what is possible with a 9 km grid spacing. Further decreasing the grid spacing to 1 km appears to be less significant, although in general precipitation amounts increase with resolution. Altogether, the model compares well with observations and offers possibilities for studying glacier climatic mass balance on Svalbard both historically as well as based on climate projections.
Zemp, M.; E. Thibert; Huss, M.; Stumm, D.; Rolstad Denby, C.; Nuth, C.; S. U. Nussbaumer; G. Moholdt; A. Mercer; Mayer, C.; Joerg, P. C.; P. Jansson; B. Hynek; Fischer, A.; Escher-Vetter, H.
Glacier-wide mass balance has been measured for more than sixty years and is widely used as an indicator of climate change and to assess the glacier contribution to runoff and sea level rise. Until recently, comprehensive uncertainty assessments have rarely been carried out and mass balance data have often been applied using rough error estimation or without consideration of errors. In this study, we propose a framework for reanalysing glacier mass balance series that includes conceptual and ...
Visnjevic, Vjeran; Herman, Frédéric; Licul, Aleksandar
With the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), about 20 000 years ago, ended the most recent long-lasting cold phase in Earth's history. We recently developed a model that describes large-scale erosion and its response to climate and dynamical changes with the application to the Alps for the LGM period. Here we will present an inverse approach we have recently developed to infer the LGM mass balance from known ice extent data, focusing on a glacier or ice cap. The ice flow model is developed using the shallow ice approximation and the developed codes are accelerated using GPUs capabilities. The mass balance field is the constrained variable defined by the balance rate β and the equilibrium line altitude (ELA), where c is the cutoff value: b = max(βṡ(S(z) - ELA), c) We show that such a mass balance can be constrained from the observed past ice extent and ice thickness. We are also investigating several different geostatistical methods to constrain spatially variable mass balance, and derive uncertainties on each of the mass balance parameters.
Raper, S.C.B.; R. J. Braithwaite
Glacier volume response time is a measure of the time taken for a glacier to adjust its geometry to a climate change. It has been previously proposed that the volume response time is given approximately by the ratio of glacier thickness to ablation at the glacier terminus. We propose a new conceptual model of glacier hypsometry (area-altitude relation) and derive the volume response time where climatic and topographic parameters are separated. The former is expressed by mass balance gradients...
M. R. G. Sayyed
Full Text Available Glaciers are one of the important components of local, regional and continental water resource and are also key indicators of climate change. Glaciers provide a wealth of information about how climatic components of the earth have changed in the past. Changes in weather condition year after year cause variations in the amount of snow deposited on the glacier and in the amount of ice lost by melting of glacier. Interest in worldwide monitoring of glaciers has grown as rapid glacier recessions in many regions of the world have been evidenced. This further recognized need for a comprehensive assessment of the world's glaciers in driving efforts to devise and refine methods of extracting glacier information from satellite data. Due to adverse weather conditions, limited time is available in summer for detailed glacier studies. Remote sensing is of immense value as a mapping tool for measuring the spatial extent, mass balance and variations in the terminus of the glacier. Present study was carried out for Kolohai glacier of Lidder valley concentrated near Kolohai Mountain. This study is an attempt to reconstruct glacier fluctuations in response to climate changes through time series. A series of multidate imageries since 1992 to 2006 was used for mapping the changes in geometry and dynamics of glacier. Topographic maps, Landsat ETM, LISS-III imageries and high resolution DEM were used to conduct this study. The core of the methodology is to calculate the changes in areal extent and ELA variations of the glacier over the referenced time period and to determine the AAR of glacier. This was done by manual delineation, segment ratio of images to delineate changes. The study revealed that the Kolohai Glacier shows recession in terms of spatial extent, and variations in the terminus of the glacier in response to climate change.
Zemp, M.; E. Thibert; Huss, M.; Stumm, D.; Rolstad Denby, C.; Nuth, C.; S. U. Nussbaumer; G. Moholdt; A. Mercer; Mayer, C.; Joerg, P. C.; P. Jansson; B. Hynek; Fischer, A.; Escher-Vetter, H.
Glacier-wide mass balance has been measured for more than sixty years and is widely used as an indicator of climate change and to assess the glacier contribution to runoff and sea level rise. Until present, comprehensive uncertainty assessments have rarely been carried out and mass balance data have often been applied using rough error estimation or without error considerations. In this study, we propose a framework for re-analyzing glacier mass balance series including conceptual and ...
Machguth, Horst; Paul, Frank; Kotlarski, Sven; Hoelzle, Martin
This study aims at giving a methodical description of the use of gridded output from a regional climate model (RCM) for the calculation of glacier mass balance distribution for the perimeter of the Swiss Alps. The mass balance model runs at daily steps and 100 m spatial resolution, while the regional model (REMO) RCM provides daily grids (∼18 km resolution) of dynamically downscaled reanalysis data. A combination of interpolation techniques and simple subgrid parameterizations is applied to b...
H. Machguth; F. Paul; S. Kotlarski; M. Hoelzle
This study aims at giving a methodical description of the use of gridded output from a regional climate model (RCM) for the calculation of glacier mass balance distribution for the perimeter of the Swiss Alps. The mass balance model runs at daily steps and 100 m spatial resolution, while the regional model (REMO) RCM provides daily grids (∼18 km resolution) of dynamically downscaled reanalysis data. A combination of interpolation techniques and simple subgrid parameterizations is applied to b...
Glaciers are widely recognized as unique demonstration objects for climate change impacts, mostly due to the strong change of glacier length in response to small climatic changes. However, glacier mass balance as the direct response to the annual atmospheric conditions can be better interpreted in meteorological terms. When the climatic signal is deduced from long-term mass balance data, changes in glacier geometry (i.e. surface extent and elevation) must be considered as such adjustments ...
S. C. B. Raper
Full Text Available Glacier volume response time is a measure of the time taken for a glacier to adjust its geometry to a climate change. It is currently believed that the volume response time is given approximately by the ratio of glacier thickness to ablation at the glacier terminus. We propose a new conceptual model of glacier hypsometry (area-altitude relation and derive the volume response time where climatic and topographic parameters are separated. The former is expressed by mass balance gradients which we derive from glacier-climate modelling and the latter are quantified with data from the World Glacier Inventory. Aside from the well-known scaling relation between glacier volume and area, we establish a new scaling relation between glacier altitude range and area, and evaluate it for seven regions. The presence of this scaling parameter in our response time formula accounts for the mass balance elevation feedback and leads to longer response times than given by the simple ratio of glacier thickness to ablation. Volume response times range from decades to thousands of years for glaciers in maritime (wet-warm and continental (dry-cold climates, respectively. The combined effect of volume-area and altitude-area scaling relations is such that volume response time can increase with glacier area (Axel Heiberg Island and Svalbard, hardly change (Northern Scandinavia, Southern Norway and the Alps or even get smaller (The Caucasus and New Zealand.
Klok, Elisabeth Jantina
The research described in this thesis addresses two aspects of the response of glaciers to climate change. The first aspect deals with the physical processes that govern the interaction between glaciers and climate change and was treated by (1) studying the spatial and temporal variation of the glac
Strigaro, Daniele; Moretti, Massimiliano; Mattavelli, Matteo; Frigerio, Ivan; Amicis, Mattia De; Maggi, Valter
The aim of this work is to integrate the Minimal Glacier Model in a Geographic Information System Python module in order to obtain spatial simulations of glacier retreat and to assess the future scenarios with a spatial representation. The Minimal Glacier Models are a simple yet effective way of estimating glacier response to climate fluctuations. This module can be useful for the scientific and glaciological community in order to evaluate glacier behavior, driven by climate forcing. The module, called r.glacio.model, is developed in a GRASS GIS (GRASS Development Team, 2016) environment using Python programming language combined with different libraries as GDAL, OGR, CSV, math, etc. The module is applied and validated on the Rutor glacier, a glacier in the south-western region of the Italian Alps. This glacier is very large in size and features rather regular and lively dynamics. The simulation is calibrated by reconstructing the 3-dimensional dynamics flow line and analyzing the difference between the simulated flow line length variations and the observed glacier fronts coming from ortophotos and DEMs. These simulations are driven by the past mass balance record. Afterwards, the future assessment is estimated by using climatic drivers provided by a set of General Circulation Models participating in the Climate Model Inter-comparison Project 5 effort. The approach devised in r.glacio.model can be applied to most alpine glaciers to obtain a first-order spatial representation of glacier behavior under climate change.
A physically-based one dimensional CROCUS snow model was applied to simulate the surface mass balances of Ålfotbreen (1964-2009) and Nigardsbreen (1962-2009) in southern Norway. The required hourly meteorological input data (9 parameters) are obtained from daily data of meteorological observation from stations surrounding the glaciers combined with NCEP 6 hourly reanalysis data to get the diurnal cycle. The results of simulations show that the model was able to simulate the mass balance of Ål...
Mandal, Arindan; Ramanathan, Alagappan; Farooq Azam, Mohd; Wagnon, Patrick; Vincent, Christian; Linda, Anurag; Sharma, Parmanand; Angchuk, Thupstan; Bahadur Singh, Virendra; Pottakkal, Jose George; Kumar, Naveen; Soheb, Mohd
Several studies on Himalayan glaciers have been recently initiated as they are of particular interest in terms of future water supply, regional climate change and sea-level rise. In 2002, a long-term monitoring program was initiated on Chhota Shigri Glacier (15.7 square km, 9 km long, 6263-4050 m a.s.l.) located in Lahaul and Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. This glacier lies in the monsoon-arid transition zone (western Himalaya) and is a representative glacier in Lahaul and Spiti Valley. While annual mass balances have been measured continuously since 2002 using the glaciological method, seasonal scale observations began in 2009. The annual and seasonal mass balances were then analyzed along with meteorological conditions in order to understand the role of winter and summer balances on annual glacier-wide mass balance of Chhota Shigri glacier. During the period 2002-2013, the glacier experienced a negative glacier-wide mass balance of -0.59±0.40 m w.e. a-1 with a cumulative glaciological mass balance of -6.45 m w.e. Annual glacier-wide mass balances were negative except for four years (2004/05, 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11) where it was generally close to balanced conditions. Equilibrium line altitude (ELA) for steady state condition is calculated as 4950 m a.s.l. corresponding to an accumulation area ratio (AAR) of 62% using annual glacier-wide mass balance, ELA and AAR data between 2002 and 2013. The winter glacier-wide mass balance between 2009 and 2013 ranges from a maximum value of 1.38 m w.e. in 2009/10 to a minimum value of 0.89 in 2012/13 year whereas the summer glacier-wide mass balance varies from the highest value of -0.95 m w.e. in 2010/11 to the lowest value of -1.72 m w.e. in 2011/12 year. The mean vertical mass balance gradient between 2002 and 2013 was 0.66 m w.e. (100 m)-1 quite similar to Alps, Nepalese Himalayas etc. Over debris covered area, the gradients are highly variable with a negative mean value of -2.15 m w.e. (100 m)-1 over 2002
Large-scale atmosphere/ocean circulation and mountain glaciers represent two entirely different scales in the climate system. Therefore, statistical linkages between the two mask a cascade of processes that act on different temporal and spatial dimensions. Low-latitude glaciers are particularly well suited for studying such processes, since these glaciers are situated in the "heart" of the global climate system (the tropics). This presentation gives an overview of a decade of research on tropical climate and glaciers on Kilimanjaro (East Africa), which is, to our knowledge, the only case where space/time linkages between high-altitude glaciers and climate dynamics have been investigated systematically throughout the main scales. This includes the complex modification of atmospheric flow when air masses impinge on high mountains, an aspect that has been widely neglected from a cryospheric viewpoint. The case of Kilimanjaro demonstrates (1) the great potential of learning about climate system processes and their connections, (2) advances in our understanding of the importance of moisture for glaciers that lie far above the mean freezing level, and (3) methodological advances in combining atmospheric and cryospheric modelling.
Rupper, S.; Maurer, J.; Schaefer, J. M.; Cook, E. R.; Putnam, A. E.; Krusic, P.; Smith, R. G.
Glaciers are particularly sensitive to climate change, making them vulnerable elements of the environment. Of potential concern for societies is the rapid glacier retreat of Himalayan glaciers. However, the temporally short and spatially sparse instrumental records of climate, and arguably shorter and sparser glacier records, make it extremely difficult to quantify glacier sensitivity to climatic change or to place recent glacier changes into a longer, historical context. Here we address many of these issues by quantifying the glacier-climate sensitivity in the Bhutanese Himalaya over the past 800 years using a combination of remote sensing data, paleoclimate data, glacier modeling, and glacial geochronology. Bhutan is chosen for two key reasons. First, Bhutan exemplifies an area where little data on glacier changes are available and where it is logistically difficult to obtain field-based studies, a common problem for many regions of the Himalayas. Thus the methods developed here will be directly applicable to other regions. Second, glaciers in Bhutan, just as neighboring glaciers in India, Nepal, and Southwest China, sit in the bulls-eye of high snow accumulation glaciers. Sensitivity tests using a surface energy- and mass-balance model show that high accumulation regions are extremely temperature-sensitive. Therefore, Bhutan's glaciers form a highly suitable natural laboratory to investigate glacier sensitivity and response to temperature change in the monsoonal Himalaya. In this study, we map Bhutan glacierized area and volume changes over the past forty years, and show significant changes and rapid retreat of these glaciers over this period of time. In addition, we map the former glacier extents for key glacierized regions of Bhutan, and produce a 10Be chronology for glacier fluctuations for one region. Finally, we model the glacierized changes over the past 800 years using Bhutan tree-ring temperature reconstructions as climate input. Our results show that
Fagre, D. B.
Mountain glaciers continue to retreat rapidly over most of the globe. In North America, at Glacier National Park, Montana, recent research results from Sperry Glacier (2005-2007) indicate negative mass balances are now 3-4 times greater than in the 1950s. A geospatial model of glacier retreat in the Blackfoot-Jackson basin suggested all glaciers would be gone by 2030 but has proved too conservative. Accelerated glacier shrinkage since the model was developed has mirrored an increase in actual annual temperature that is almost twice the rate used in the model. The glaciers in Glacier National Park are likely to be gone well before 2030. A variety of media, curricula, and educational strategies have been employed to communicate the disappearance of the glaciers as a consequence of global warming. These have included everything from print media and television coverage to podcasts and wayside exhibits along roads in the park. However, a new thrust is to partner with artists to communicate climate change issues to new audiences and through different channels. A scientist-artist retreat was convened to explore the tension between keeping artistic products grounded in factually-based reality while providing for freedom to express artistic creativity. Individual artists and scientists have worked to create aesthetic and emotional images, using painting, poetry, music and photography, to convey core messages from research on mountain ecosystems. Finally, a traveling art exhibit was developed to highlight the photography that systematically documents glacier change through time. The aim was to select photographs that provide the most compelling visual experience for an art-oriented viewer and also accurately reflect the research on glacier retreat. The exhibit opens on January 11, 2009
Prinz, Rainer; Nicholson, Lindsey; Gurgiser, Wolfgang; Mölg, Thomas; Kaser, Georg
Glaciers in the tropics can provide information about regional climate, its dynamics, and its evolution over decadal and centennial time scales, if their interaction with the atmosphere is understood, and their changes are documented or reconstructed. The glaciers on Mount Kenya capture a climate signal from the mid troposphere at about 5 km a.s.l., where our knowledge of climate change is scarce and controversial. We use in-situ meteorological and glaciological observations to optimize and validate a physically-based, process-orientated energy and mass balance model to quantify the exchange processes between the glacier surface and the atmosphere above and to explore the sensitivity of energy and mass exchanges to changing climatic conditions. Currently the glacier loses mass due to the imbalance between insufficient accumulation and enhanced melt, because radiative energy gains cannot be compensated by turbulent energy sinks. Exchanging model input data with synthetic climate scenarios, which were sampled from the meteorological measurements and account for coupled climatic variable perturbations, reveal that the current mass balance is most sensitive to changes in atmospheric moisture (via its impact on solid precipitation, cloudiness and surface albedo). Scenarios with lower air temperatures are drier and associated with lower accumulation and increased net radiation due to reduced cloudiness and albedo. Hence, similar to the glaciers of nearby Kilimanjaro, the recession of Lewis Glacier is not because of increased air temperatures, but because of decreased atmospheric moisture. If the climate scenarios currently producing positive mass balances are applied to Lewis Glacier's late 19th century maximum extent (L19), negative mass balances are the result, meaning that the conditions required sustaining the glacier in its L19 extent are not reflected in today's climate observations. Alternatively, a balanced mass budget for the L19 extent can be explained by
Prinz, R.; Nicholson, L. I.; Mölg, T.; Gurgiser, W.; Kaser, G.
The Lewis Glacier on Mt. Kenya is one of the best studied tropical glaciers and has experienced considerable retreat since a maximum extent in the late 19th century (L19). From distributed mass and energy balance modelling, this study evaluates the current sensitivity of the surface mass and energy balance to climatic drivers, explores climate conditions under which the L19 maximum extent might have been sustained, and discusses the potential for using the glacier retreat to quantify climate change. Multi-year meteorological measurements at 4828 m provide data for input, optimization, and evaluation of a spatially distributed glacier mass balance model to quantify the exchanges of energy and mass at the glacier-atmosphere interface. Currently the glacier loses mass due to the imbalance between insufficient accumulation and enhanced melt, because radiative energy gains cannot be compensated by turbulent energy sinks. Exchanging model input data with synthetic climate scenarios, which were sampled from the meteorological measurements and account for coupled climatic variable perturbations, reveals that the current mass balance is most sensitive to changes in atmospheric moisture (via its impact on solid precipitation, cloudiness, and surface albedo). Positive mass balances result from scenarios with an increase of annual (seasonal) accumulation of 30 % (100 %), compared to values observed today, without significant changes in air temperature required. Scenarios with lower air temperatures are drier and associated with lower accumulation and increased net radiation due to reduced cloudiness and albedo. If the scenarios currently producing positive mass balances are applied to the L19 extent, negative mass balances are the result, meaning that the conditions required to sustain the glacier in its L19 extent are not reflected in today's meteorological observations using model parameters optimized for the present-day glacier. Alternatively, a balanced mass budget for the
Fujita, K.; Takeuchi, N.; S.A. Nikitin; A. B. Surazakov; Okamoto, S; V. B. Aizen; Kubota, J.
We conducted 2 yr (2005–2007) of in situ meteorological and glaciological observations on the Gregoriev Glacier, a flat-top glacier within the Inner Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan. Differential GPS surveys reveal a vertical surface deletion at the summit of the glacier. Based on snow density data and an energy-mass balance model, we estimate that the annual precipitation and summer mean temperature required to maintain the glacier in the modern state are 289 mm and −3.85 °C at the gl...
Pelto, M. S.
The North Cascade Glacier Climate Project (NCGCP) was founded in 1983 to monitor 10 glaciers throughout the range and identify their response to climate change. The annual observations include mass balance, terminus behavior, glacier surface area and accumulation area ratio (AAR). Annual mass balance (Ba) measurements have been continued on the 8 original glaciers that still exist. Two glaciers have disappeared: the Lewis Glacier and Spider Glacier. In 1990, Easton Glacier and Sholes Glacier were added to the annual balance program to offset the loss. One other glacier Foss Glacier has declined to the extent that continued measurement will likely not be possible. Here we examine the 30 year long Ba time series from this project. All of the data have been reported to the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). This comparatively long record from glaciers in one region conducted by the same research program using the same methods offers some useful comparative data. Degree day factors for melt of 4.3 mm w.e.°C-1d-1 for snow and 6.6 mm w.e.°C-1d-1 for ice has been determined from 412 days of ablation observation. The variation in the AAR for equilibrium Ba is small ranging from 60 to 67. The mean annual balance of the glaciers from 1984-2013 is -0.45 ma-1, ranging from -0.31 to -0.57 ma-1 for individual glacier's. The correlation coefficient of Ba is above 0.80 between all glaciers including the USGS benchmark glacier, South Cascade Glacier. This indicates that the response is to regional climate change, not local factors. The mean annual balance of -0.45 ma-1 is close to the WGMS global average for this period -0.50 ma-1. The cumulative loss of 13.5 m w.e. and 15 m of ice thickness represents more than 20% of the volume of the glaciers.
Baral, Prashant; Kayastha, Rijan B.; Immerzeel, Walter W.; Pradhananga, Niraj S.; Bhattarai, Bikas C.; Shahi, Sonika; Galos, Stephan; Springer, Claudia; Joshi, Sharad P.; Mool, Pradeep K.
Monitoring the glacier mass balance of summer-accumulation-type Himalayan glaciers is critical to not only assess the impact of climate change on the volume of such glaciers but also predict the downstream water availability and the global sea-level change in future. To better understand the change in meteorological parameters related to glacier mass balance and runoff in a glacierized basin and to assess the highly heterogeneous glacier responses to climate change in the Nepal Himalaya and n...
Full Text Available We conducted 2 yr (2005–2007 of in situ meteorological and glaciological observations on the Gregoriev Glacier, a flat-top glacier within the Inner Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan. Differential GPS surveys reveal a vertical surface deletion at the summit of the glacier. Based on snow density data and an energy-mass balance model, we estimate that the annual precipitation and summer mean temperature required to maintain the glacier in the modern state are 289 mm and −3.85 °C at the glacier summit (4600 m above sea level, a.s.l., respectively. The good agreement between the long-term estimated and observed precipitation at a nearby station in the Tien Shan (292 mm at 3614 m a.s.l. for the period 1930–2002 suggests that the glacier dynamics have been regulated by the long-term average accumulation. The glacier mass-balance, reconstructed based on meteorological data from the Tien Shan station for the past 80 yr, explains the observed fluctuations in glacier extent, particularly the negative mass balance in the 1990s.
B. Marzeion; Leclercq, P.W.; Cogley, J. G.; A. H. Jarosch
Recent estimates of the contribution of glaciers to sea-level rise during the 20th century are strongly divergent. Advances in data availability have allowed revisions of some of these published estimates. Here we show that outside of Antarctica, the global estimates of glacier mass change obtained from glacier-length-based reconstructions and from a glacier model driven by gridded climate observations are now consistent with each other, and also with an estimate for the yea...
YANG Wei; YAO TanDong; XU BaiQing; WU GuangJian; MA LingLong; XIN XiaoDong
The maritime glaciers are sensitive to climate change because of high annual precipitation and high air temperature in the region.A combined comprehensive study was carried out based on glacier mass balance observation,GPS-based glacier terminus position survey,glacier Ground Penetrating Radar,topography maps and RS satellite images in the Kangri Karpo Mountains,Southeast Tibet.The study revealed a strong ice mass loss and quick glacier retreat since the 1970s.Ata Glacier,one glacier from the south slope of the Kangri Karpo Mountains,has formed a 6-km-long terminal moraine zone at the end of the glacier since the 1970s,and the accelerating retreat is largely due to the strong glacier sur-face melting.Mass balance study on the other four glaciers on the northern side of the Kangri Karpo Mountains shows that they are in large negative mass balance and the glaciers had retreated 15-19 m from May 2006 to May 2007.The in-situ glacier observation also shows that the glacier retreat is more obvious in small glaciers.The enhanced ice mass deficit caused by climate warming and the ongoing extinction of many small glaciers in this region could seriously affect the water resources,environ-ments,local climate and regional sustainable development in the near future.
Bayr, Klaus J.
An analysis of LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) data of the Pasterze Glacier and the Kleines Fleisskees in the Austrian Alps was undertaken and compared with meteorological data of nearby weather stations. Alpine or valley glaciers can be used to study regional and worldwide climate changes. Alpine glaciers respond relatively fast to a warming or cooling trend in temperature through an advance or a retreat of the terminus. In addition, the mass balance of the glacier is being affected. Last year two TM scenes of the Pasterze Glacier of Aug. 1984 and Aug. 1986 were used to study the difference in reflectance. This year, in addition to the scenes from last year, one MSS scene of Aug. 1976 and a TM scene from 1988 were examined for both the Pasterze Glacier and the Kleines Fleisskees. During the overpass of the LANDSAT on 6 Aug. 1988 ground truthing on the Pasterze Glacier was undertaken. The results indicate that there was considerable more reflectance in 1976 and 1984 than in 1986 and 1988. The climatological data of the weather stations Sonnblick and Rudolfshuette were examined and compared with the results found through the LANDSAT data. There were relations between the meteorological and LANDSAT data: the average temperature over the last 100 years showed an increase of .4 C, the snowfall was declining during the same time period but the overall precipitation did not reveal any significant change over the same period. With the use of an interactive image analysis computer, the LANDSAT scenes were studied. The terminus of the Pasterze Glacier retreated 348 m and the terminus of the Kleines Fleisskees 121 m since 1965. This approach using LANDSAT MSS and TM digital data in conjunction with meteorological data can be effectively used to monitor regional and worldwide climate changes.
Yasunari, Teppei J.
The subject of climate change in the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and Himalayas has taken on increasing importance because of the availability of water resources from their mountain glaciers (Immerzeel et al 2010). Many of the glaciers over these regions have been retreating, while some are advancing and stable (Yao et al 2004, Scherler et al 2011). Other studies report that some glaciers in the Himalayas show acceleration of their shrinkage (e.g., Fujita and Nuimura 2011). However, the causes of glacier melting are still difficult to grasp because of the complexity of climatic change and its influence on glacier issues. Despite this, it is vital that we pursue further study to enable future predictions of glacier changes. The paper entitled 'Climate and glacier change in southwestern China during the past several decades' by Li et al (2011) provided carefully analyzed, quality controlled, long-term data on atmospheric temperature and precipitation during the period 1961-2008. The data were obtained from 111 Chinese stations. The researchers performed systematic analyses of temperature and precipitation over the whole southwestern Chinese domain. They discussed those changes in terms of other meteorological components such as atmospheric circulation patterns, radiation and altitude difference, and then showed how these factors could contribute to climate and glacier changes in the region. Air temperature and precipitation are strongly associated with glacier mass balance because of heat balance and the addition of mass when it snows. Temperature warming trends over many places in southwestern China were unequivocally dominant in all seasons and at higher altitudes. This indicates that the heat contribution to the glaciers has been increasing. On the other hand, precipitation has a wider variability in time and space. It is more difficult to clearly understand the effect of precipitation on the climate and glacier melting characteristics in the whole of southwestern China
Yasunari, Teppei J.
The subject of climate change in the areas of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and the Himalayas has taken on increasing importance because of available water resources from their mountain glaciers. Many of these glaciers over the region have been retreating, while some are advancing and stable. Other studies report that some glaciers in the Himalayas show acceleration on their shrinkage. However, the causes of the glacier meltings are still difficult to grasp because of the complexity of climatic change and its influence on glacier issues. However, it is vital that we pursue further study to enable the future prediction on glacier changes.
Full Text Available The Lewis Glacier on Mt Kenya is one of the best studied tropical glaciers and has experienced considerable retreat since a maximum extent in the late 19th century (L19. From distributed mass and energy balance modelling, this study evaluates the current sensitivity of the surface mass and energy balance to climatic drivers, explores climate conditions under which the L19 maximum extent might have sustained, and discusses the potential for using the glacier retreat to quantify climate change. Multiyear meteorological measurements at 4828 m provide data for input, optimization and evaluation of a spatially distributed glacier mass balance model to quantify the exchanges of energy and mass at the glacier–atmosphere interface. Currently the glacier loses mass due to the imbalance between insufficient accumulation and enhanced melt, because radiative energy gains cannot be compensated by turbulent energy sinks. Exchanging model input data with synthetic climate scenarios, which were sampled from the meteorological measurements and account for coupled climatic variable perturbations, reveal that the current mass balance is most sensitive to changes in atmospheric moisture (via its impact on solid precipitation, cloudiness and surface albedo. Positive mass balances result from scenarios with an increase of annual (seasonal accumulation of 30 % (100 %, compared to values observed today, without significant changes in air temperature required. Scenarios with lower air temperatures are drier and associated with lower accumulation and increased net radiation due to reduced cloudiness and albedo. If the scenarios currently producing positive mass balances are applied to the L19 extent, negative mass balances are the result, meaning that the conditions required to sustain the glacier in its L19 extent are not reflected in today's observations. Alternatively, a balanced mass budget for the L19 extent can be explained by changing model parameters that imply
Rupper, S.; Maurer, J. M.; Schaefer, J. M.; Tsering, K.; Rinzin, T.; Dorji, C.; Johnson, E. S.; Cook, E. R.
The rapid retreat of many glaciers in the monsoonal Himalaya is of potential societal concern. However, the retreat pattern in the region has been very heterogeneous, likely due in part to the inherent heterogeneity of climate and glaciers within the region. Assessing the impacts of glacier change on water resources, hydroelectric power, and hazard potential requires a detailed understanding of this potentially complex spatial pattern of glacier sensitivity to climate change. Here we quantify glacier surface-mass balance and meltwater flux across the entire glacierized region of the Bhutanese watershed using a full surface-energy and -mass balance model validated with field data. We then test the sensitivity of the glaciers to climatic change and compare the results to a thirty-year record of glacier volume changes. Bhutan is chosen because it (1) sits in the bulls-eye of the monsoon, (2) has >600 glaciers that exhibit the extreme glacier heterogeneity typical of the Himalayas, and (3) faces many of the economic and hazard challenges associated with glacier changes in the Himalaya. Therefore, the methods and results from this study should be broadly applicable to other regions of the monsoonal Himalaya. Our modeling results show a complex spatial pattern of glacier sensitivity to changes in climate across the Bhutanese Himalaya. However, our results also show that 90% of the total meltwater flux, and that these glaciers are uniformly the glaciers most sensitive to changes in temperature (and less sensitive to other climate variables). We compare these results to a thirty-year record of glacier volume changes over the same region. In particular, we extract DEMs and orthorectified imagery from 1976 historical spy satellite images and 2006 ASTER images. DEM differencing shows that the glaciers that have changed most over the past thirty years also have the highest modeled temperature sensitivity. These results suggest that, despite the complex glacier heterogeneity in
Gurgiser, Wolfgang; Mölg, Thomas; Nicholson, Lindsey; Kaser, Georg
The mass balance and melt water production of glaciers is of particular interest in the Peruvian Andes where glacier melt water has markedly increased water supply during the pronounced dry seasons in recent decades. However, the melt water contribution from glaciers is projected to decrease with appreciable negative impacts on the local society within the coming decades. Understanding mass balance processes on tropical glaciers is a prerequisite for modeling present and future glacier runoff. As a first step towards this aim we applied a process-based surface mass balance model in order to calculate observed ablation at two stakes in the ablation zone of Shallap Glacier (4800 m a.s.l., 9°S) in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Under the tropical climate, the snow line migrates very frequently across most of the ablation zone all year round causing large temporal and spatial variations of glacier surface conditions and related ablation. Consequently, pronounced differences between the two chosen stakes and the two years were observed. Hourly records of temperature, humidity, wind speed, short wave incoming radiation, and precipitation are available from an automatic weather station (AWS) on the moraine near the glacier for the hydrological years 2006/07 and 2007/08 while stake readings are available at intervals of between 14 to 64 days. To optimize model parameters, we used 1000 model simulations in which the most sensitive model parameters were varied randomly within their physically meaningful ranges. The modeled surface height change was evaluated against the two stake locations in the lower ablation zone (SH11, 4760m) and in the upper ablation zone (SH22, 4816m), respectively. The optimal parameter set for each point achieved good model skill but if we transfer the best parameter combination from one stake site to the other stake site model errors increases significantly. The same happens if we optimize the model parameters for each year individually and transfer
REN; Jiawen(任贾文); Ian; Allison; XIAO; Cunde(效存德); QIN; Dahe(秦大河)
Since it is the largest glacier system in Antarctica, the Lambert Glacier basin plays an important role in the mass balance of the overall Antarctic ice sheet. The observed data and shallow core studies from the inland traverse investigations in recent years show that there are noticeable differences in the distribution and variability of the snow accumulation rate between east and west sides. On the east side, the accumulation is higher on the average and has increased in the past decades, while on the west side it is contrary. The ice movement measurement and the ice flux calculation indicate that the ice velocity and the flux are larger in east than in west, meaning that the major part of mass supply for the glacier is from the east side. The mass budget estimate with the latest data gives that the integrated accumulation over the upstream area of the investigation traverse route is larger than the outflow ice flux by 13%, suggesting that the glacier basin is in a positive mass balance state and the ice thickness will increase if the present climate is keeping.
Machguth, Horst; Haeberli, Wilfried; Paul, Frank
Glacier mass-balance parameters such as the equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) play an important role when working with large glacier samples. While the number of observational mass-balance series to derive such parameters is limited, more and more modeled data are becoming available. Here we explore the possibilities of analyzing such ‘synthetic’ mass-balance data with respect to mass-balance parameters. A simplified energy-balance model is driven by bias-corrected regional climate model output...
Kumar, P.; Kotlarski, S.; Sieck, K.; Frey, H.; Stoffel, M.; Jacob, D.
The regional climate model REMO extended by a recently developed glacier parameterization scheme has been applied over the South Asian Himalayan mountain range. The glacier scheme interactively simulates the mass balance as well as changes of the areal extent of glaciers on a sub-grid scale. Various observational data sets, in particular a regional glacier inventory, have been compiled and were used to initialize glacier area and volume in the year 1989. A simulation for the period 1989-2008 using the ECMWF reanalysis as atmospheric boundary forcing was carried out. Preliminary results show a simulated decrease of glacier area of about 22% between 1989 and 2008. In contrast, the total ice volume in the model domain is showing an overall increase. This is due to the fact that several heavily glaciated grid cells experience a strong snow accumulation, which is subsequently turned into glacier ice and thereby increases the total ice volume. The major part of the simulation domain, however, experiences a strong decrease of both glacier area and glacier volume. Areas with local increases in glacier area and volume are found in the northern part of the model domain, in the Karakoram ranges and in some parts of the Kashmir Great Himalayan ranges. This feature is in good agreement with reported observations. Our results indicate that observed glacier changes can be approximately reproduced within a regional climate model based on simplified concepts of glacier-climate interaction. This, in turn, underlines the general applicability of the model system for scenarios of 21st century climate and glacier change.
Josberger, Edward G.; Bidlake, William R.; March, Rod S.; Kennedy, Ben W.
The more than 40 year record of net and seasonal mass-balance records from measurements made by the United States Geological Survey on South Cascade Glacier, Washington, and Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers, Alaska, shows annual and interannual fluctuations that reflect changes in the controlling climatic conditions at regional and global scales. As the mass-balance record grows in length, it is revealing significant changes in previously described glacier mass-balance behavior, and both inter-glacier and glacier-climate relationships. South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers are strongly affected by the warm and wet maritime climate of the northeast Pacific Ocean. Their net balances have generally been controlled by winter accumulation, with fluctuations that are strongly related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Recently, warm dry summers have begun to dominate the net balance of the two maritime glaciers, with a weakening of the correlation between the winter balance fluctuations and the PDO. Non-synchronous periods of positive and negative net balance for each glacier prior to 1989 were followed by a 1989-2004 period of synchronous and almost exclusively negative net balances that averaged -0.8 m for the three glaciers.
Josberger, E.G.; Bidlake, W.R.; March, R.S.; Kennedy, B.W.
The more than 40 year record of net and seasonal mass-balance records from measurements made by the United States Geological Survey on South Cascade Glacier, Washington, and Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers, Alaska, shows annual and interannual fluctuations that reflect changes in the controlling climatic conditions at regional and global scales. As the mass-balance record grows in length, it is revealing significant changes in previously described glacier mass-balance behavior, and both inter-glacier and glacier-climate relationships. South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers are strongly affected by the warm and wet maritime climate of the northeast Pacific Ocean. Their net balances have generally been controlled by winter accumulation, with fluctuations that are strongly related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Recently, warm dry summers have begun to dominate the net balance of the two maritime glaciers, with a weakening of the correlation between the winter balance fluctuations and the PDO. Non-synchronous periods of positive and negative net balance for each glacier prior to 1989 were followed by a 1989-2004 period of synchronous and almost exclusively negative net balances that averaged -0.8 m for the three glaciers.
Oerlemans, J.; Hoogendoorn, N.C.
It is generally assumed that the mass-balance gradient on glaciers is more or less conserved under climatic change. In studies of the dynamic response of glaciers to climatic change, one of the following assumptions is normally made: (i) the mass-balance perturbation is independent of altitude or (ii) the mass-balance profile does not change - it simply shifts up and down. Observational evidence for such an approach is not convincing; on some glaciers the inter-annual changes in mass balance ...
Winger, Katja; Sushama, Laxmi; Marshall, Shawn
Glaciers are frozen fresh water reservoirs that respond to changes in temperature and snowfall. Concern is growing about the impact that changes in glaciers may have on water resources in regions such as western Canada that derive a lot of their summer streamflow from glacier melt. Given that RCM projections are an important tool and are increasingly being used in assessing projected changes to water resources, particularly due to its high resolution compared with GCMs, realistic representation of glaciers in RCMs is very important. Currently, glaciers are only represented in an extremely simplified way in the fifth generation Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM5). This simple approach of representing glaciers as static glacier masks is appropriate for short-term integrations, where the response of glacier to changing atmospheric conditions might still be small due to glacier response times and therefore the feedback of changing glacier extent on large-scale atmospheric flow conditions might be negligible. A new dynamic glacier scheme has been developed for use within CRCM5, based on volume-area relationships. Simulations have been performed with this glacier model and Land Surface Scheme CLASS for the 2000-2100 period over a domain covering western Canada. These simulations were driven by outputs from a CRCM5 transient climate change simulation driven by CanESM2 at the lateral boundaries, for RCPs 4.5 and 8.5. Preliminary results suggest significant decreases to glacier fractions in future climate. Though the glacier contribution to streamflows is found to dramatically decrease in future climate, the total streamflows did not show any dramatic decreases due to the increase in precipitation for these regions.
Zhang, Guoqing; Yao, Tandong; Xie, Hongjie; Kang, Shichang; Lei, Yanbin
mass balance in the Inner Tibet Plateau (ITP) derived from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) showed a positive rate that was attributed to the glacier mass gain, whereas glaciers in the region, from other field-based studies, showed an overall mass loss. In this study, we examine lake's water level and mass changes in the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and suggest that the increased mass measured by GRACE was predominately due to the increased water mass in lakes. For the 200 lakes in the TP with 4 to 7 years of ICESat data available, the mean lake level and total mass change rates were +0.14 m/yr and +4.95 Gt/yr, respectively. Compared those in the TP, 118 lakes in the ITP showed higher change rates (+0.20 m/yr and +4.28 Gt/yr), accounting for 59% area and 86% mass increase of the 200 lakes. The lake's mass increase rate in the ITP explains the 61% increased mass (~7 Gt/yr) derived from GRACE [Jacob et al., 2012], while it only accounts for 53% of the total lake area in the ITP.
Sorg, A. F.; Bolch, T.; Stoffel, M.; Solomina, O.; Beniston, M.
Climate-driven changes in glacier-fed streamflow regimes have direct implications on freshwater supply, irrigation and hydropower potential. Reliable information about current and future glaciation and runoff is crucial for water allocation and, hence, for social and ecological stability. Although the impacts of climate change on glaciation and runoff have been addressed in previous work undertaken in the Tien Shan (known as the 'water tower of Central Asia'), a coherent, regional perspective of these findings has not been presented until now. In our study, we explore the range of changes in glaciation in different climatic regions of the Tien Shan based on existing data. We show that the majority of Tien Shan glaciers experienced accelerated glacier wasting since the mid-1970s and that glacier shrinkage is most pronounced in peripheral, lower-elevation ranges near the densely populated forelands, where summers are dry and where snow and glacial meltwater is essential for water availability. The annual glacier area shrinkage rates since the middle of the twentieth century are 0.38-0.76% per year in the outer ranges, 0.15-0.40% per year in the inner ranges and 0.05-0.31% per year in the eastern ranges. This regionally non-uniform response to climate change implies that glacier shrinkage is less severe in the continental inner ranges than in the more humid outer ranges. Glaciers in the inner ranges react with larger time lags to climate change, because accumulation and thus mass turnover of the mainly cold glaciers are relatively small. Moreover, shrinkage is especially pronounced on small or fragmented glaciers, which are widely represented in the outer regions. The relative insensitivity of glaciers in the inner ranges is further accentuated by the higher average altitude, as the equilibrium line altitude ranges from 3'500 to 3'600 masl in the outer ranges to 4'400 masl in the inner ranges. For our study, we used glacier change assessments based both on direct data
Strelin, Jorge; Iturraspe, Rodolfo
Past and present glacier changes have been studied at Cordón Martial, Cordillera Fueguina Oriental, Tierra del Fuego, providing novel data for the Holocene deglaciation history of southern South America and extrapolating as well its future behavior based on predicted climatic changes. Regional geomorphologic and stratigraphic correlations indicate that the last glacier advance deposited the ice-proximal ("internal") moraines of Cordón Martial, around 330 14C yr BP, during the Late Little Ice Age (LLIA). Since then glaciers have receded slowly, until 60 years ago, when major glacier retreat started. There is a good correspondence for the past 100 years between the surface area variation of four small cirque glaciers at Cordón Martial and the annual temperature and precipitation data of Ushuaia. Between 1984 and 1998, Martial Este Glacier lost 0.64 ± 0.02 × 10 6 m 3 of ice mass (0.59 ± 0.02 × 10 6 m 3 w.e.), corresponding to an average ice thinning of 7.0 ± 0.2 m (6.4 ± 0.2 m w.e), according to repeated topographic mapping. More detailed climatic data have been obtained since 1998 at the Martial Este Glacier, including air temperature, humidity and solar radiation. These records, together with the monthly mass balance measured since March 2000, document the annual response of the Martial Este Glacier to the climate variation. Mass balances during hydrological years were positive in 2000, negative in 2001 and near equilibrium in 2002. Finally, using these data and the regional temperature trend projections, modeled for different future scenarios by the Atmosphere-Ocean Model (GISS-NASA/GSFC), potential climatic-change effects on this mountain glacier were extrapolated. The analysis shows that only the Martial Este Glacier may survive this century.
Kumar, Pankaj; Kotlarski, Sven; Moseley, Christopher; Sieck, Kevin; Frey, Holger; Stoffel, Markus; Jacob, Daniela
Over 800 million people depend on glacier melt water runoff throughout the Hindu-Kush and Himalaya (HKH) region. The region, also called as "Water tower of Asia", is the location of several major rivers basins, like Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus etc. Glaciers in the HKH region are the primary source of water for the perennial rivers. Previous studies have assessed glacier areas and volumes in the HKH region by remote sensing techniques and slope-dependent thickness estimations. We here present a study in which, for the first time a glacier parameterization scheme is dynamically coupled to a regional climate model and applied over the South Asian Himalayan mountain range. The glacier scheme interactively simulates the mass balance as well as changes of the areal extent of glaciers on a sub-grid scale. Various observational data sets, in particular a regional glacier inventory, have been compiled and were used to initialize glacier area and volume in the year 1989. A simulation for the period 1989-2008 using the ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis as atmospheric boundary forcing was carried out. Preliminary results show a simulated decrease of glacier area of about 20% between 1989 and 2008. The spatial patterns of glacier area change show a remarkable decrease, but do show some regions of increase especially over the Karakoram (western Himalaya), a region for which available observations-based estimates also indicate a positive mass balance anomaly. The positive relation between altitude and mass balance is qualitatively reproduced by the model. The model is able to approximately represent the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) for selected sub-region when compared to observed values but simulated ELA's seem to have a systematic negative bias which, in turn, suggests an overestimation of the mean regional mass balance. Our results indicate that observed glacier changes can be approximately reproduced within a regional climate model based on simplified concepts of glacier-climate
Li, B.; Acharya, K.; Yu, Z.; Su, F.; liang, Z.
It is difficult to clearly investigate the surface energy budget and glacier evolution under the changed climate environments, especially on accounts of limited data set. We attempted to calculate the summer mass balance of Zhadang Glacier (5710 m above sea level), located in the central Tibetan Plateau. This small and high-altitude glacier has been retreating during the previous decades. Energy balance was calculated on a 30 m square grid on the glacier for the summer periods in 2007 and 2008. On average, net radiation contributed more than 96% of the energy gain while only less than 4% was supplied by the sensible heat flux. Most energy loss on the glacier was contributed by the turbulent heat fluxes and only roughly 30% of the total energy was available for melting. A large deficit and a surplus summer mass balance were obtained for years 2006/07 and 2007/08, respectively. The switch in mass balance from negative to positive in the summer of 2008 is caused by early precipitation (mostly snow) resulting in low temperature on the glacier. Low temperature produces less energy that contributes to melting, whereas increased snow accumulation produces higher surface albedo reflecting away incoming solar radiation. The high sensitivity of air temperature may imply that the low temperature was more important than the increased precipitation in the mass balance switch in Zhadang Glacier. Despite a continuous negative mass balance for several decades in Zhadang Glacier 2008 may have brought a temporary relief.
Rowan, A. V.; Egholm, D. L.; Glasser, N. F.; Quincey, D. J.
Recent studies of glaciers in the eastern Himalaya have identified rapid changes in ice volume with small changes in climate indicating that these glaciers are highly sensitive to primary climate variables (e.g. daily variations in air temperature and monsoon precipitation). However, quantifying Himalayan glacier sensitivity to climate change is challenging due to: (1) a lack of information about how glaciological and geomorphological factors influence the balance of large debris-covered glaciers; (2) the local modification of meteorological variables by the interaction of high topography with regional atmospheric circulation systems; and (3) the simple representation of ice dynamics in many numerical glacier models which limits their usefulness in regions with steep terrain. To quantify the sensitivity of Himalayan glaciers to climate change we apply the integrated second-order shallow ice approximation (iSOSIA) [Egholm et al. 2011, Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface] to large debris-covered glaciers on the southern slopes of Mt. Everest in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal. iSOSIA considers both the longitudinal and transverse stresses that drive mountain glacier flow in regions with steep terrain--a more suitable approach for Himalayan glaciers than those models based on approximations developed for shallow ice sheets. We apply iSOSIA at a 100-m resolution on a regular grid using a daily timestep to Nepalese glaciers including Khumbu, Ngozumpa and Lhotse. Our mass balance model development has focused on the dynamic representation of snow avalanching onto the glacier surfaces as this accounts for up to 75% of accumulation. We investigate Himalayan glacier sensitivities to primary climatological, glaciological and geological variables including air temperature, supraglacial debris cover, and catchment hypsometry. Furthermore, we aim to improve the representation of climate in glacier models for the Himalaya by testing a range of methods to describe these
Carturan, Luca; Baroni, Carlo; Brunetti, Michele; Carton, Alberto; Dalla Fontana, Giancarlo; Salvatore, Maria Cristina; Zanoner, Thomas; Zuecco, Giulia
This work presents an analysis of the mass balance series of nine Italian glaciers, which were selected based on the length, continuity and reliability of observations. All glaciers experienced mass loss in the observation period, which is variable for the different glaciers and ranges between 10 and 47 years. The longest series display increasing mass loss rates, which were mainly due to increased ablation during longer and warmer ablation seasons. The mean annual mass balance (Ba) in the decade from 2004 to 2013 ranged from -1788 to -763 mm w.e. yr-1. Low-altitude glaciers with low range of elevation are more out of balance than the higher, larger and steeper glaciers, which maintain residual accumulation areas in their upper reaches. The response of glaciers is mainly controlled by the combination of October-May precipitations and June-September temperatures, but rapid geometric adjustments and atmospheric changes lead to modifications in their response to climatic variations. In particular, a decreasing correlation of Ba with the June-September temperatures and an increasing correlation with October-May precipitations are observed for some glaciers. In addition, the October-May temperatures tend to become significantly correlated with Ba, possibly indicating a decrease in the fraction of solid precipitation, and/or increased ablation, during the accumulation season. Because most of the monitored glaciers have no more accumulation area, their observations series are at risk due to their impending extinction, thus requiring a replacement soon.
Dumont, M; Gardelle, J.; P. Sirguey; A. Guillot; Six, D.; Rabatel, A.; Y. Arnaud
Albedo is one of the variables controlling the mass balance of temperate glaciers. Multispectral imagers, such as MODerate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the TERRA and AQUA satellites, provide a means to monitor glacier surface albedo. In this study, different methods to retrieve broadband glacier surface albedo from MODIS data are compared. The effect of multiple reflections due to the rugged topography and of the anisotropic reflection of snow and ...
M. Moretti; Mattavelli, M; De Amicis, Mattia; Maggi, V
The development of theoretical work about glacier dynamics has given rise to the construction of mathematical models to assess glacier response in climate change scenarios. Glacier are sentinels of climate condition and the Project of Interest NextData will favour new data production about the present and past climatic variability and future climate projections, as well as new assessments of the impact of climate change on environment. The aim of this specific research program is to develo...
M. P. Lüthi
Full Text Available Mountain glaciers sample a combination of climate fields – temperature, precipitation and radiation – by accumulation and melting of ice. Flow dynamics acts as a transfer function that maps volume changes to a length response of the glacier terminus. Long histories of terminus positions have been assembled for several glaciers in the Alps. Here I analyze terminus position histories from an ensemble of seven glaciers in the Alps with a macroscopic model of glacier dynamics to derive a history of glacier equilibrium line altitude (ELA for the time span 400–2010 C.E. The resulting climatic reconstruction depends only on records of glacier variations. The reconstructed ELA history is similar to recent reconstructions of Alpine summer temperature and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO index, but bears little resemblance to reconstructed precipitation variations. Most reconstructed low-ELA periods coincide with large explosive volcano eruptions, hinting at a direct effect of volcanic radiative cooling on mass balance. The glacier advances during the LIA, and the retreat after 1860, can thus be mainly attributed to temperature and volcanic radiative cooling.
March, Rod S.; O'Neel, Shad
The measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances for 1997-2001 in the Gulkana Glacier basin are determined at specific points and over the entire glacier area using the meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data. We provide descriptions of glacier geometry to aid in estimation of conventional and reference surface mass balances and descriptions of ice motion to aid in the understanding of the glacier's response to its changing geometry. These data provide annual estimates for area altitude distribution, equilibrium line altitude, and accumulation area ratio during the study interval. New determinations of historical area altitude distributions are given for 1900 and annually from 1966 to 2001. As original weather instrumentation is nearing the end of its deployment lifespan, we provide new estimates of overlap comparisons and precipitation catch efficiency. During 1997-2001, Gulkana Glacier showed a continued and accelerated negative mass balance trend, especially below the equilibrium line altitude where thinning was pronounced. Ice motion also slowed, which combined with the negative mass balance, resulted in glacier retreat under a warming climate. Average annual runoff augmentation by glacier shrinkage for 1997-2001 was 25 percent compared to the previous average of 13 percent, in accordance with the measured glacier volume reductions.
N. L. Balascio
Full Text Available Small glaciers and ice caps respond rapidly to climate variations and records of their past extent provide information on the natural envelope of past climate variability. Millennial-scale trends in Holocene glacier size are well documented and correspond with changes in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation. However, there is only sparse and fragmentary evidence for higher frequency variations in glacier size because in many Northern Hemisphere regions glacier advances of the past few hundred years were the most extensive and destroyed the geomorphic evidence of ice growth and retreat during the past several thousand years. Thus, most glacier records have been of limited use for investigating centennial scale climate forcing and feedback mechanisms. Here we report a continuous record of glacier activity for the last 9.5 ka from southeast Greenland, derived from high-resolution measurements on a proglacial lake sediment sequence. Physical and geochemical parameters show that the glaciers responded to previously documented Northern Hemisphere climatic excursions, including the "8.2 ka" cooling event, the Holocene Thermal Maximum, Neoglacial cooling, and 20th Century warming. In addition, the sediments indicate centennial-scale oscillations in glacier size during the late Holocene. Beginning at 4.1 ka, a series of abrupt glacier advances occurred, each lasting ~100 years and followed by a period of retreat, that were superimposed on a gradual trend toward larger glacier size. Thus, while declining summer insolation caused long-term cooling and glacier expansions during the late Holocene, climate system dynamics resulted in repeated episodes of glacier expansion and retreat on multi-decadal to centennial timescales. These episodes coincided with ice rafting events in the North Atlantic Ocean and periods of regional ice cap expansion, which confirms their regional significance and indicates that considerable glacier activity on these timescales is a
A. F. Lutz
Full Text Available Central Asian water resources largely depend on (glacier melt water generated in the Pamir and Tien Shan mountain ranges, located in the basins of the Amu and Syr Darya rivers, important life lines in Central Asia and the prominent water source of the Aral Sea. To estimate future water availability in the region, it is thus necessary to project the future glacier extent and volume in the Amu and Syr Darya river basins. The aim of this study is to quantify the impact of uncertainty in climate change projections on the future glacier extent in the Amu and Syr Darya river basins. The latest climate change projections provided by the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5 generated for the upcoming fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC are used to model future glacier extent in the Central Asian region for the two large river basins. The outcomes are compared to model results obtained with the climate change projections used for the fourth IPCC assessment (CMIP3. We use a regionalized glacier mass balance model to estimate changes in glacier extent as a function of glacier size and projections of temperature and precipitation. The model is developed for implementation in (large scale hydrological models, when the spatial model resolution does not allow for modelling of individual glaciers and data scarcity is an issue. Both CMIP3 and CMIP5 model simulations point towards a strong decline in glacier extent in Central Asia. However, compared to the CMIP3 projections, the CMIP5 projections of future glacier extent in Central Asia provide a wider range of outcomes, mostly owing to greater variability in precipitation projections among the latest suite of climate models. These findings have great impact on projections of the timing and quantity of water availability in glacier melt dominated rivers in the region. Uncertainty about the size of the decline in glacier extent remains large, making
Immerzeel, W. W.; N. Wanders; A. F. Lutz; J. M. Shea; M. F. P. Bierkens
Mountain ranges in Asia are important water suppliers, especially if downstream climates are arid, water demands are high and glaciers are abundant. In such basins, the hydrological cycle depends heavily on high-altitude precipitation. Yet direct observations of high-altitude precipitation are lacking and satellite derived products are of insufficient resolution and quality to capture spatial variation and magnitude of mountain precipitation. Here we use glacier mass balances t...
Full Text Available In the Everest region, Nepal, ground-based monitoring programs were started on the debris-free Mera Glacier (27.7° N, 86.9° E; 5.1 km2, 6420 to 4940 m a.s.l. in 2007 and on the small Pokalde Glacier (27.9° N, 86.8° E; 0.1 km2, 5690 to 5430 m a.s.l., ∼ 25 km North of Mera Glacier in 2009. These glaciers lie on the southern flank of the central Himalaya under the direct influence of the Indian monsoon and receive more than 80% of their annual precipitation in summer (June to September. Despite a large inter-annual variability with glacier-wide mass balances ranging from −0.77± 0.40 m w.e. in 2011–2012 (Equilibrium-line altitude (ELA at ∼ 6055 m a.s.l. to + 0.46 ± 0.40 m w.e. in 2010–2011 (ELA at ∼ 5340 m a.s.l., Mera Glacier has been shrinking at a moderate mass balance rate of −0.10± 0.40 m w.e. yr−1 since 2007. Ice fluxes measured at two distinct transverse cross sections at ∼ 5350 m a.s.l. and ∼ 5520 m a.s.l. confirm that the mean state of this glacier over the last one or two decades corresponds to a limited mass loss, in agreement with remotely-sensed region-wide mass balances of the Everest area. Seasonal mass balance measurements show that ablation and accumulation are concomitant in summer which in turn is the key season controlling the annual glacier-wide mass balance. Unexpectedly, ablation occurs at all elevations in winter due to wind erosion and sublimation, with remobilized snow likely being sublimated in the atmosphere. Between 2009 and 2012, the small Pokalde Glacier lost mass more rapidly than Mera Glacier with respective mean glacier-wide mass balances of −0.72 and −0.26 ± 0.40 m w.e. yr−1. Low-elevation glaciers, such as Pokalde Glacier, have been usually preferred for in-situ observations in Nepal and more generally in the Himalayas, which may explain why compilations of ground-based mass balances are biased toward negative values compared with the regional mean under the present-day climate.
Gabbud, Chrystelle; Tahir, Adnan Ahmad; Micheletti, Natan; Lane, Stuart
Glacier advance and recession are considered as key indicators of climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Understanding the relationship between climatic variations and glacial responses is crucial. Here, we use archival photogrammetric methods to generate high resolution and precise Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of two Alpine valley glaciers that have shown a contrasting response to recent climatic variability. Digital photogrammetry is well-established for glacier monitoring, mass balance determination and computation of the volumes of ice mass change. Reconstructions of the recent history of glaciers have been performed through and since the Little Ice Age and also more recently in relation to recent global warming. This study uses aerial imagery available from the early 1960s. Archival digital photogrammetry is applied to reconstruct the decadal scale glacial history of the Haut Glacier d'Arolla and the Glacier de Tsijiore Nouve in south western Switzerland. The data generated are used to explore the linkages between glacier changes and climate forcing. While both of the glaciers were subject to exactly the same climatic settings (they are only a few km apart), the responses to climatic variability have been markedly different. The data show continual recession of the Haut Glacier d'Arolla since 1967, associated with long-term climatic amelioration but only a weak response to shorter-term climatic deterioration. Glacier surface velocity estimates obtained using surface particle tracking showed that, unlike for most Swiss glaciers during the late 1970s and early 1980s, ice mass flux from the accumulation zone was too low to compensate for the effects of glacier thinning. Associated with glacier response time, that means that whilst there may have been a reduction in the ablation rate during the colder period, the flux did still not exceed the ablation rate, and hence snout advance was prevented. By contrast, the Tsijiore Nouve Glacier
Huss, Matthias; Sold, Leo; Hoelzle, Martin; Stokvis, Mazzal; Salzmann, Nadine; Farinotti Daniel; Zemp, Michael
This study presents a method that allows continuous monitoring of mass balance for remote or inaccessible glaciers, based on repeated oblique photography. Hourly to daily pictures from two automatic cameras overlooking two large valley glaciers in the Swiss Alps are available for eight ablation seasons (2004–11) in total. We determine the fraction of snow-covered glacier surface from orthorectified and georeferenced images and combine this information with simple accumulation and melt modelli...
A. J. Wiltshire
Full Text Available The Hindu-Kush, Karakoram Himalaya (HKKH region has a negative average glacial mass balance despite anomalous possible gains in the Karakoram. However, changes in climate may influence the mass balance across the HKKH. We use high resolution climate modelling to analyse the implications of unmitigated climate change on precipitation, snowfall, air temperature and accumulated degree days for the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and West Nepal regions, and East Nepal and Bhutan. In our analysis we focus on the climate drivers of change rather than the glaciological response. We find a complex regional response to climate change, with possible increases in snowfall over the western HKKH and decreases in the east. Accumulated degree days are less spatially variable than precipitation and show an increase in potential ablation in all regions. Overall, the eastern Himalayan glaciers are expected to be most sensitive to climate change due to the decreases in snowfall and increased ablation associated with warming. The eastern glaciers are therefore projected to decline over the 21st century despite increasing precipitation. The western glaciers are expected to decline at a slower rate over the 21st century as a response to unmitigated climate compared to the glaciers of the east. Importantly, the glacier response depends on important glaciological factors, such as the extent of debris cover, which may be of critical importance in moderating the response to climatic change. Decadal variability has a large effect highlighting the need for long-term observation records to fully understand the impact of climate on the glaciers of the HKKH cryosphere. Spatial variability in projected snowfall patterns are likely to be a key driver of glacier mass balance over the 21st century. Importantly, the regional trends in snowfall do not necessarily follow the trends in precipitation. A key change in the HKKH cryosphere is a switch from snowfall
Wiltshire, A. J.
The Hindu-Kush, Karakoram Himalaya (HKKH) region has a negative average glacial mass balance despite anomalous possible gains in the Karakoram. However, changes in climate may influence the mass balance across the HKKH. We use high resolution climate modelling to analyse the implications of unmitigated climate change on precipitation, snowfall, air temperature and accumulated degree days for the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and West Nepal regions, and East Nepal and Bhutan. In our analysis we focus on the climate drivers of change rather than the glaciological response. We find a complex regional response to climate change, with possible increases in snowfall over the western HKKH and decreases in the east. Accumulated degree days are less spatially variable than precipitation and show an increase in potential ablation in all regions. Overall, the eastern Himalayan glaciers are expected to be most sensitive to climate change due to the decreases in snowfall and increased ablation associated with warming. The eastern glaciers are therefore projected to decline over the 21st century despite increasing precipitation. The western glaciers are expected to decline at a slower rate over the 21st century as a response to unmitigated climate compared to the glaciers of the east. Importantly, the glacier response depends on important glaciological factors, such as the extent of debris cover, which may be of critical importance in moderating the response to climatic change. Decadal variability has a large effect highlighting the need for long-term observation records to fully understand the impact of climate on the glaciers of the HKKH cryosphere. Spatial variability in projected snowfall patterns are likely to be a key driver of glacier mass balance over the 21st century. Importantly, the regional trends in snowfall do not necessarily follow the trends in precipitation. A key change in the HKKH cryosphere is a switch from snowfall to rainfall in the
Hirabayashi, Yukiko; Nakano, Kazunari; Zhang, Yong; Watanabe, Satoshi; Tanoue, Masahiro; Kanae, Shinjiro
Observational evidence indicates that a number of glaciers have lost mass in the past. Given that glaciers are highly impacted by the surrounding climate, human-influenced global warming may be partly responsible for mass loss. However, previous research studies have been limited to analyzing the past several decades, and it remains unclear whether past glacier mass losses are within the range of natural internal climate variability. Here, we apply an optimal fingerprinting technique to observed and reconstructed mass losses as well as multi-model general circulation model (GCM) simulations of mountain glacier mass to detect and attribute past glacier mass changes. An 8,800-year control simulation of glaciers enabled us to evaluate detectability. The results indicate that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the decreased area-weighted average masses of 85 analyzed glaciers. The effect was larger than the mass increase caused by natural forcing, although the contributions of natural and anthropogenic forcing to decreases in mass varied at the local scale. We also showed that the detection of anthropogenic or natural influences could not be fully attributed when natural internal climate variability was taken into account.
Hirabayashi, Yukiko; Nakano, Kazunari; Zhang, Yong; Watanabe, Satoshi; Tanoue, Masahiro; Kanae, Shinjiro
Observational evidence indicates that a number of glaciers have lost mass in the past. Given that glaciers are highly impacted by the surrounding climate, human-influenced global warming may be partly responsible for mass loss. However, previous research studies have been limited to analyzing the past several decades, and it remains unclear whether past glacier mass losses are within the range of natural internal climate variability. Here, we apply an optimal fingerprinting technique to observed and reconstructed mass losses as well as multi-model general circulation model (GCM) simulations of mountain glacier mass to detect and attribute past glacier mass changes. An 8,800-year control simulation of glaciers enabled us to evaluate detectability. The results indicate that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the decreased area-weighted average masses of 85 analyzed glaciers. The effect was larger than the mass increase caused by natural forcing, although the contributions of natural and anthropogenic forcing to decreases in mass varied at the local scale. We also showed that the detection of anthropogenic or natural influences could not be fully attributed when natural internal climate variability was taken into account. PMID:27435236
Wiltshire, A. J.
The Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalaya (HKH) region has a negative average glacial mass balance for the present day despite anomalous possible gains in the Karakoram. However, changes in climate over the 21st century may influence the mass balance across the HKH. This study uses regional climate modelling to analyse the implications of unmitigated climate change on precipitation, snowfall, air temperature and accumulated positive degree days for the Hindu Kush (HK), Karakoram (KK), Jammu-Kashmir (JK), Himachal Pradesh and West Nepal regions (HP), and East Nepal and Bhutan (NB). The analysis focuses on the climate drivers of change rather than the glaciological response. Presented is a complex regional pattern of climate change, with a possible increase in snowfall over the western HKH and decreases in the east. Accumulated degree days are less spatially variable than precipitation and show an increase in potential ablation in all regions combined with increases in the length of the seasonal melt period. From the projected change in regional climate the possible implications for future glacier mass balance are inferred. Overall, within the modelling framework used here the eastern Himalayan glaciers (Nepal-Bhutan) are the most vulnerable to climate change due to the decreased snowfall and increased ablation associated with warming. The eastern glaciers are therefore projected to decline over the 21st Century despite increasing precipitation. The western glaciers (Hindu Kush, Karakoram) are expected to decline at a slower rate over the 21st century in response to unmitigated climate compared to the glaciers of the east. Importantly, regional climate change is highly uncertain, especially in important cryospheric drivers such as snowfall timing and amounts, which are poorly constrained by observations. Data are available from the author on request.
Rosenwinkel, Swenja; Landgraf, Angela; Korup, Oliver; Sorg, Annina
Rock glaciers have been traditionally used as landform proxies of the distribution of sporadic alpine permafrost. In the northern Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, most distinct lobes of >200 rock glaciers that we mapped from satellite imagery occur at two major elevation levels. However, a number of particularly low-lying lobes seem difficult to reconcile with palaeoclimatic fluctuations and commensurate changes of permafrost patterns: The minimum elevation of the majority of rock-glacier snouts lies between ~2500 up to ~3700 m a.s.l., but some 10% of rock-glaciers extend down to well below 3000 m a.s.l. We hypothesize that some of the rock glaciers in this area may have formed following strong earthquakes that could have triggered massive supraglacial rock-slope failures, which would have subsequently created sediment-rich rock glaciers from clear-ice glaciers. Our hypothesis is based on the observation that the tectonically active northern Tien Shan of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan was affected by a series of major earthquakes in the late 19th and earliest 20th centuries, e.g. in 1885 (Ms 6.9), 1887 (Ms 7.3), 1889 (Ms 8.3), and 1911 (Ms 8.1). All of these earthquakes had triggered numerous landslides in the northern Tien Shan. It is also likely that similarly strong earthquakes had happened before, but their recurrence intervals are long and more palaeoseismological work is in progress. We test whether lichenometry of rock-glacier surfaces together with morphometric analysis are suitable methods to testing our hypothesis. We focus on assessing the possibility of earthquake-triggered rock-glacier advances, and use lichenometry to resolve age patterns of different rock-glacier lobes. We use a dataset of several thousand lichen diameter measurements encompassing seven different species calibrated by gravestones and dated mass-movement deposits. Data on four single and two merging rock glaciers in four selected valleys in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan support the notion
Josberger, Edward G.; Bidlake, William R.
The long-term USGS measurement and reporting of mass balance at South Cascade Glacier was assisted in balance years 2006 and 2007 by a new mass balance model. The model incorporates a temperature-index melt computation and accumulation is modeled from glacier air temperature and gaged precipitation at a remote site. Mass balance modeling was used with glaciological measurements to estimate dates and magnitudes of critical mass balance phenomena. In support of the modeling, a detailed analysis was made of the "glacier cooling effect" that reduces summer air temperature near the ice surface as compared to that predicted on the basis of a spatially uniform temperature lapse rate. The analysis was based on several years of data from measurements of near-surface air temperature on the glacier. The 2006 and 2007 winter balances of South Cascade Glacier, computed with this new, model-augmented methodology, were 2.61 and 3.41 mWE, respectively. The 2006 and 2007 summer balances were -4.20 and -3.63 mWE, respectively, and the 2006 and 2007 net balances were -1.59 and -0.22 mWE. PDF version of a presentation on the mass balance of South Cascade Glacier in Washington state. Presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2010.
Luthcke, Scott B.; Arendt, Anthony A.; Rowlands, David D.; McCarthy, John J.; Larsen, Christopher F.
The mass changes of the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) glaciers are computed from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) inter-satellite range-rate data for the period April 2003-September 2007. Through the application of unique processing techniques and a surface mass concentration (mascon) parameterization, the mass variations in the GoA glacier regions have been estimated at high temporal (10 day) and spatial (2 × 2 arc-degrees) resolution. The mascon solutions are directly estimated from a reduction of the GRACE K-band inter-satellite range-rate data and, unlike previous GRACE solutions for the GoA glaciers, do not exhibit contamination by leakage from mass change occurring outside the region of interest. The mascon solutions reveal considerable temporal and spatial variation within the GoA glacier region, with the largest negative mass balances observed in the St Elias Mountains including the Yakutat and Glacier Bay regions. The most rapid losses occurred during the 2004 melt season due to record temperatures in Alaska during that year. The total mass balance of the GoA glacier region was -84 ± 5 Gt a-1 contributing 0.23 ± 0.01 mm a-1 to global sea-level rise from April 2003 through March 2007. Highlighting the large seasonal and interannual variability of the GoA glaciers, the rate determined over the period April 2003-March 2006 is -102 ± 5 Gt a-1, which includes the anomalously high temperatures of 2004 and does not include the large 2007 winter balance-year snowfall. The mascon solutions agree well with regional patterns of glacier mass loss determined from aircraft altimetry and in situ measurements.
YANG Jian-Ping; DING Yong-Jian; LIU Shi-Yin; TAN Chun-Ping
Mountain glaciers in China are an important water source for both China and adjoining countries, and therefore their adaptation to glacier change is crucial in relation to maintaining populations. This study aims to improve our understanding of glacial vulnerability to climate change to establish adaptation strategies. A glacial numerical model is developed using spatial principle component analysis (SPCA) supported by remote sensing (RS) and geographical information system (GIS) technologies. The model contains nine factorsdslope, aspect, hillshade, elevation a.s.l., air temperature, precipitation, glacial area change percentage, glacial type and glacial area, describing topography, climate, and glacier characteristics. The vulnerability of glaciers to climate change is evaluated during the period of 1961e2007 on a regional scale, and in the 2030s and 2050s based on projections of air temperature and precipitation changes under the IPCC RCP6.0 scenario and of glacier change in the 21st century. Glacial vulnerability is graded into five levels:potential, light, medial, heavy, and very heavy, using natural breaks classification (NBC). The spatial distribution of glacial vulnerability and its temporal changes in the 21st century for the RCP6.0 scenario are analyzed, and the factors influencing vulnerability are discussed. Results show that mountain glaciers in China are very vulnerable to climate change, and 41.2% of glacial areas fall into the levels of heavy and very heavy vulnerability in the period 1961e2007. This is mainly explained by topographical exposure and the high sensitivity of glaciers to climate change. Trends of glacial vulnerability are projected to decline in the 2030s and 2050s, but a declining trend is still high in some regions. In addition to topographical factors, variation in precipitation in the 2030s and 2050s is found to be crucial.
Full Text Available The geodetic method is widely used for assessing changes in the mass balance of mountain glaciers. However, comparison of repeated digital elevation models only provides a glacier volume change that must be converted to a change in mass using a density assumption or model. This study investigates the use of a constant factor for the volume-to-mass conversion based on a firn compaction model applied to simplified glacier geometries with idealized climate forcing, and two glaciers with long-term mass balance series. It is shown that the "density" of geodetic volume change is not a constant factor and is systematically smaller than ice density in most cases. This is explained by the accretion/removal of low-density firn layers, and changes in the firn density profile with positive/negative mass balance. Assuming a value of 850 ± 60 kg m−3 to convert volume change to mass change is appropriate for a wide range of conditions. For short time intervals (≤3 yr, periods with limited volume change, and/or changing mass balance gradients, the conversion factor can however vary from 0–2000 kg m−3 and beyond, which requires caution when interpreting glacier mass changes based on geodetic surveys.
Stumm, Dorothea; Fujita, Koji; Gurung, Tika; Joshi, Sharad; Litt, Maxime; Shea, Joseph; Sherpa, Mingma; Sinisalo, Anna; Wagnon, Patrick
In-situ glacier mass balance measurements are still scarce in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region and little is known about the seasonal balances. The glaciers in the Nepalese Himalaya have been considered summer accumulation glacier types because of the assumption that the majority of the accumulation occurs in the summer months during the monsoon. The glacier mass balance of Yala Glacier in the Langtang Valley of Nepal has been measured using the glaciological method since autumn 2011. Stakes were measured biannually in pre- and post-monsoon, usually in early May and in November, respectively. The measured mass balance gradient for the summer balance was larger than the winter balance, which is typical for glaciers with distinct ablation and accumulation seasons. On Yala Glacier, the summer balance was negative, and the winter balance was positive in all years with measurements. However, the annual net balance was negative for all four mass balance years from 2011 to 2015. The mass balances were further compared to temperature and precipitation data measured at nearby climate stations during the same time periods. In October 2013 and 2014, the Central Himalayas received large amounts of precipitation brought by the cyclones Phailin and Hudhud. These precipitation events contributed to the summer balance since the measurements were taken after the cyclones passed. In conclusion, on Yala Glacier accumulation processes dominated ablation processes during the winter, and ablation processes dominated during the summer, which could be explained by the low elevation range of Yala Glacier and precipitation from westerlies in the winter. Hence, this should be kept in mind when using the term 'summer accumulation glacier' for Yala Glacier. For future research in the HKH region, seasonal mass balances should be measured, and the processes impacting the mass balance and the role of winter precipitation should be investigated for other glaciers in the HKH region.
Grossi, Giovanna; Caronna, Paolo; Ranzi, Roberto
In order to assess the annual mass balance of the Mandrone glacier in the Central Alps an energy-balance model was applied, supported by snowpack, meteorological and glaciological observations, together with satellite measurements of snow covered areas and albedo. The Physically based Distributed Snow Land and Ice Model (PDSLIM), a distributed multi-layer model for temperate glaciers, which was previously tested on both basin and point scales, was applied. Verification was performed with a network of ablation stakes over two summer periods. Satellite images processed within the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project were used to estimate the ice albedo and to verify the position of the simulated transient snowline on specific dates. The energy balance was estimated for the Mandrone and Presena glaciers in the Central Italian Alps. Their modeled balances (-1439 and -1503 mm w.e. year-1, respectively), estimated over a 15 year period, are in good agreement with those obtained with the glaciological method for the Caresèr glacier, a WGMS (World Glacier Monitoring Service) reference located in the nearby Ortles-Cevedale group. Projections according to the regional climate model COSMO-CLM (standing for COnsortium for Small-scale MOdeling model in CLimate Mode) indicate that the Mandrone glacier might not survive the current century and might be halved in size by 2050.
NAITO, Nozomu; AGETA, Yutaka; Nakawo, Masayoshi; Edwin,D. Waddington; Charles,F. Raymond; Howard,Conway
Sensitivities of a summer-accumulation type glacier in response to changes in air temperature and precipitation are investigated using a glacier fluctuation model. The model couples glacier dynamics to empirical mass balance equations obtained for a typical summer-accumulation type glacier in the eastern Nepal Himalayas. The geometry and seasonal variations in air temperature and precipitation are simplified in order to examine the principal characteristics of the sensitivities. The magnitude...
Di Mauro, Biagio; Julitta, Tommaso; Colombo, Roberto
Both mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets are losing mass all over the Earth. They are highly sensitive to climate variation, and the widespread reduction of glaciers has been ascribed to the atmospheric temperature increase. Beside this driver, also ice albedo plays a fundamental role in defining mass balance of glaciers. In fact, dark ice absorbs more energy causing faster glacier melting, and this can drive to more negative balances. Previous studies showed that the albedo of Himalayan glaciers and the Greenland Ice Sheet is decreasing with important rates. In this contribution, we tested the hypothesis that also glaciers in the European Alps are getting darker. We analyzed 16-year time series of MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectrometer) snow albedo from Terra (MOD13A1, 2000-2015) and Aqua (MYD13A1, 2002-2015) satellites. These data feature a spatial resolution of 500m and a daily temporal resolution. We evaluated the existence of a negative linear and nonlinear trend of the summer albedo values both at pixel and at glacier level. We also calculated the correlation between MODIS summer albedo and glacier mass balances (from the World Glaciological Monitoring Service, WGMS database), for all the glaciers with available mass balance during the considered period. In order to estimate the percentage of the summer albedo that can be explained by atmospheric temperature, we correlated MODIS albedo and monthly air temperature extracted from the ERA-Interim reanalysis dataset. Results show that decreasing trends exist with a strong spatial variability in the whole Alpine chain. In large glaciers, such as the Aletch (Swiss Alps), the trend varies significantly also within the glacier, showing that the trend is higher in the area across the accumulation and ablation zone. Over the 17 glaciers with mass balance available in the WGMS data set, 11 gave significant relationship with the MODIS summer albedo. Moreover, the comparison between ERA-Interim temperature
Strigaro, D; M. Moretti; Mattavelli, M.; De Amicis, M; V. Maggi; Provenzale, A.
Theoretical work on glacier dynamics led to the construction of mathematical models for estimating glacier response to different climate change scenarios . The aim of this work is to include a simple version of such models (the so-called Minimal Glacier Models ) within a GIS framework, to better understand, evaluate and reproduce the glacier response to climate fluctuations. Then, in this work three sections have been included: (I) the formulation of the Minimal Glacier Models, evalu...
Ragettli, Silvan; Pellicciotti, Francesca; Immerzeel, Walter
The Andes of South America and the Himalaya in high-mountain Asia are two regions where advanced simulation models are of vital importance to anticipate the impacts of climate change on water resources. The two mountain systems hold the largest ice masses outside the polar regions. Major rivers originate here and downstream regions are densely populated. In the long run, glacier recession generates concerns about the sustainability of summer runoff. This study benefits from recent efforts of carefully planned short-term field experiments in two headwater catchments in the Central Andes of Chile and in the Central Himalaya in Nepal. The two study catchments contrast in terms of their climate and in the characteristics of their glaciers. A systematic approach is developed, built upon the available local data, to reduce the predictive uncertainty of a state-of-the-art glacio-hydrological model used for the projection of 21st century glacier changes and catchment runoff. The in-situ data are used for model development and step-wise, multivariate parameter calibration. Catchment runoff and remotely sensed MODIS and Landsat snow cover are used for model validation. The glacio-hydrological model simulates the water cycle with a high temporal (hourly time steps) and spatial (100 m grid cells) resolution and accounts for processes typical of both regions like glacier melt under debris cover or mass redistribution through avalanching. Future projections are based on the outputs of twelve stochastically downscaled global climate models for two emission scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5). This is one of the first truly intercomparative modeling studies at the catchment scale across mountain regions of the world to assess and compare future changes in glaciers and snow cover and associated impacts on streamflow production. Both catchments will experience significant glacier mass loss throughout the twenty-first century. However, the trajectories of simulated future runoff and
Full Text Available Estimates of the contribution of glaciers to sea-level rise during the 20th century that were published in recent years are strongly divergent. Advances in data availability have allowed revisions of some of these published estimates. Here we show that outside of Antarctica, the global estimates of glacier mass loss obtained from glacier-length-based reconstructions and from a glacier model driven by gridded climate observations are now consistent with each other, and also with an estimate for the years 2003–2009 that is mostly based on remotely sensed data. This consistency is found throughout the entire common periods of the respective data sets. Inconsistencies of reconstructions and observations persist in estimates on regional scales.
Marzeion, B.; Leclercq, P. W.; Cogley, J. G.; Jarosch, A. H.
Estimates of the contribution of glaciers to sea-level rise during the 20th century that were published in recent years are strongly divergent. Advances in data availability have allowed revisions of some of these published estimates. Here we show that outside of Antarctica, the global estimates of glacier mass loss obtained from glacier-length-based reconstructions and from a glacier model driven by gridded climate observations are now consistent with each other, and also with an estimate for the years 2003-2009 that is mostly based on remotely sensed data. This consistency is found throughout the entire common periods of the respective data sets. Inconsistencies of reconstructions and observations persist in estimates on regional scales.
Marzeion, B.; Leclercq, P. W.; Cogley, J. G.; Jarosch, A. H.
Recent estimates of the contribution of glaciers to sea-level rise during the 20th century are strongly divergent. Advances in data availability have allowed revisions of some of these published estimates. Here we show that outside of Antarctica, the global estimates of glacier mass change obtained from glacier-length-based reconstructions and from a glacier model driven by gridded climate observations are now consistent with each other, and also with an estimate for the years 2003-2009 that is mostly based on remotely sensed data. This consistency is found throughout the entire common periods of the respective data sets. Inconsistencies of reconstructions and observations persist in estimates on regional scales.
Kargel, J. S.; Wessels, R.; Kieffer, H. H.
Glaciers around the world are, with rare exceptions, stagnating or in hasty retreat. Whether growing or shrinking, significant changes in the extent of glaciers have major impacts on nature and humanity in their immediate vicinity, because land uses are utterly different depending on whether the land is covered by ice. Upon glacier retreat, new land uses may become possible: (1) Transportation corridors may become feasible where previously there were barriers. (2) Exposure of the lithosphere may yield mineral riches that previously were inaccessible. (3) New wildlife habitat and migration routes may develop, thus promoting genetic diffusion/interbreeding of previously isolated populations. Glacier impacts go well beyond the locality where they occur. Many glaciers regulate water flow, and contribute to annual water availability and hydropower production. In some regions, such in the Hindu Kush-Himlaya (HKH), especially the western provinces of China, the carrying capacity of the land and further economic development and well-being of the populace is partly dependent on melting glaciers. In India, \\8 billion worth of hydroelectric power (at U.S. electric rates) is generated each year; 50% of that is attributable to runoff from Himalayan glaciers and high-altitude snow fields. Nearly \\1 billion worth of hydroelectric power is due to the current negative mass balance of glaciers. In Nepal, glaciogenic hydropower is even more crucial. Although it may be many decades in coming, the ongoing sharp reduction in glacier area in the HKH will eventually be reflected in heightened water shortages in a region where water already is in short supply. Other glaciers store large amounts of meltwater and release it suddenly, causing havoc and taking lives downstream. This is a major problem in the HKH region and is significant locally in other heavily glaciated regions, such as Alaska. Sea level is a global issue impacted significantly by melting glaciers wherever they occur
Rivera, A.; Casassa, G.; Bown, F.; Fernandez, A.
The glaciers located in the Chilean southern Andes region (41-51S) have been re- treating and shrinking during most of the last century, in response to a climate warm- ing trend recognised in many climatic stations of the country. During recent years, several calving and small mountain glaciers have been analysed, in an attempt to cor- relate the short historical glacier variation (no longer than 150 years) with long term dendrochronological series (from 300 to 1000 years). The aim of this analysis is to un- derstand climate change during the last millennia, as well as the mechanisms of glacier response to such climatic changes. In this context, mass balance studies are one of the most important approaches to determine the specific relationship of glaciers to annual and decadal climatic changes. In Chile, only one glacier (glaciar Echaurren, 33S) has been systematically measured since 1975, generating the longest mass balance series of the country. To account for the mass balance of glaciers in the southern region of Chile, a geodetic method is presented, based upon the comparison of digital elevation models (DEM) obtained from aerial photographs and ASTER imagery from different dates. This method have been applied to glaciar Chico located at 49S in the Southern Patagonia Icefield, where we have generated DEMs from aerial photographs of 1975 and 1995, as well as one DEM from an ASTER image of October 2001. The DEMs are geo-referenced to a network of GPS points, measured in several field campaigns carried out during recent years at rock outcrops and in the accumulation area of the glacier. The last campaign was done during September and October 2001, allowing a high accuracy ground control validation for DEM derived from the contemporary ASTER image. The mass balance analysis is complemented with frontal variations derived from Landsat TM imagery, as well as field data and aerial photographs. One preliminary result of this study shows a consistent ice thinning, at
Although Columbia Glacier is one of the largest sources of glacier mass loss in Alaska, surface mass balance measurements are sparse, with only a single data set available from 1978. The dearth of surface mass-balance data prohibits partitioning of the total mass losses between dynamics and surface forcing; however, the accurate inclusion of calving glaciers into predictive models requires both dynamic and climatic forcing of total mass balance. During 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey collected surface balance data at several locations distributed over the surface of Columbia Glacier to estimate the glacier-wide annual balance for balance year 2010 using the 2007 area-altitude distribution. This report also summarizes data collected in 1978, calculates the 1978 annual surface balance, and uses these observations to constrain the 2010 values, particularly the shape of the balance profile. Both years exhibit balances indicative of near-equilibrium surface mass-balance conditions, and demonstrate the importance of dynamic processes during the rapid retreat.
Glacier mass changes are a valuable indicator of climate variability and monsoon oscillation on the underexplored Tibetan Plateau. In this study data from the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite (ICESat) is employed to estimate elevation and mass changes of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau between 2003 and 2009. In order to get a representative sample size of ICESat measurements, glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau were grouped into eight climatically homogeneous sub-regions. Most negative mass budgets of − 0.77 ± 0.35 m w.e. a−1 were found for the Qilian Mountains and eastern Kunlun Mountains while a mass gain of + 0.37 ± 0.25 m w.e. a−1 was found in the westerly-dominated north-central part of the Tibetan Plateau. A total annual mass budget of − 15.6 ± 10.1 Gt a−1 was estimated for the eight sub-regions sufficiently covered by ICESat data which represents ∼80% of the glacier area on the Tibetan Plateau. 13.9 ± 8.9 Gt a−1 (or 0.04 ± 0.02 mm a−1 sea-level equivalent) of the total mass budget contributed ‘directly’ to the global sea-level rise while 1.7 ± 1.9 Gt a−1 drained into endorheic basins on the plateau. (paper)
R. J. Braithwaite
Herfried Hoinkes (1916 to 1975) was a glacier researcher and university teacher who made great contributions to the early development of modern glaciology but I concentrate on his work on the mass balance of an Austrian glacier Hintereisferner. In a series of paper from 1962 to 1975, he showed that the mass balance is strongly correlated with positive degree-day (PDD) totals extrapolated from a nearby climate station. He achieved further improvements in correlations by accounting for fresh sn...
A. J. Payne
Full Text Available The study of European and Russian Quaternary glacial-geological evidence during the last 15 years has generated sufficient to data to use former glacial extent as a proxy for Last Glacial Maximum (LGM climate at a continental scale. Utilisation of such data is relevant for two reasons. First, continental to global scale proxy reconstructions of past climate are an important tool in the assessment of retrospective general circulation model (GCM simulations. Second, the development of a multi-proxy approach will result in a more robust proxy based climate signal. A new and independent dataset of 36 LGM climate estimates derived from European and Russian mountain regions is presented in this paper. A simple glacier-climate model was used to establish the optimum LGM climate conditions for each region from a suite of over 4000 model climates using the principle of zero cumulative mass balance. Clear regional trends are present in the reconstructed LGM climates; temperature anomalies north of the Alps are 2°C and 5°C larger than those in the western and eastern Mediterranean, respectively. In Russia the model results suggest that both the Arctic Urals and Puterana Plateau were probably glaciated by small mountain glaciers during the LGM.
Full Text Available The recent evolution of Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya (PKH glaciers, widely acknowledged as valuable high-altitude as well as mid-latitude climatic indicators, remains poorly known. To overcome the lack of region-wide mass balance data, we compared the 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM digital elevation model (DEM to recent (2008–2011 DEMs derived from SPOT5 stereo-imagery for 8 sites spread from Pamir to eastern Himalaya. The region-wide glacier mass balances were contrasted during the last decade, with moderate mass losses in eastern and central Himalaya (−0.21 ± 0.10 m yr−1 w.e. to −0.29 ± 0.09 m yr−1 w.e. and larger losses in western Himalaya (−0.41 ± 0.11 m yr−1 w.e.. Recently reported slight mass gain of glaciers in central Karakoram is confirmed for a larger area (+0.10 ± 0.19 m yr−1 w.e. and, new, also observed for glaciers in western Pamir (+0.14 ± 0.10 m yr−1 w.e.. We propose that the "Karakoram anomaly" should be renamed the "Pamir-Karakoram anomaly", at least for the last decade. The overall mass balance of PKH glaciers is estimated at −0.12 ± 0.06 m yr−1 w.e. In contrast to Indus, the relative glacier imbalance contribution to Brahmaputra and Ganges discharges is higher than previously modeled glacier seasonal contribution.
Schröer, Katharina; Marzeion, Ben
The knowledge of the development of glaciers in both past and future is valuable for understanding our climate system. The vast majority of the world's glaciers is poorly observed and often no data or resources are available to study them. Minimal modelling approaches requiring a minimal amount of easily available input data can be a valuable first step to gain valuable information at low cost. This study is concerned with the effects of the spatial and temporal resolution of gridded input data on the applicability of a minimal surface mass balance model. Three sources of temperature and precipitation data freely available for the Alpine region were used to drive a statistical multiple linear regression surface mass balance model (HISTALP 'grid mode 2' instrumental database, monthly, 5' spatial resolution (Auer et al., 2007); CRU TS 3.10.01 instrumental database, monthly, 0.5° spatial resolution (Harris et al., 2013); European temperature and precipitation reconstructions 1500-2000, seasonal, 0.5° spatial resolution (Luterbacher et al., 2004; Pauling et al., 2006)). The model is trained, tested and cross-validated to test the model's robustness using the different datasets. The surface mass balance model is coupled to a simple volume-area and volume-length scaling scheme to roughly include surface mass balance and glacier geometry feedbacks. Observed mass balance data of Hintereisferner in the Ötztal Alps (Austria) allow for a sound validation of the model. The findings of the study reveal that there is only a weak dependency of the reliability of the multiple linear regression model on the spatial resolution of the input data sets. The anomalies of the regional HISTALP 5' grid mode 2 data series were not found to lead to better model results than the anomalies of the 0.5° global CRU TS 3.10.01 data set. An artificial deterioration of the input data quality by aggregating the 5' data grid to 10' and 0.5° of spatial resolution did even lead to slightly enhanced
王盛; 蒲健辰; 王宁练
依据2010年6月30日-9月5日考察期间获得的七一冰川物质平衡和气温降水等气象资料,运用度日物质平衡模型模拟了七一冰川的物质平衡变化状况.结果表明：七一冰川考察期间物质平衡为-856.2mm w.e..受气温、降水等气候因素的强烈影响,物质平衡过程明显分为＂微弱积累-强烈消融-微弱消融＂3个阶段.度日物质平衡模型模拟的冰川物质平衡与实测值的变化趋势基本一致,整体反映了冰川物质平衡随海拔上升而增大的空间分布特征.物质平衡的气候敏感性实验表明,物质平衡对气温升降的变化非常敏感,气温是影响冰川物质平衡的主导因素,当气温持续升高时,降水量的少量增加对物质平衡的影响将变得很小.%Based on glacier mass balance,air temperature and precipitation of the Qiyi Glacier from Jun.30 to Sept.5,2010,a degree-day mass balance model was established to imitate the change of mass balance during this period.Observation indicates that the value of mass balance was-856.2 mm w.e.,which is subjected to strong impact of air temperature and precipitation.The mass balance process can be divided into three stages,i.e.,exiguous accumulation,intensive ablation and exiguous ablation.The variation trend of mass balance simulated with the degree-day mass balance model is similar to the observed one.The simulation wholly reflects the spatial distribution characteristics of glacier mass balance which increases with the increase of altitude.The experiment on climate sensitivity of mass balance shows that mass balance is very sensitive to the change of air temperature;air temperature is the key factor which influences mass balance;when air temperature rises continuously,a little increase in precipitation will have a negligible effect on mass balance.
The Tien Shan ranges play a pivotal role in supplying freshwater for the Central Asian region. There, climate-driven streamflow changes have direct implications on freshwater supply, irrigation and hydropower potential. The objective of this thesis is to assess the impacts of climate change on glaciers, rock glaciers and water availability in the Tien Shan region. For this purpose, a comprehensive literature review has been carried out as a basis for a climate change impact case study. Modeli...
Medwedeff, William G.; Roe, Gerard H.
Glacier mass balance (i.e., accumulation and ablation) is the most direct connection between climate and glaciers. We perform a comprehensive evaluation of the available global network of mass-balance measurements. Each mass-balance time series is decomposed into a trend and the variability about that trend. Observed variability ranges by an order of magnitude, depending on climate setting (i.e., maritime vs continental). For the great majority of glaciers, variability is well characterized by normally distributed, random fluctuations that are uncorrelated between seasons, or in subsequent years. The magnitude of variability for both summer and winter is well correlated with mean wintertime balance, which reflects the climatic setting. Collectively, summertime variability exceeds wintertime variability, except for maritime glaciers. Trends in annual mass balance are generally negative, driven primarily by summertime changes. Approximately 25 % of annual-mean records show statistically significant negative trends when judged in isolation. In aggregate, the global trend is negative and significant. We further evaluate the magnitude of trends relative to the variability. We find that, on average, trends are approximately -0.2 standard deviations per decade, although there is a broad spread among individual glaciers. Finally, for two long records we also compare mass-balance trends and variability with nearby meteorological stations. We find significant differences among stations meaning caution is warranted in interpreting any point measurement (such as mass balance) as representative of region-wide behavior. By placing observed trends in the context of natural variability, the results are useful for interpreting past glacial history, and for placing constraints on future predictability.
Weber, S.L.; Oerlemans, J.
Synthetic glacier length records are generated for the Holocene epoch using a process-based glacier model coupled to the intermediate-complexity climate model ECBilt. The glacier model consists of a massbalance component and an ice-flow component. The climate model is forced by the insolation change
Su, Fengge; Ren, Zheng; Xu, Baiqing; Kan, Baoyun; Xie, Ying
A distributed energy-based glacier model coupled with a land surface hydrology model is developed and validated over the Muji Glacier (39.1865° N, 73.746°E, 5532-4715 m above sea level, 2.42 km2) on the eastern edge of the Pamirs with meteorological measurements and mass balance stake records on the glacier. Surface energy fluxes and melt rates are simulated for each 30m × 30m grid cell at a 3-hourly resolution for the period July 2011 to September 2014. The inputs of the coupled model include daily maximum and minimum air temperature, daily precipitation, wind speed, slope and aspect, and elevation of each grid cell. A new scheme of downward shortwave and longwave radiation is developed based on the limited climate inputs. The simulated incoming shortwave and longwave radiation, and albedo are compared with the measurements from 3 automatic weather stations during July 2011-September 2014. The mass balance over each 30m × 30m grid cell is simulated for the entire Muji Glacier with the distributed energy balance model for the three water years. The simulated mass balance is validated with the stake records for both melt and accumulation seasons and the validation results are plausible. The coupled energy-based-glacier-hydrology model will be further validated at the basin scale with measured glacier runoff.
Solomina, Olga; Bushueva, Irina; Dolgova, Ekaterina; Jomelli, Vincent; Alexandrin, Mikhail; Mikhalenko, Vladimir; Matskovsky, Vladimir
In the Northern Caucasus, glacier and climatic variations over the past centuries remain insufficiently documented. In this review, we summarized the high-resolution information on glacier and climate fluctuations in the region for the past millennium and provided a synthesis of these two lines of evidence with respect to regional climate change. The key areas considered in the paper are the Elbrus area, the Teberda and Arkhyz valleys in the Western Caucasus and the Cherek Bezengiisky and Tsey valleys in the Eastern Caucasus, where the most paleoclimatic evidence has been retrieved. We focused on the fluctuation records of the ten glaciers that are best documented. To reconstruct changes in glacier length in the past, we used aerial photos, optical space images, repeated photographs and old maps. The ages of moraines were defined with the help of instrumental records, historical images, old maps, and tree-ring dating. Lichenometry was used as a supplementary tool to determine the relative ages of glacial landforms. We reviewed the collection of control points used for the lichenometric curves and determined the time limit of potential use of this method in the Caucasus to be up to one millennium. High-resolution tree-ring-based hydroclimatic reconstructions in the Northern Caucasus are presented based on the reconstruction of June-September temperature (1595-2012 CE), the mass balance reconstruction of the Garabashi Glacier (1800-2008 CE) and the runoff of the Teberda River (low-frequency variations) for May, July and August for 1850-2005 CE. The synthesis of all the available paleoclimatic records revealed several distinct climatic periods. Evidence of a warm interval (traditionally referred to as the "Arkhyz break in glaciation") preceding the Little Ice Age (LIA) in the Caucasus is based on archeological, palynological, geochemical and pedological data. However, the conclusions concerning the duration and magnitude of this warming are still vague due to the low
Davis, Jennifer L.
Glaciers play an important role in both storage and generation of runoff within individual watersheds. The Valdez Glacier catchment (342 km2), located in southern Alaska in the Chugach mountains off of Prince William Sound, is characterized by large annual volumes of rain- and snowfall. As Valdez Glacier and other glaciers within the catchment (comprising 58% of the catchment area) continue to melt in a warming climate, it is unclear how the runoff will be affected. Temperature-index modeling is one method used to estimate glacier mass balance and runoff in highly glacierized catchments, and may be suitable for predicting future runoff regimes. In this study, we used a combination of field measurements (air temperature, glacier mass balance, streamflow, and ground-penetrating radar (GPR)-derived snow water equivalent (SWE) from a parallel study) and modeled climate data (PRISM) to a) calibrate a temperature-index model to glacier mass balance in 2012; b) validate the model to laser altimetry; and c) calibrate a temperature-index model to runoff measurements in fall of 2012 and in spring, summer and fall of 2013. We calibrated the snow-radiation coefficient (rsnow), ice-radiation coefficient (rice), and melt factor (MF) of the temperature-index model to glacier mass balance measurements from 2012. Using the calibrated- rsnow, r ice, and MF (i.e. rsnow, rice, and MF = 0.20, 0.50 and 4.0, respectively), we calculated 2012 annual glacier mass balance (Ba) at 0.05 +/- 0.49 meters water equivalent (m w.eq.). We next validated the model to 2012 laser altimetry annual glacier mass balance estimates (Ba = 0.20 +/- 0.6 m w.eq.). We then modeled glacier mass balance in 2013 using rsnow, rice, and MF from the 2012 calibration. The model underestimated summer glacier mass balance in 2013, resulting in annual glacier mass balance (Ba = 0.55 m w.eq.) that did not fall within the 2013 laser altimetry annual balance estimate (Ba = -1.15 +0.29/-0.30 m w.eq.). We therefore re
Nilsson, Johan; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Barletta, Valentina Roberta; Forsberg, René
regional mass balance of Arctic ice caps and glaciers to different regionalization schemes. The sensitivity analysis is based on studying the spread of mass changes and their associated errors, and the suitability of the different regionalization techniques is assessed through cross validation.The cross-validation...... results shows comparable accuracies for all regionalization methods, but the inferred mass changein individual regions, such as Svalbard and Iceland, can vary up to 4 Gt a-1, which exceeds the estimated errors by roughly50 % for these regions. This study further finds that this spread in mass balance is......The mass balance of glaciers and ice caps is sensitive to changing climate conditions. The mass changes derived n this study are determined from elevation changes derived measured by the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) for the time period 2003–2009. Four methods, based on...
Lowell, Thomas V.
Understanding abrupt climate changes requires detailed spatial/temporal records of such changes, and to make these records, we need rapidly responding, geographically widespread climate trackers. Glacial systems are such trackers, and recent additions to the stratigraphic record show overall synchronous response of glacial systems to climate change reflecting global atmosphere conditions.
DU Jiankuo; HE Yuanqing; LI Shuang; WANG Shijin; NIU Hewen; XIN Huijuan; PU Tao
The accumulation and ablation of a glacier directly reflect its mass income and wastage,and ice temperature indicates glacier's climatic and dynamic conditions.Glaciological studies at Baishui Glacier No.1 in Mt.Yulong are important for estimating recent changes of the cryosphere in Hengduan Mountains.Increased glacier ablation and higher ice temperatures can cause the incidents of icefall.Therefore,it is important to conduct the study of glacier mass balance and ice temperature,but there are few studies in relation to glacier's mass balance and active-layer temperature in China's monsoonal temperate glacier region.Based on the field observations of mass balance and glacier temperature at Baishui Glacier No.1,its accumulation,ablation,net balance and near-surface ice temperature structure were analyzed and studied in this paper.Results showed that the accumulation period was ranged from October to the following mid-May,and the ablation period occurred from mid-May to October,suggesting that the ablation period of temperate glacier began about 15 days earlier than that of continental glaciers,while the accumulation period began about 15 days later.The glacier ablation rate was 6.47 cm d-1 at an elevation of 4600 m between June 23 and August 30,and it was 7.4 cm d-1 at 4800 m between June 26 and July 11 in 1982,moreover,they respectively increased to 9.2 cm d-1 and 10.8 cm d-1 in the corresponding period and altitude in 2009,indicating that glacier ablation has greatly intensified in the past years.The temperature of the main glacier body was close to melting point in summer,and it dropped from the glacier surface and reached a minimum value at a depth of 4-6 m in the ablation zone.The temperature then rose to around melting point with the depth increment.In winter,the ice temperature rose gradually with the increasing depth,and close to melting point at the depth of 10 m.Compared with the data from 1982,the glacier temperature has risen in the ablation zone in
J. I. López-Moreno
Full Text Available This paper analyzes the evolution of the Monte Perdido Glacier, the third largest glacier of the Pyrenees, from 1981 to the present. We assessed the evolution of the glacier's surface area by use of aerial photographs from 1981, 1999, and 2006, and changes in ice volume by geodetic methods with digital elevation models (DEMs generated from topographic maps (1981 and 1999, airborne LIDAR (2010 and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. We interpreted the changes in the glacier based on climate data from a nearby meteorological station. The results indicate an accelerated degradation of this glacier after 2000, with a rate of ice surface loss that was almost three-times greater from 2000 to 2006 than for earlier periods, and a doubling of the rate of ice volume loss from 1999 to 2010 (the ice depth decreased 8.98 ± 1.8 m, −0.72 ± 0.14 m w.e. yr−1 compared to 1981 to 1999 (the ice depth decreased 8.35 ± 2.12 m, −0.39 ± 0.1 m w.e. yr−1. This loss of glacial ice has continued from 2011 to 2014 (the ice depth decreased 2.1 ± 0.4 m, −0.64 ± 0.36 m w.e. yr−1. Local climatic changes during the study period cannot explain the acceleration in wastage rate of this glacier, because local precipitation and snow accumulation increased slightly, and local air temperature during the ablation period did not significantly increase. The accelerated degradation of this glacier in recent years can be explained by the lack of equilibrium between the glacier and the current climatic conditions. In particular, the average air temperature increased by at least 0.9 °C in this region since the end of the Little Ice Age (LIA in the mid-1800s. Thus, this glacier shrinks dramatically during years with low accumulation or high air temperatures during the ablation season, but cannot recover during years with high accumulation or low air temperatures during the ablation season. The most recent TLS data support this interpretation. These
Saemundsson, Thorsteinn; Margeirsson, Guðbjörn
During the last 15 years several mass movements of various size and origin, e.g. rock avalanches, rock slides and debris slides have been observed to have fall on outlet glaciers in Iceland. This should not come as a surprise in this type of glacial environment, but in a way it does. When looking at the history only few mass movements are recorded to have fall on outlet glaciers in Iceland, during the decades before the year 2000 or since 1960. This "lack of mass movements" can be explained by the fact that fewer observations and monitoring were done in the past, but is it so or are we seeing increasing activity? Looking at the distribution of the known mass movements, two activity periods cam be identified. The former one around 1970 and the second one starting around 2000 and is still ongoing. Both of these periods are characterized by warmer climate leading to retreating phases of glaciers. Two larger mass movements are known from these two retreating periods. The former one occurred in January 1967. Then a large rockslide fell on the snout and into the glacial lake of the Steinholtsjökull outlet glacier in the northern side of the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap. The rockslide broke up the snout of the glacier and caused large floodwave bursting down the Steinholtsdalur valley transporting large volume of sediments down its path. The later one occurred in 2007, when a large rockavalanche fell on the Morsárjökull outlet glacier, in the southern side of the Vatnajökull ice cap. The avalanche debris covered around 1/5 of the glacier surface. Today the retreat and thinning of glaciers in Iceland are extremely rapid. The consequences of such a rapid retreat are e.g. unstable valley slopes surrounding the outlet glaciers, both in loose sediments and bedrock, thawing of mountain permafrost and not least formation of glacial lakes in front of the rapid retreating ice margins. Such conditions can become extremely hazardous, as seen by the above mentioned examples, both
V. G. Konovalov
Full Text Available The work was aimed at numerical modeling of spatial-temporal variability of the river Terek seasonal (April to September streamflow characteristics and long-term fluctuations of components of annual glacier mass balances in this basin and on the adjacent territories. Mass balance of glaciers Djankuat and Garabashi was calculated. Simulation was performed by means of stochastic modeling and discrete data presenting fields of main meteorological parameters (precipitation, air temperature and humidity having effect on the streamflow. Realization of this approach is complicated by the fact that spatial representativeness of hydrological and meteorological sites are not corresponding one to another. Data on the runoff is clearly related to the total drainage area closed by a gauging station. And for this data we study a relationship with meteorological parameters which are measured at a non-regular observational network whose spatial representativeness is unknown. These stations are generally located beyond the area under investigation (Fig. 2. Similar problem exists when we analyze a relationship between components of the mass balance of individual glaciers (Djankuat and Garabashi and the above climate characteristics measured at some stations located on the whole Caucasus territory. The same takes place when long-term indices of width and density of tree annual rings obtained in upper reaches of the river Kuban’ are used for analysis of variations of the runoff and the glacier mass balance in the river Terek basin located at a distance of 100-150 km from the Kuban’ dendrologic sites.To solve the problem we used a wide number of factors which directly (various information about the climate or indirectly (indices of the climate dryness, wood ring characteristics characterize conditions of formation of annual and seasonal river runoff and components of glacier mass balance in the North Caucasus. Use of all obtained information made possible the
Full Text Available The impact of climate change on Himalaya mountain glaciers is increasingly subject of public and scientific debate. However, observational data are sparse and important knowledge gaps remain in the understanding of what drives changes in these glaciers' mass balances. The present study investigates the glacier regime on Chhota Shigri, a benchmark glacier for the observation of climate change in the monsoon-arid transition zone of Western Himalaya. Results of an energy-balance model driven by reanalysis data and the observed mass balances from three years on 50 m altitude intervals across the glacier display a correlation coefficient of 0.974. Contrary to prior assumptions, monsoon precipitation accounts for a quarter to a third of total accumulation. It has an additional importance because it lowers the surface albedo during the ablation season. Results confirm radiation as the main energy source for melt on Himalaya glaciers. Latent heat flux acts as an important energy sink in the pre-monsoon season. Mass balance is most sensitive to changes in atmospheric humidity, changing by 900 mm w.e. per 10% change in humidity. Temperature sensitivity is 220 mm w.e.K−1. Model results using 21st century anomalies from a regional climate model based on the SRES A2 scenario suggest that a monsoon increase might offset the effect of warming.
U.S. Geological Survey
Fifty years of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research on glacier change shows recent dramatic shrinkage of glaciers in three climatic regions of the United States. These long periods of record provide clues to the climate shifts that may be driving glacier change. The USGS Benchmark Glacier Program began in 1957 as a result of research efforts during the International Geophysical Year (Meier and others, 1971). Annual data collection occurs at three glaciers that represent three climatic regions in the United States: South Cascade Glacier in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State; Wolverine Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula near Anchorage, Alaska; and Gulkana Glacier in the interior of Alaska (fig. 1).
M. S. Pelto
Full Text Available North Cascade glacier annual balance measured on 10 glaciers from 1984–2006 yielded mean annual balance (ba of –0.54 m/a, and –12.38 m cumulatively. This is a significant loss for glaciers that average 30–60 m in thickness, representing 20–40% of their entire volume. Two observed glaciers, Lewis Glacier and Spider Glacier, no longer exist. The ba of North Cascade glaciers is reliably calculated based on 1 April snowpack water equivalent and ablation season temperature. 1 May forecasting of ba using the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Multivariate El Nino Southern Oscillation circulation indices correctly determined the sign of mass balance in 42 of 47 years. Glacier annual balance forecasting is an important step for summer water resource management in glacier runoff dominated stream systems. The forecast for North Cascade glaciers in 2007 is for a negative annual balance.
Adhikari, S; Marshall, S. J.; Huybrechts, P.
Himalayan glaciers are considered to be amongst the most sensitive glaciers to climate change. However, the response behaviour of these glaciers is not well understood. Here we use several approaches to estimate characteristic timescales of glacier AX010, a small valley glacier in the Nepal Himalaya, as a measure of glacier sensitivity. Assuming that temperature solely defines the mass budget, glacier AX010 waits for about 8 yr (r...
Sirguey, Pascal; Still, Holly; Cullen, Nicolas J.; Dumont, Marie; Arnaud, Yves; Conway, Jonathan P.
In New Zealand, direct measurements of mass balance are sparse due to the inaccessibility of glaciers in the Southern Alps and the logistical difficulties associated with maintaining a mass balance record. In order to explore the benefit of remotely sensed imaging to monitor mass balance in the Southern Alps, this research assesses the relationship between measurements of glacier surface albedo derived from MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and mass balance observations us...
Immerzeel, Walter W.; van Beek, L. P. H.; Konz, M.; Shrestha, A. B.; M. F. P. Bierkens
The analysis of climate change impact on the hydrology of high altitude glacierized catchments in the Himalayas is complex due to the high variability in climate, lack of data, large uncertainties in climate change projection and uncertainty about the response of glaciers. Therefore a high resolution combined cryospheric hydrological model was developed and calibrated that explicitly simulates glacier evolution and all major hydrological processes. The model was used to assess the future deve...
Full Text Available The aim of this paper is to provide the community with a comprehensive overview of the studies of glaciers in the tropical Andes conducted in recent decades leading to the current status of the glaciers in the context of climate change. In terms of changes in surface area and length, we show that the glacier retreat in the tropical Andes over the last three decades is unprecedented since the maximum extension of the LIA (mid 17th–early 18th century. In terms of changes in mass balance, although there have been some sporadic gains on several glaciers, we show that the trend has been quite negative over the past 50 yr, with a mean mass balance deficit for glaciers in the tropical Andes that is slightly more negative than the computed global average. A break point in the trend appeared in the late 1970s with mean annual mass balance per year decreasing from −0.2 m w.e. in the period 1964–1975 to −0.76 m w.e. in the period 1976–2010. In addition, even if glaciers are currently retreating everywhere in the tropical Andes, it should be noted that as a percentage, this is much more pronounced on small glaciers at low altitudes that do not have a permanent accumulation zone, and which could disappear in the coming years/decades. Monthly mass balance measurements performed in Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia showed that variability of the surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean is the main factor governing variability of the mass balance variability at the interannual to decadal time scale. Precipitation did not display a significant trend in the tropical Andes in the 20th century, and consequently cannot explain the glacier recession. On the other hand, temperature increased at a significant rate of 0.10 °C decade−1 in the last 70 yr. The higher frequency of El Niño events and changes in its spatial and temporal occurrence since the late 1970s together with a warming troposphere over the tropical Andes may thus explain much of the
Maussion, F.; Gurgiser, W.; Großhauser, M.; Kaser, G.; Marzeion, B.
The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major driver of climate variability in the tropical Andes, where recent Niño and Niña events left an observable footprint on glacier mass balance. The nature and strength of the relationship between ENSO and glacier mass balance, however, varies between regions and time periods, leaving several unanswered questions about its exact mechanisms. The starting point of this study is a 4-year long time series of distributed surface energy and mass balance (SEB/SMB) calculated using a process-based model driven by observations at Shallap Glacier (Cordillera Blanca, Peru). These data are used to calibrate a regression-based downscaling model that links the local SEB/SMB fluxes to atmospheric reanalysis variables on a monthly basis, allowing an unprecedented quantification of the ENSO influence on the SEB/SMB at climatological time scales (1980-2013, ERA-Interim period). We find a stronger and steadier anti-correlation between Pacific sea-surface temperature (SST) and glacier mass balance than previously reported. This relationship is most pronounced during the wet season (December-May) and at low altitudes where Niño (Niña) events are accompanied with a snowfall deficit (excess) and a higher (lower) radiation energy input. We detect a weaker but significant ENSO anti-correlation with total precipitation (Niño dry signal) and positive correlation with the sensible heat flux, but find no ENSO influence on sublimation. Sensitivity analyses comparing several downscaling methods and reanalysis data sets resulted in stable mass balance correlations with Pacific SST but also revealed large uncertainties in computing the mass balance trend of the last decades. The newly introduced open-source downscaling tool can be applied easily to other glaciers in the tropics, opening new research possibilities on even longer time scales.
B. Marzeion; A. H. Jarosch; Hofer, M.
We present estimates of sea-level change caused by the global surface mass balance of glaciers, based on the reconstruction and projection of the surface mass balance of all the individual glaciers of the world, excluding the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. The model is validated using a leave-one-glacier-out cross-validation scheme against 3997 observed surface mass balances of 255 glaciers, and against 756 geodetically observed, temporally integrated volume and surface area changes ...
Marzeion, B.; A. Nesje
We present and validate a set of minimal models of glacier mass balance variability. The most skillful model is then applied to reconstruct 7735 individual time series of mass balance variability for all glaciers in the European Alps and Scandinavia. Subsequently, we investigate the influence of atmospheric variability associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on the glaciers' mass balances.
We find a spatial coherence in the glaciers' sensitivity to NA...
Full Text Available Glaciers are an important source of fresh water for Central Asia as they release water during the summer months when precipitation is low and water demand highest. Many studies address glacier area changes but only changes in glacier mass can be directly linked to climate and runoff. Despite the importance, investigations of glacier mass changes have been restricted to only a few glaciers in the Tien Shan until now. Geodetic mass balance measurements are suitable to complement and extend existing in-situ measurements. In this study, both area and mass changes of the ~40 km² glacier ice in the Ala Archa Valley, Kyrgyz Tien Shan, were investigated using 1964 and 1971 stereo Corona, 2012 stereo ASTER, the SRTM digital terrain model and other optical data such as Landsat ETM+ or Rapid Eye. In addition, ice thickness was modeled taking the basal shear stress and the glacier surface topography into account. The results indicate an area loss of 18.3±5.0% from 1964 until 2010 with continuous shrinkage in all investigated periods. The glacier’s mass balance was −0.45±0.27 m w.e. a−1 for the period 1964–1999 and −0.42±0.66 m w.e. a−1 for 1999–2012. Golubin Glacier showed a possible slight mass gain for 1964– 1971 and a decelerated mass loss for the 1999–2012 period. This is in good agreement with existing in-situ measurements exiting from 1962 until 1994 and since 2010. The overall ice volume was estimated to be 1.56±0.47 km³ of ice in the year 2000. Hence, the entire ice would be lost by 2100 if the mass loss would continue at the same rate
Full Text Available We calculated the distributed surface mass and energy balance of Shallap Glacier, Cordillera Blanca, Peru (9° S, 77° W, 4700–5700 m a.s.l., ∼ 7 km2 on hourly time steps for two years (September 2006–August 2008 using a process-based model and meteorological measurements as input. Model parameter combinations were optimized against 21 temporal readings of 20 stakes in the ablation zone of the glacier. Uncertainty caused by model input parameters and parameterization schemes was estimated using a leave-one-out cross-validation scheme and yields values of root mean square deviation (RMSD of surface height change < 1m (< 10% of the measured amplitude for all stakes. With the best parameter combination (smallest RMSD applied, the modeled annual surface mass balance of the glacier was −0.32 ± 0.4 m w.e. for September 2006–August 2007 and 0.51 ± 0.56 m w.e. for September 2007–August 2008. While the mass balance above 5000 m was similar in both years (Δ 0.35 ± 0.68 m w.e. due to similar annual sums of solid precipitation, a difference of ∼ 2 ± 0.68 m w.e. was calculated for the lower parts of the glacier. This difference is associated with more frequent occurrence of higher snow line altitudes during the first year, which was mainly caused by a higher fraction of liquid precipitation due to higher mean air temperatures. As the net shortwave budget was found to be the main source for ablation throughout the year at Shallap Glacier, lower surface albedo caused by higher snow line altitudes explains most of the difference in modeled ablation and mass balance between the two years.
Full Text Available We calculated the distributed surface mass and energy balance of Shallap Glacier, Cordillera Blanca, Peru (9° S, 77° W, 4700–5700 m a.s.l., ~ 7 km2, on hourly time steps for two years (September 2006–August 2008 using a process-based model and meteorological measurements as input. Model parameter combinations were optimized against 21 temporal readings of 20 stakes in the ablation zone of the glacier. Uncertainty caused by model input parameters and parameterization schemes was estimated using a leave-one out cross-validation scheme, which yields values of root mean square deviation (RMSD of surface height change < 1 m (< 10% of the measured amplitude for all stakes. With the best parameter combination (smallest RMSD applied, the modeled annual surface mass balance of the glacier was −0.32 ± 0.4 m w.e. (water equivalent for September 2006–August 2007 and 0.51 ± 0.56 m w.e. for September 2007–August 2008. While the mass balance above 5000 m was similar in both years (Δ 0.33 ± 0.68 m w.e. due to similar annual sums of solid precipitation, a difference of 1.97 ± 0.68 m w.e. was calculated for the lower parts of the glacier. This difference is associated with more frequent occurrence of higher snow line altitudes during the first year, which was mainly caused by a higher fraction of liquid precipitation due to higher mean air temperatures. As the net shortwave budget was found to be the main source for ablation throughout the year at Shallap Glacier, lower surface albedo especially caused by lower solid precipitation amounts explains most of the difference in modeled ablation and mass balance between the two years.
Morlighem, M.; Rignot, E. J.; Mouginot, J.; Seroussi, H. L.
Bed topography, together with ice thickness, is an essential characteristic of glaciers and ice sheets for many glaciological applications. Despite significant technical advances, it remains challenging to measure ice thickness remotely, especially in deep troughs occupied by outlet glaciers. The method of mass conservation, that combines radar-derived ice thickness data with high-resolution InSAR-derived ice velocity vectors, provides an effective method for generating a high-resolution bed from sparse radar sounding profiles, and has been successfully applied along the coast of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Applying the same technique to the coast of the Antarctic Ice Sheet presents a number of challenges. The coverage of ice thickness data collected in Antarctica, for example, is much less comprehensive compared to Greenland, especially in the wake of NASA's Operation IceBridge (OIB) Mission in 2010-2015. Here, we combine radar sounder data collected by various centers (OIB/Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, the British Antarctic Survey and University of Texas) acquired between 1998 and 2011, with high-resolution ice motion data from interferometric SAR (ALOS PALSAR, RADARSAT-2 and Envisat ASAR) to reconstruct bed topography beneath major Antarctic outlet glaciers at an unprecedented level of detail. The results reveal some important features not known previously at that level of detail and shed light on the vulnerability of these glaciers in a warming climate. We find for example that Recovery glacier is deeper than in previous mappings and has long grooves parallel to the flow direction. Denman Glacier, East Antarctica, flow along a deep, narrow trough more than 2,000 m below sea level that extends more than 100 km inland. We find ridges and bumps in the vicinity of the grounding line of Thwaites Glacier, in the Amundsen Sea sector, that are consistent with the pattern of grounding line retreat. We have also a new mapping of the trough upstream of David
Reichert, B.K.; Bengtsson, L.; Oerlemans, J.
A process-oriented modeling approach is applied in order to simulate glacier mass balance for individual glaciers using statistically downscaled general circulation models (GCMs). Glacier-specific seasonal sensitivity characteristics based on a mass balance model of intermediate complexity are used
Barandun, Martina; Huss, Matthias; Azisov, Erlan; Gafurov, Abror; Hoelzle, Martin; Merkushkin, Aleksandr; Salzmann, Nadine; Usubaliev, Ryskul
The Abramov Glacier, located in the Pamir Alay in Kyrgyzstan, was subject to intense studies in the frame of various scientific programs under the former USSR. With the breakdown of the Soviet Union, the monitoring was abruptly abandoned in the late nineties. Well documented and continuous seasonal mass balance observations are available for 1968-1994. However, some inconsistencies between different publications lead to in-homogeneous data sets. Recently, the project CATCOS (Capacity Building and Twinning for Climate Observing Systems) was launched, aiming among other goals to re-establish mass balance observation on selected glaciers in Kyrgyzstan. At Abramov Glacier, a new stake network, an automatic weather station (AWS) and two automatic terrestrial cameras with instantaneous data transfer over satellite were installed in 2011. Measurements were repeated and intensified in 2012 and will be subject of a third field campaign in summer 2013. A complete re-analysis of the long-term mass balance series from 1968 to 1994 delivers corrected mass balance data for Abramov Glacier. To homogenize in-situ mass balance records, a spatially distributed mass balance model driven with local daily temperature and precipitation data was calibrated to each seasonal mass balance survey. The model resolves seasonal mass-balance measurements to a daily timescale and performs spatial inter- and extrapolation of data points based on a consistent algorithm, taking into account the principal factors of mass balance distribution. Summarizing the annually optimized parameters over the entire study period provides a robust model parameter set for years with less extensive direct measurements. From 1994 to 2011, neither direct point measurements nor meteorological data are available. In order to run the calibrated model developed for the 1960's to 90's, climate input variables were taken from bias corrected Re-analysis data (NCEP/NCAR and JRA). Evaluation of the model results was achieved
This study addresses the extrapolation of in-situ glacier mass balance measurements to the mountain-range scale and aims at deriving time series of area-averaged mass balance and ice volume change for all glaciers in the European Alps for the period 1900–2100. Long-term mass balance series for 50 Swiss glaciers based on a combination of field data and modelling, and WGMS data for glaciers in Austria, France and Italy are used. A complete glacier inventory is available for the year 2003. Mass ...
Geirsdóttir, Áslaug; Miller, Gifford H.; Axford, Yarrow; Ólafsdóttir, Sædís
Multiproxy climate records from Iceland document complex changes in terrestrial climate and glacier fluctuations through the Holocene, revealing some coherent patterns of change as well as significant spatial variability. Most studies on the Last Glacial Maximum and subsequent deglaciation reveal a dynamic Iceland Ice Sheet (IIS) that responded abruptly to changes in ocean currents and sea level. The IIS broke up catastrophically around 15 ka as the Polar Front migrated northward and sea level rose. Indications of regional advance or halt of the glaciers are seen in late Alleröd/early Younger Dryas time and again in PreBoreal time. Due to the apparent rise of relative sea level in Iceland during this time, most sites contain evidence for fluctuating, tidewater glacier termini occupying paleo fjords and bays. The time between the end of the Younger Dryas and the Preboreal was characterized by repeated jökulhlaups that eroded glacial deposits. By 10.3 ka, the main ice sheet was in rapid retreat across the highlands of Iceland. The Holocene thermal maximum (HTM) was reached after 8 ka with land temperatures estimated to be 3 °C higher than the 1961-1990 reference, and net precipitation similar to modern. Such temperatures imply largely ice-free conditions across Iceland in the early to mid-Holocene. Several marine and lacustrine sediment climate proxies record substantial summer temperature depression between 8.5 and 8 ka, but no moraines have been detected from that time. Termination of the HTM and onset of Neoglacial cooling took place sometime after 6 ka with increased glacier activity between 4.5 and 4.0 ka, intensifying between 3.0 and 2.5 ka. Although a distinct warming during the Medieval Warm Period is not dramatically apparent in Icelandic records, the interval from ca AD 0 to 1200 is commonly characterized by relative stability with slow rates of change. The literature most commonly describes Little Ice Age moraines (ca AD 1250-1900) as representing the
Masiokas, Mariano H.; Christie, Duncan A.; Le Quesne, Carlos; Pitte, Pierre; Ruiz, Lucas; Villalba, Ricardo; Luckman, Brian H.; Berthier, Etienne; Nussbaumer, Samuel U.; González-Reyes, Álvaro; McPhee, James; Barcaza, Gonzalo
Despite the great number and variety of glaciers in southern South America, in situ glacier mass-balance records are extremely scarce and glacier-climate relationships are still poorly understood in this region. Here we use the longest (> 35 years) and most complete in situ mass-balance record, available for the Echaurren Norte glacier (ECH) in the Andes at ˜ 33.5° S, to develop a minimal glacier surface mass-balance model that relies on nearby monthly precipitation and air temperature data as forcing. This basic model is able to explain 78 % of the variance in the annual glacier mass-balance record over the 1978-2013 calibration period. An attribution assessment identified precipitation variability as the dominant forcing modulating annual mass balances at ECH, with temperature variations likely playing a secondary role. A regionally averaged series of mean annual streamflow records from both sides of the Andes between ˜ 30 and 37° S is then used to estimate, through simple linear regression, this glacier's annual mass-balance variations since 1909. The reconstruction model captures 68 % of the observed glacier mass-balance variability and shows three periods of sustained positive mass balances embedded in an overall negative trend over the past 105 years. The three periods of sustained positive mass balances (centered in the 1920s-1930s, in the 1980s and in the first decade of the 21st century) coincide with several documented glacier advances in this region. Similar trends observed in other shorter glacier mass-balance series suggest that the Echaurren Norte glacier reconstruction is representative of larger-scale conditions and could be useful for more detailed glaciological, hydrological and climatological assessments in this portion of the Andes.
Full Text Available Most small glaciers in the world have significantly decreased their volume during the last century, which has caused water shortage problems. Glacier No. 1, at the headwaters of the Urumqi River, Tianshan, China, has been monitored since 1959 and similarly has experienced significant mass and volume losses over the last few decades. Thus, we examined the trend and potential abrupt changes of the mass balance of Glacier No. 1. Principal component analysis and singular value decomposition were used to find significant relations between the mass balance of Glacier No. 1 and Northern Hemisphere teleconnection patterns using climate indices. It was found that the mass balance of Glacier No. 1 had a significantly decreasing trend corresponding to −14.5 mm/year from 1959 to 2010. A change point was detected in 1997 with 99% confidence level. Two time periods with different mass balances were identified as 1959–1996 and 1997–2010. The mass balance for the first period was −136.4 mm/year and up to −663.9 mm/year for the second period. The mass balance of Glacier No. 1 is positively related to the Scandinavian Pattern (SCA, and negatively related to the East Atlantic Pattern (EA. These relationships are useful in better understanding the interaction between glacier mass balance and climate variability.
Bolch, T.; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Simonsen, Sebastian Bjerregaard;
The recently finalized inventory of Greenland's glaciers and ice caps (GIC) allows for the first time to determine the mass changes of the GIC separately from the ice sheet using space-borne laser altimetry data. Corrections for firn compaction and density that are based on climatic conditions are...
A. J. Payne
Full Text Available Understanding past climates using GCM models is critical to confidently predicting future climate change. Although previous analysis of GCM simulations have shown them to under predicted European glacial temperature anomalies (the difference between modern and glacial temperatures such analyses have focused primarily on results from glacial simulations alone. Here we compare glacial maximum GCM results with the palaeoenvironment derived from glacier-climate modelling. The comparison confirms that GCM anomalies are under predicted, and that this is due to modern conditions that are modelled too cold and glacial temperatures that are too warm. The result is that CGM results, if applied to a glacier mass balance model, over predict the extent of glaciers today, and under predict their extent at the last glacial (as depicted in glacial geological reconstructions. Effects such as seasonality and model parameterisation change the magnitude of the under prediction but still fail to match expected glacial conditions.
Immerzeel, Walter; Wanders, Niko; Lutz, Arthur; Shea, Joseph; Bierkens, Marc
Mountain ranges in Asia are important water suppliers, especially if downstream climates are arid, water demands are high and glaciers are abundant. In such basins, the hydrological cycle depends heavily on high-altitude precipitation. Yet direct observations of high-altitude precipitation are lacking and satellite derived products are of insufficient resolution and quality to capture spatial variation and magnitude of mountain precipitation. Here we use glacier mass balances to inversely infer the high-altitude precipitation in the upper Indus basin and show that the amount of precipitation required to sustain the observed mass balances of large glacier systems is far beyond what is observed at valley stations or estimated by gridded precipitation products. An independent validation with observed river flow confirms that the water balance can indeed only be closed when the high altitude precipitation on average is more than twice as high and in extreme cases up to a factor of 10 higher than previously thought. We conclude that these findings alter the present understanding of high-altitude hydrology and will have an important bearing on climate change impact studies, planning and design of hydropower plants and irrigation reservoirs as well as the regional geopolitical situation in general.
W. W. Immerzeel
Full Text Available Mountain ranges in Asia are important water suppliers, especially if downstream climates are arid, water demands are high and glaciers are abundant. In such basins, the hydrological cycle depends heavily on high altitude precipitation. Yet direct observations of high altitude precipitation are lacking and satellite derived products are of insufficient resolution and quality to capture spatial variation and magnitude of mountain precipitation. Here we use glacier mass balances to inversely infer the high altitude precipitation in the upper Indus Basin and show that the amount of precipitation required to sustain the observed mass balances of the large glacier systems is far beyond what is observed at valley stations or estimated by gridded precipitation products. An independent validation with observed river flow confirms that the water balance can indeed only be closed when the high altitude precipitation is up to a factor ten higher than previously thought. We conclude that these findings alter the present understanding of high altitude hydrology and will have an important bearing on climate change impact studies, planning and design of hydropower plants and irrigation reservoirs and the regional geopolitical situation in general.
Pellitero, Ramon; Rea, Brice R.; Spagnolo, Matteo; Hughes, Philip; Braithwaite, Roger; Renssen, Hans; Ivy-Ochs, Susan; Ribolini, Adriano; Bakke, Jostein; Lukas, Sven
We have reconstructed and calculated the glacier equilibrium line altitudes (ELA) for 120 Younger Dryas palaeoglaciers from Morocco in the south to Svalbard in the north and from Ireland in the west to Turkey in the east. The chronology of these landform were checked and, when derived from cosmogenic dates, these were recalculated based on newer production rates. Frontal moraines/limits for the palaeoglaciers were used to reconstruct palaeoglacier extent by using a GIS tool which implements a discretised solution for the assumption of perfect-plasticity ice rheology for a single flowline and extents this out to a 3D ice surface. From the resulting equilibrium profile, palaeoglaciers palaeo-ELAs were calculated using another GIS tool. Where several glaciers were reconstructed in a region, a single ELA value was generated following the methodology of Osmaston (2005). In order to utilise these ELAs for quantitative palaeo-precipitation reconstructions an independent regional temperature analysis was undertaken. A database of 121 sites was compiled where the temperature was determined from palaeoproxies other than glaciers (e.g. pollen, diatoms, choleoptera, chironimids…) in both terrestrial and offshore environments. These proxy data provides estimates of average annual, summer and winter temperatures. These data were merged and interpolated to generate maps of average temperature for the warmest and coldest months and annual average temperature. From these maps the temperature at the ELA was obtained using a lapse rate of 0.65°C/100m. Using the ELA temperature range and summer maximum in a degree-day model allows determination of the potential melt which can be taken as equivalent to precipitation given the assumption a glacier is in equilibrium with climate. Results show that during the coldest part of the Younger Dryas precipitation was high in the British Isles, the NW of the Iberian Peninsula and the Vosges. There is a general trend for declining precipitation
Reimond, Stefan; Baur, Oliver; Krauss, Sandro
Most scientific studies dealing with gravity-based ice-mass balance estimations focus on the Earth's continental glacier systems, namely the Greenland and the Antarctica ice sheets. Alpine glacier regions such as the Alps, Himalaya or Patagonia, on the other hand, seem to be less considered. According to the most recent assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), however, glacier shrinkage is one of the most dominant contributors to global sea level rise. In this context we investigate the capability of the point-mass modeling technique to assess ice-mass variations in small-scale alpine regions from space-borne gravimetric data. Two different approaches of this method can be distinguished: point-mass modeling with (i) predefined and fixed positions and (ii) with unknown locations of the surface mass changes. Approach (i) yields a linear functional model in which only the magnitudes of the point-masses are considered unknown. A highly non-linear optimization problem needs to be solved for approach (ii), since both the magnitudes and the coordinates of the point-masses are introduced as unknown parameters. In addition to that, owing to the effect of downward continuation, this problem is categorized as ill-posed and needs to be remedied by introducing regularization. The L-curve criterion or the generalized cross-validation method are typically used for selecting a suitable regularization factor. We conducted a series of close-loop simulation tests for various alpine glacier systems to compare the two approaches. In order to solve the global optimization problems in (i) and (ii), we make use of genetic algorithms.
Schneider, C.; Schnirch, M.; Kilian, R.; Acuña, C.; Casassa, G.
Within the framework of the program Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) a glacier inventory of the Peninsula Muñoz Gamero in the southernmost Andes of Chile (53°S) has been generated using aerial photopgrahy and Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery. The Peninsula is partly covered by the ice cap of the Gran Campo Nevado (GCN), including several outlet glaciers plus some minor glaciers and firn fields. All together the ice covered areas sum up to 260 km2. GCN forms the only major ice body between the Southern Patagonia Icefield and the Strait of Magallan. Its almost unique location in a zone affected year-round by the westerlies makes it a region of key interest in terms of glacier and climate change studies of the west-wind zone of the Southern Hemisphere. A digital elevation model (DEM) was created for the area, using aerial imagery from 1942, 1984, and 1998 and a Chilean topographic map (1: 100 000). All information was incorporated into a GIS together with satellite imagery from 1986 and 2001. Delineation of glacier inflow from the central plateau of Gran Campo Nevado was accomplished using an automatic module for watershed delineation within the GIS. The GIS served to outline the extent of the present glaciation of the peninsula, as well as to evaluate the derived historic information. The comparison of historic and recent imagery reveals a dramatic glacier retreat during the last 60 years. Some of the outlet glaciers lost more than 20% of their total area during this period. In February and March 2000 a automatic weather station (AWS) was run on a nameless outlet glacier, inofficially Glaciar Lengua, of the Gran Campo Nevado Ice Cap. From the computed energy balance, it was possible to derive degree-day factors for the Glaciar Lengua. With data from the nearby AWS at fjord coast (Bahia Bahamondes) we computed ablation for the summer seasons of 1999/2000, 2000/2001 and 2001/2002. Ablation at 450 m a.s.l. sums up to about 7 m in 1999/2000, 5.5 m in 2000
A. F. Lutz
Full Text Available Central Asian water resources largely depend on melt water generated in the Pamir and Tien Shan mountain ranges. To estimate future water availability in this region, it is necessary to use climate projections to estimate the future glacier extent and volume. In this study, we evaluate the impact of uncertainty in climate change projections on the future glacier extent in the Amu and Syr Darya river basins. To this end we use the latest climate change projections generated for the upcoming IPCC report (CMIP5 and, for comparison, projections used in the fourth IPCC assessment (CMIP3. With these projections we force a regionalized glacier mass balance model, and estimate changes in the basins' glacier extent as a function of the glacier size distribution in the basins and projected temperature and precipitation. This glacier mass balance model is specifically developed for implementation in large scale hydrological models, where the spatial resolution does not allow for simulating individual glaciers and data scarcity is an issue. Although the CMIP5 ensemble results in greater regional warming than the CMIP3 ensemble and the range in projections for temperature as well as precipitation is wider for the CMIP5 than for the CMIP3, the spread in projections of future glacier extent in Central Asia is similar for both ensembles. This is because differences in temperature rise are small during periods of maximum melt (July–September while differences in precipitation change are small during the period of maximum accumulation (October–February. However, the model uncertainty due to parameter uncertainty is high, and has roughly the same importance as uncertainty in the climate projections. Uncertainty about the size of the decline in glacier extent remains large, making estimates of future Central Asian glacier evolution and downstream water availability uncertain.
紺屋, 恵子; 門田, 勤; 矢吹, 裕伯; Davaa, Gombo; Purevdagva, Khalzan; 大畑, 哲夫
Fluctuation of glacier mass balance can be an indicator of climate change. Also, discharge from a glacier is necessary for water resources in arid region because glacier melt water is quasi-sustainable water resource. Asian glaciers show outstanding negative trend. There are many glaciers in Altai mountain range. It is revealed that glaciers in western Mongolia are retreating by Satellite image (Kadota and Gombo, 2007). However, less information has been obtained for Mongolian Altai because ...
Martina Barandun; Matthias Huss; Leo Sold; D. Farinotti; Erlan Azisov; Nadine Salzmann; Ryskul Usubaliev; Alexandr Merkushkin; Martin Hoelzle
Abramov glacier, located in the Pamir Alay, Kyrgyzstan, is a reference glacier within the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers. Long-term glaciological measurements exist from 1968 to 1998 and a mass-balance monitoring programme was re-established in 2011. In this study we re-analyse existing mass-balance data and use a spatially distributed mass-balance model to provide continuous seasonal time series of glacier mass balance covering the period 1968–2014. The model is calibrated to season...
Nilsson, J.; Sandberg Sørensen, L.; Barletta, V. R.; Forsberg, R.
The mass balance of glaciers and ice caps is sensitive to changing climate conditions. The mass changes derived in this study are determined from elevation changes derived measured by the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) for the time period 2003-2009. Four methods, based on interpolation and extrapolation, are used to regionalize these elevation changes to areas without satellite coverage. A constant density assumption is then applied to estimate the mass change by integrating over the entire glaciated region. The main purpose of this study is to investigate the sensitivity of the regional mass balance of Arctic ice caps and glaciers to different regionalization schemes. The sensitivity analysis is based on studying the spread of mass changes and their associated errors, and the suitability of the different regionalization techniques is assessed through cross-validation. The cross-validation results shows comparable accuracies for all regionalization methods, but the inferred mass change in individual regions, such as Svalbard and Iceland, can vary up to 4 Gt a-1, which exceeds the estimated errors by roughly 50% for these regions. This study further finds that this spread in mass balance is connected to the magnitude of the elevation change variability. This indicates that care should be taken when choosing a regionalization method, especially for areas which exhibit large variability in elevation change.
Delcourt, C.; B. Van Liefferinge; M. Nolan; F. Pattyn
Knowledge of glacier equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) changes and trends in time is essential for future predictions of glacier volumes. We present a novel method for determining trends in ELA change at McCall Glacier, Alaska, USA, over the last 50 years, based on mapping of the cold temperate transition surface (CTS), marking the limit between cold and temperate ice of a polythermal glacier. Latent heat release from percolating meltwater and precipitation keeps the ice column temperate in the...
Walters, Roy A.
EXTRACT (SEE PDF FOR FULL ABSTRACT): The mass balance of glaciers depends on the seasonal variation in precipitation, temperature, and insolation. For glaciers in western North America, these meteorological variables are influenced by the large-scale atmospheric circulation over the northern Pacific Ocean. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the relationship between mass balance at glaciers in western North America and the large-scale atmospheric effects at inte...
Rybak, Oleg; Kaminskaia, Mariia; Kutuzov, Stanislav; Lavrentiev, Ivan; Morozova, Polina; Popovnin, Victor; Rybak, Elena
Total glacial volume of the Greater Caucasus exceeds 40 cubic km and its area exceeds 1 thousand square km. During the 20th century, mountain glaciers at the Greater Caucasus were continuously degrading. According to various estimates, their area reduced more than one-third and their volume almost by half. The process of degradation was accompanied by growing population and economical development on surrounding territories. In the 21st century under proceeding global warming, a tendency of shrinking of area and volume of glaciation is obviously expected to continue. Working out of strategy of sustainable economic development of the region is the main motivation for elaboration of predictions of glaciers' evolution in the changing environment. Growing demand of fresh water is the basic challenge for the local economy, and efficient planning of water resources is impossible without knowing future state of glaciation. Therefore our research aims at obtaining accurate evaluation of probable future change of the most prominent mountain glaciers of the Greater Caucasus in forthcoming decades and at studying impacts of changing characteristics of glaciation on the run-off in the area. Initially, we focus on two so-called reference glaciers - Marukh (Western Caucasus) and Djankuat (Central Caucasus). Intensive field observations on both of them have been conducted during the last half of the century and essential amount of detailed relevant information has been collected on their geometry change and on mass balance. Besides, meteorological measurements were episodically carried out directly on the glaciers providing enough data for correlation of the local weather conditions with the data from the closest meteorological stations. That is why studying of response of Marukh and Djankuat on the environmental change can be accurately verified, which is crucial for understanding mechanisms driving evolution of large glaciated area in the Caucasus. As the instrument of research
There is growing concern about the effects of climate change and ensuing glacier shrinkage on water supplies for mountain communities worldwide. The issue is only becoming more complex as researchers seek to quantify glacier contributions to streamflow and to pinpoint when and how much glacier runoff will likely change as a result of future climate change and glacier variation. Additionally, some researchers are beginning to recognize the importance of understanding the human dimensions of glacier retreat to identify which social groups (stakeholders) use glacier runoff and how much they use, as well as what socio-environmental forces affect both water supplies and water use. This presentation examines these societal aspects of glacier runoff to analyze human vulnerability to hydrological changes in Peru's Santa River watershed below the most glaciated tropical mountain range in the world, the Cordillera Blanca. Specifically, it focuses on the billion-dollar export-oriented agricultural industry within the Chavimochic irrigation project, which uses Santa River water to irrigate approximately 80,000 hectares in the coastal desert region. Since the 1980s, Santa River water has allowed Chavimochic to sustain a major export economy, provide jobs in the agro-industry and related services, stimulate human migration, enhance or alter livelihoods, generate hydroelectricity, supply drinking water, and shape urban growth and land use practices. All of these variables are dependent on glacier meltwater from the Cordillera Blanca, especially during the dry season when glaciers provide most of the Santa River's water. In short, hundreds of thousands of people have come to depend on glacier runoff, thus revealing their high level of vulnerability to hydrological fluctuations in a glacier-fed watershed. What's more, people worldwide rely on the asparagus, avocados, and artichokes grown with glacier runoff. Consequently, the export-oriented agriculture, through the "virtual water
Colgan, William; Rajaram, Harihar; Abdalati, Waleed; McCutchan, Cheryl; Mottram, Ruth; Moussavi, Mahsa S.; Grigsby, Shane
We review the findings of approximately 60 years of in situ and remote sensing studies of glacier crevasses, as well as the three broad classes of numerical models now employed to simulate crevasse fracture. The relatively new insight that mixed-mode fracture in local stress equilibrium, rather than downstream advection alone, can introduce nontrivial curvature to crevasse geometry may merit the reinterpretation of some key historical observation studies. In the past three decades, there have been tremendous advances in the spatial resolution of satellite imagery, as well as fully automated algorithms capable of tracking crevasse displacements between repeat images. Despite considerable advances in developing fully transient three-dimensional ice flow models over the past two decades, both the zero stress and linear elastic fracture mechanics crevasse models have remained fundamentally unchanged over this time. In the past decade, however, multidimensional and transient formulations of the continuum damage mechanics approach to simulating ice fracture have emerged. The combination of employing damage mechanics to represent slow upstream deterioration of ice strength and fracture mechanics to represent rapid failure at downstream termini holds promise for implementation in large-scale ice sheet models. Finally, given the broad interest in the sea level rise implications of recent and future cryospheric change, we provide a synthesis of 10 mechanisms by which crevasses can influence glacier mass balance.
Les glaciers tropicaux sont des indicateurs climatiques très sensibles. Pour relier les fluctuations de leur bilan de masse aux changements climatiques, nous avons réalisé un bilan d'énergie à la surface du Glacier Zongo (16°S), en Bolivie, entre mars 96 et août 98. Cette thèse présente, d'une part les méthodes employées pour obtenir le cycle annuel du bilan d'énergie ponctuel, et d'autre part l'intérêt de cette étude pour la compréhension du fonctionnement du glacier et sa relation avec la c...
Zhao, Huabiao; Yang, Wei; Yao, Tandong; Tian, Lide; Xu, Baiqing
Rapid climate change at high elevations has accelerated glacier retreat in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. However, due to the lack of long-term glaciological measurements, there are still uncertainties regarding when the mass loss began and what the magnitude of mass loss is at such high elevations. Based on in situ glaciological observations during the past 9 years and a temperature-index mass balance model, this study investigates recent mass loss of the Naimona'nyi Glacier in the western Himalayas and reconstructs a 41-year (1973/74-2013/14) equilibrium line altitude (ELA) and glacier-wide mass loss. The result indicates that even at 6000 m above sea level (a.s.l.), the annual mass loss reaches ~0.73 m water equivalent (w.e.) during the past 9 years. Concordant with the abrupt climate shift in the end of 1980s, the ELA has dramatically risen from ~5969 ± 73 m a.s.l. during 1973/74-1988/89 to ~6193 ± 75 m a.s.l. during 1989/90-2013/14, suggesting that future ice cores containing uninterrupted climate records could only be recovered at least above 6200 m a.s.l. in the Naimona'nyi region. The glacier-wide mass balance over the past 41 years is averaged to be approximately -0.40 ± 0.17 m w.e., exhibiting a significant increase in the decadal average from -0.01 ± 0.15 to -0.69 ± 0.21 m w.e. PMID:27561411
Full Text Available Quantifying the contribution of glacier runoff to water resources is particularly important in regions such High Mountain Asia, where glaciers provide a large percentage of seasonal river discharge and support large populations downstream. In remote areas, direct field measurements of glacier melt rates are difficult to acquire and rarely observed, so hydro-glaciological modeling and remote sensing approaches are needed. Here we present estimates of glacier melt contribution to the Upper Indus watershed over the last 40 years using a suite of seven reanalysis climate datasets that have previously been used in hydrological models for this region, a temperature-index melt model and > 29,000 km2 of ice cover. In particular, we address the uncertainty in estimates of meltwater flux that is introduced by the baseline climate dataset chosen, by comparing the results derived from each. Mean annual glacier melt contribution varies from 8 km3 yr-1 and 169 km3 yr-1, or between 4-78% of the total annual runoff in the Indus, depending on temperature dataset applied. Under projected scenarios of an additional 2-4°C of regional warming by 2100 AD, we find annual meltwater fluxes vary by >200% depending on the baseline climate dataset used and, importantly, span a range of positive and negative trends. Despite significant differences between climate datasets and the resulting spread in meltwater fluxes, the spatial pattern of melt is highly correlated and statistically robust across all datasets. This allows us to conclude with confidence that fewer than 10% of the >20,000 glaciers in the watershed contribute more than 80% of the total glacier runoff to the Indus. These are primarily large, low elevation glaciers in the Karakoram and Hindu Kush. Additional field observations to ground-truth modeled climate data will go far to reduce the uncertainty highlighted here and we suggest that efforts be focused on those glaciers identified to be most significant to
Banerjee, A.; Shankar, R.
Avalanche from high head walls dominates the net accumulation in many debris covered glaciers in the Himalaya. These avalanche contributions are difficult to directly measure and may cause a systematic bias in glaciological mass balance measurements. In this paper we develop a method to estimate the avalanche contribution using available data, within the context of an idealised flowline model of the glacier. We focus on Hamtah glacier in Western Himalaya ...
The role of glaciers and snow in climate change-affected runoff is evaluated by taking into account the carryover of runoff and of unmelted snow from one hydrological year to another. This water balance is computed for the present climate and for future climates with changed temperatures and precip...
Larsen, Signe Hillerup; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Ahlstrøm, Andreas Peter;
In order to model and predict future behavior of marine terminating glaciers, it is essential to understand the different factors that control a glaciers response to climate change. Here we present a detailed study of the asynchronous changes in dynamic behavior of four adjacent marine-terminatin......In order to model and predict future behavior of marine terminating glaciers, it is essential to understand the different factors that control a glaciers response to climate change. Here we present a detailed study of the asynchronous changes in dynamic behavior of four adjacent marine...... between 1992 and 2013. These observations point out the fact that the UI glaciers are reacting to climate change on different timescales. The asynchronous behavior of the four neighboring glaciers is explained in terms of the individual glaciersâĂŹ geometry and terminus position. The northernmost glacier...
J. M. Shea; B. Menounos; R. Dan Moore; Tennant, C.
We describe an automated method to extract regional snowline elevations and annual equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs) from daily MODIS imagery (MOD02QKM) on large glaciers and icefields in western North America. Regional MODIS-derived ELAs correlate significantly with observed net mass balance at six index glacier mass balance sites. Historical mass balance gradients were combined with MODIS-derived ELAs to estimate annual mass change at the Columbia, Lillooet, and Sittakanay icefields ...
Beamer, J. P.; Hill, D. F.; Arendt, A. A.; Liston, G. E.; Hood, E. W.
A comprehensive study of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) hydrology has been carried out in order to improve understanding of the coastal freshwater discharge (FWD) magnitude and spatial distribution, and mass changes from GOA glaciers. FWD along the coastline and surface mass balance (SMB) for all glacier surfaces in the GOA drainage were modeled using a suite of physically-based, spatially distributed weather, energy-balance snow/ice melt, and runoff-routing models at a high resolution (1-km horizontal grid; 3-h time step). SnowModel simulations of air temperature, precipitation, surface runoff, and glacier SMB were completed for the entire GOA drainage from 1979-2009. HydroFlow was used to route the SnowModel-derived runoff to the GOA coastline. Meteorological forcing was provided by the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) dataset. The NARR data was bias-corrected using monthly gridded climate data to more accurately reflect the strong spatial gradients in air temperature and precipitation, while retaining the temporal attributes of NARR. The most recent version of the Alaska Glacier Inventory was used to define the glacier cover for the model simulations. The modeling system was validated and calibrated in several glaciated catchments containing long-term streamflow and glacier mass balance datasets, as well as several non-glaciated catchments with only streamflow data. The overall GOA mean annual FWD volumes from HydroFlow agree well with previous estimates. Glacier SMB simulated by SnowModel from 2004-2009 produced seasonal storage changes and long term trends consistent with GRACE satellite-based estimates. Both SnowModel and GRACE data suggest a negative SMB trend which indicates that recent glacier volume loss contributes significantly to GOA FWD. The final product of this study is a 30-year record of daily streamflow at every coastal grid cell (1-km resolution) in the GOA drainage, which includes the runoff signal from glacier melt and volume loss. This
Menounos, B.; Beedle, M. J.; Lueders, S.
Since 1998, the rate of global warming has slowed but the degree to which this slowdown has affected alpine glaciers in North America remains uncertain. Here we describe glacier fluctuations in the continental mountain ranges of British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories for the period 1985-2013. Our manual digitization of over 3,000 glaciers mapped from 12 Landsat scenes builds upon a glacier inventory for the period 1985-2005 that utilized aerial photography and satellite imagery (Landsat) for the mountain ranges of British Columbia and Alberta. Landsat imagery allowed us to extend the spatial distribution of this inventory to include most alpine glaciers that straddle the Yukon and Northwest Territory border (Nahanni region) for the years 1985 and 2004. We also digitized glaciers from pan-sharpened Landsat 8 imagery for the year 2013. Glacier recession rates differ among regions between the early [1985-2005] and recent [2005-2013] periods. Recession rates during the recent period, for example, slowed by 43% and 15% for the Nahanni and Columbia Basin regions respectively. When compared to the early period, recent recession rates accelerated by 17% and 121% for glaciers in the Southern and Northern Rocky Mountains. Some of this regional variability is attributed to climate anomalies in the study area based on our analysis of instrumental (CRU 3.21) and reanalysis (ERA Interim) data, but the doubling of the recessional rate for the Northern Rocky Mountains is anomalous. Non-climatic factors that could explain this anomalous rapid retreat of Northern Rocky Mountain glaciers includes low minimum elevation of these glaciers, debris cover and shadowed terrain in the Landsat imagery.
K. F. Sprenke
Full Text Available The Taku Glacier, Alaska has advanced 7.5 km since the late nineteenth century, while all other primary outlet glaciers of the Juneau Icefield are in retreat. The Juneau Icefield Research Program has completed field work on the Taku Glacier annually since 1946. The collected observations of surface mass balance, glacier velocity and glacier thickness at Profile IV 29 km above the terminus and 4 km above the equilibrium line provide a means to assess the equilibrium nature of the Taku Glacier. Velocity measured over a twelve month span and annual summer velocity measurements completed at a Profile IV from 1950–2006 indicate insignificant variations in velocity seasonally or from year to year. The consistency of velocity over the 56-year period indicates that in the vicinity of the equilibrium line, the flow of the Taku Glacier has been in an equilibrium state. Surface mass balance was positive from 1946–1988 averaging +0.42 m a−1. This led to glacier thickening. From 1988–2006 an important change has occurred and annual balance has been −0.14 m a−1, and the glacier thickness has ceased increasing along Profile IV. Field measurements of ice depth and surface velocity allow calculation of the volume flux at Profile IV. Volume flux is then compared with the surface balance flux from the region of the glacier above Profile IV, determined annually in the field. Above Profile IV the observed mean surface flux is 5.50×108 m3/a (±5%, while the calculated volume flux range flowing through profile IV is 5.00–5.47×108 m3/a. The mean surface flux has been greater than the volume flux, which has led to slow thickening of the Taku Glacier up to 1988. The thickening has not led to a change in the flow of Taku Glacier at Profile IV.
Carturan, L.; Cazorzi, F.; De Blasi, F.; Dalla Fontana, G.
Glacier mass balance models rely on accurate spatial calculation of input data, in particular air temperature. Lower temperatures (the so-called glacier cooling effect) and lower temperature variability (the so-called glacier damping effect) generally occur over glaciers compared to ambient conditions. These effects, which depend on the geometric characteristics of glaciers and display a high spatial and temporal variability, have been mostly investigated on medium to large glaciers so far, while observations on smaller ice bodies (< 0.5 km2) are scarce. Using a data set from eight on-glacier and four off-glacier weather stations, collected in the summers of 2010 and 2011, we analyzed the air temperature variability and wind regime over three different glaciers in the Ortles-Cevedale. The magnitude of the cooling effect and the occurrence of katabatic boundary layer (KBL) processes showed remarkable differences among the three ice bodies, suggesting the likely existence of important reinforcing mechanisms during glacier decay and fragmentation. The methods proposed by Greuell and Bohm (1998) and Shea and Moore (2010) for calculating on-glacier temperature from off-glacier data did not fully reproduce our observations. Among them, the more physically based procedure of Greuell and Bohm (1998) provided the best overall results where the KBL prevails, but it was not effective elsewhere (i.e., on smaller ice bodies and close to the glacier margins). The accuracy of air temperature estimations strongly impacted the results from a mass balance model which was applied to the three investigated glaciers. Most importantly, even small temperature deviations caused distortions in parameter calibration, thus compromising the model generalizability.
Zhang, Zhen; Liu, Shiyin; Wei, Junfeng; Xu, Junli; Guo, Wanqin; Bao, Weijia; Jiang, Zongli
The assessment of glacier mass budget is crucial for assessing water reserves stored in glaciers. Derived glacier mass changes in the Muztag Ata and Kongur Tagh (MAKT) region in the eastern Pamir, northwestern China, is helpful in improving our knowledge of the dynamics of glaciers under a changing climate in High Mountain Asia. Here, glacier area and mass changes derived from remote sensing data are investigated for the period 1971/76-2013/14 for glaciers in MAKT. We have used ASTER images (2013/14), Cartosat-1 (2014) and Landsat, SRTM (Shuttle Radar Terrain Mission) digital elevation model (DEM) (2000), topographic maps (1971/76) and the first and second Chinese glacier inventories (CGIs). Our results indicated that the glacier area of MAKT decreased from 1018.3 ± 12.99 km(2) in 1971/76 to 999.2 ± 31.22 km(2) in 2014 (-1.9 ± 0.2%). Weak area shrinkage of glaciers by 2.5 ± 0.5 km(2) (0.2 ± 0.1%) happened after 2000 and the period 2009-2014 even saw a slight expansion by 0.5 ± 0.1 km(2) (0.1 ± 0.0%). The glaciers in this region have experienced an overall loss of -6.99 ± 0.80 km(3) in ice volume or -0.15 ± 0.12 m water equivalent (w.e.) a-1 from 1971/76 to 2013/14. The mass budget of MAKT was -0.19 ± 0.19 m w.e. a-1 for the period ~1971/76-1999 and -0.14 ± 0.24 m w.e. a-1 during 1999-2013/2014. Similar to previous studies, there has been little mass change in the Pamir over recent decades despite such uncertainties. Glacier mass change showed spatial and temporal heterogeneity, with strong mass loss on debris-covered glaciers with an average of -0.32 ± 0.12 m w.e. a-1 from the 1970s to 2013/14. PMID:26789404
Full Text Available The assessment of glacier mass budget is crucial for assessing water reserves stored in glaciers. Derived glacier mass changes in the Muztag Ata and Kongur Tagh (MAKT region in the eastern Pamir, northwestern China, is helpful in improving our knowledge of the dynamics of glaciers under a changing climate in High Mountain Asia. Here, glacier area and mass changes derived from remote sensing data are investigated for the period 1971/76-2013/14 for glaciers in MAKT. We have used ASTER images (2013/14, Cartosat-1 (2014 and Landsat, SRTM (Shuttle Radar Terrain Mission digital elevation model (DEM (2000, topographic maps (1971/76 and the first and second Chinese glacier inventories (CGIs. Our results indicated that the glacier area of MAKT decreased from 1018.3 ± 12.99 km(2 in 1971/76 to 999.2 ± 31.22 km(2 in 2014 (-1.9 ± 0.2%. Weak area shrinkage of glaciers by 2.5 ± 0.5 km(2 (0.2 ± 0.1% happened after 2000 and the period 2009-2014 even saw a slight expansion by 0.5 ± 0.1 km(2 (0.1 ± 0.0%. The glaciers in this region have experienced an overall loss of -6.99 ± 0.80 km(3 in ice volume or -0.15 ± 0.12 m water equivalent (w.e. a-1 from 1971/76 to 2013/14. The mass budget of MAKT was -0.19 ± 0.19 m w.e. a-1 for the period ~1971/76-1999 and -0.14 ± 0.24 m w.e. a-1 during 1999-2013/2014. Similar to previous studies, there has been little mass change in the Pamir over recent decades despite such uncertainties. Glacier mass change showed spatial and temporal heterogeneity, with strong mass loss on debris-covered glaciers with an average of -0.32 ± 0.12 m w.e. a-1 from the 1970s to 2013/14.
Glacier variations during the last few centuries have shown a marked coherence over the globe. Characteristic features are the maximum stand somewhere in the middle of the nineteenth century, and the steady retreat afterwards (with some minor interrruptions depending on the particular region). In ma
N. Köplin; B. Schädler; D. Viviroli; R. Weingartner
Changes in land cover alter the water balance components of a catchment, due to strong interactions between soils, vegetation and the atmosphere. Therefore, hydrological climate impact studies should also integrate scenarios of associated land cover change. To reflect two severe climate-induced changes in land cover, we applied scenarios of glacier retreat and forest cover increase that were derived from the temperature signals of the climate scenarios used in this study. The climate s...
Köplin, Nina; Schädler, Bruno; Viviroli, Daniel; Weingartner, Rolf
Changes in land cover alter the water balance components of a catchment, due to strong interactions between soils, vegetation and the atmosphere. Therefore, hydrological climate impact studies should also integrate scenarios of associated land cover change. To reflect two severe climate-induced changes in land cover, we applied scenarios of glacier retreat and forest cover increase that were derived from the temperature signals of the climate scenarios used in this study. The climate scenario...
Sharov, A.; Rieser, D.; Nikolskiy, D.
All known glaciological models describing the evolution of Arctic land- and sea-ice masses in changing climate treat the Earth's gravity as horizontally constant, but it isn't. In the High Arctic, the strength of the gravitational field varies considerably across even short distances under the influence of a density gradient, and the magnitude of free air gravity anomalies attains 100 mGal and more. On long-term base, instantaneous deviations of gravity can have a noticeable effect on the regime and mass budget of glaciological objects. At best, the gravity-induced component of ice mass variations can be determined on topographically smooth, open and steady surfaces, like those of arctic planes, regular ice caps and landfast sea ice. The present research is devoted to studying gravity-driven impacts on glacier mass balance in the outer periphery of four Eurasian shelf seas with a very cold, dry climate and rather episodic character of winter precipitation. As main study objects we had chosen a dozen Russia's northernmost insular ice caps, tens to hundreds of square kilometres in extent, situated in a close vicinity of strong gravity anomalies and surrounded with extensive fields of fast and/or drift ice for most of the year. The supposition about gravitational forcing on glacioclimatic settings in the study region is based on the results of quantitative comparison and joint interpretation of existing glacier change maps and available data on the Arctic gravity field and solid precipitation. The overall mapping of medium-term (from decadal to half-centennial) changes in glacier volumes and quantification of mass balance characteristics in the study region was performed by comparing reference elevation models of study glaciers derived from Russian topographic maps 1:200,000 (CI = 20 or 40 m) representing the glacier state as in the 1950s-1980s with modern elevation data obtained from satellite radar interferometry and lidar altimetry. Free-air gravity anomalies were
Full Text Available Evolution of glaciers in response to climate change has mostly been simulated using simplified dynamical models. Because these models do not account for the influence of high-order physics, corresponding results may exhibit some biases. For Haig Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, we test this hypothesis by comparing simulation results obtained from 3-D numerical models that deal with different assumptions concerning ice-flow physics, ranging from simple shear-deformation to comprehensive Stokes flow. In glacier retreat scenarios, we find a minimal role of high-order mechanics in glacier evolution, as geometric effects at our site (the presence of an overdeepened bed result in limited horizontal movement of ice (flow speed on the order of a few meters per year. Consequently, high-order and reduced models all predict that Haig Glacier ceases to exist by ca. 2080 under ongoing climate warming. The influence of high-order mechanics is evident, however, in glacier advance scenarios, where ice speeds are greater and ice dynamical effects become more important. To generalize these findings for other glacier applications, we advise that high-order mechanics are important and therefore should be considered while modelling the evolution of active glaciers. Reduced model predictions may, however, be adequate for other glaciologic and topographic settings, particularly where flow speeds are low.
M. F. Azam
Full Text Available Recent studies revealed that Himalayan glaciers have been shrinking at an accelerated rate since the beginning of the 21st century. However the climatic causes for this shrinkage remain unclear given that surface energy balance studies are almost nonexistent in this region. In this study, a point-scale surface energy balance analysis was performed using in-situ meteorological data from the ablation zone of Chhota Shigri Glacier over two separate periods (August 2012 to February 2013 and July to October 2013 in order to understand the response of mass balance to climate change. Energy balance numerical modeling provides quantification of the surface energy fluxes and identification of the factors affecting glacier mass balance. The computed ablation was validated by stake observations. During summer-monsoon period, net radiation was the primary component of the surface energy balance with 82% of the total heat flux which was complimented with turbulent sensible and latent heat fluxes with a share of 13% and 5%, respectively. A striking feature of energy balance is the positive turbulent latent heat flux, thus condensation or re-sublimation of moist air at the glacier surface takes place, during summer-monsoon period which is characterized by relatively high air temperature, high relative humidity and almost permanent melting surface. The impact of Indian summer monsoon on Chhota Shigri Glacier mass balance has also been assessed. This analysis demonstrates that the intensity of snowfall events during the summer-monsoon season plays a key role on surface albedo, in turn on melting, and thus is among the most important drivers controlling the annual mass balance of the glacier. Summer-monsoon air temperature, controlling the precipitation phase (rain vs. snow and thus albedo, counts, indirectly, also among the most important drivers for the glacier mass balance.
Fagre, Daniel B.
The glaciers of Glacier National Park (GNP) are disappearing rapidly and likely will be gone by 2030. These alpine glaciers have been continuously present for approximately 7,000 years so their loss from GNP in another 25 years underscores the significance of current climate change. There are presently only 27 glaciers remaining of the 150 estimated to have existed when GNP was created in 1910. Mean annual temperature in GNP has increased 1.6 0 C during the past cen- tury, three times the global mean increase. The temperature increase has affected other parts of the mountain ecosystem, too. Snowpacks hold less water equivalent and melt 2+ weeks earlier in the spring. Forest growth rates have increased, alpine treelines have expanded upward and be- come denser, and subalpine meadows have been invaded by high elevation tree species. These latter responses can be mostly attributed to longer growing seasons and warmer temperatures.
Noël, Brice; van de Berg, Willem Jan; Machguth, Horst; van den Broeke, Michiel
Since the 2000s, mass loss from Greenland peripheral glaciers and ice caps (GICs) has accelerated, becoming an important contributor to sea level rise. Under continued warming throughout the 21st century, GICs might yield up to 7.5 to 11 mm sea level rise, with increasing dominance of surface runoff at the expense of ice discharge. However, despite multiple observation campaigns, little remains known about the contribution of GICs to total Greenland mass loss. Furthermore, the relatively coarse resolutions in regional climate models, i.e. 5 km to 20 km, fail to represent the small scale patterns of surface mass balance (SMB) components over these topographically complex regions including also narrow valley glaciers. Here, we present a novel approach to quantify the contribution of GICs to surface melt and runoff, based on an elevation dependent downscaling method. GICs daily SMB components at 1 km resolution are obtained by statistically downscaling the outputs of RACMO2.3 at 11 km resolution to a down-sampled version of the GIMP DEM for the period 1958-2014. This method has recently been successfully validated over the Greenland ice sheet and is now applied to GICs. In this study, we first evaluate the 1 km daily downscaled GICs SMB against a newly available and comprehensive dataset of ablation stake measurements. Then, we investigate present-day trends of meltwater production and SMB for different regions and estimate GICs contribution to total Greenland mass loss. These data are considered valuable for model evaluation and prediction of future sea level rise.
Andresen, Camilla Snowman; Straneo, Fiammetta; Ribergaard, Mads Hvid;
common climate forcing. Increasing air(6) and ocean(7,8) temperatures have been indicated as potential triggers. Here, we present a record of calving activity of Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, that extends back to about AD 1890, based on an analysis of sedimentary deposits from Sermilik Fjord, where...... Helheim Glacier terminates. Specifically, we use the annual deposition of sand grains as a proxy for iceberg discharge. Our record reveals large fluctuations in calving rates, but the present high rate was reproduced only in the 1930s. A comparison with climate indices indicates that high calving activity...
T. Bolch; L. Sandberg Sørensen; Simonsen, S.B.; Mölg, N.; Machguth, H.; Rastner, P.; Paul, F.
The recently finalized inventory of Greenland's glaciers and ice caps (GIC) allows for the first time to determine the mass changes of the GIC separately from the ice sheet using space-borne laser altimetry data. Corrections for firn compaction and density that are based on climatic conditions are applied for the conversion from volume to mass changes. The GIC which are clearly separable from the icesheet (i.e., have a distinct ice divide or no connection) lost 27.9 ± 10.7 Gt a-1 or 0.08 ± 0....
Conway, J. P.; Cullen, N. J.
The effect of clouds on glacier surface energy balance (SEB) has received increased attention in the last decade, but how clouds interact with other meteorological forcing to influence surface mass balance (SMB) is not as well understood. This paper resolves the SEB and SMB at a site in the ablation zone of Brewster Glacier over a 22-month period, using high-quality radiation data to carefully evaluate SEB terms and define clear-sky and overcast conditions. A fundamental change in glacier SEB in cloudy conditions was driven by increased effective sky emissivity and surface vapour pressure, rather than a minimal change in air temperature and wind speed. During overcast conditions, positive net long-wave radiation and latent heat fluxes allowed melt to be maintained through a much greater length of time compared to clear-sky conditions, and led to similar melt in each sky condition. The sensitivity of SMB to changes in air temperature was greatly enhanced in overcast compared to clear-sky conditions due to more frequent melt and changes in precipitation phase that created a strong albedo feedback. During the spring and autumn seasons, the sensitivity during overcast conditions was strongest. To capture these processes, future attempts to explore glacier-climate interactions should aim to resolve the effects of atmospheric moisture (vapour, cloud, and precipitation) on melt as well as accumulation, through enhanced statistical or physically based methods.
Fernández, Alfonso; Mark, Bryan G.
Here we review the literature preferentially concerned with modern glacier-climate modeling along the Andes. We find a diverse range of modeling approaches, from empirical/statistical models to relatively complex energy balance procedures. We analyzed these models at three different spatial scales. First, we review global approaches that have included the Andes. Second, we depict and analyze modeling exercises aimed at studying Andean glaciers as a whole. Our revision shows only two studies dealing with glacier modeling at this continental scale. We contend that this regional approach is increasingly necessary because it allows for connecting the "average-out" tendency of global studies to local observations or models, in order to comprehend scales of variability and heterogeneity. Third, we revise small-scale modeling, finding that the overwhelming number of studies have targeted glaciers in Patagonia. We also find that most studies use temperature-index models and that energy balance models are still not widely utilized. However, there is no clear spatial pattern of model complexity. We conclude with a discussion of both the limitations of certain approaches, as for example the use of short calibration periods for long-term modeling, and also the opportunities for improved understanding afforded by new methods and techniques, such as climatic downscaling. We also propose ways to future developments, in which observations and models can be combined to improve current understanding of volumetric glacier changes and their climate causes.
Full Text Available The Martial Este Glacier in southern Tierra del Fuego was studied in order to estimate the surface mass balance from 1960 until 2099. For this reason a degree-day model was calibrated. Air temperature and precipitation data obtained from 3 weather stations as well as glaciological measurements were applied. The model was driven using a vertical air temperature gradient of 0.69 K/100 m, a degree-day factor for snow of 4.7 mm w.e. K−1 day−1, a degree-day factor for ice of 9.4 mm w.e. K−1 day−1 and a precipitation gradient of 22%/100 m. For the purpose of surface mass balance reconstruction for the time period 1960 until 2006 a winter vertical air temperature gradient of 0.57 K/100 m and a summer vertical air temperature gradient of 0.71 K/100 m were added as well as a digital terrain model. The key finding is an almost continuous negative mass balance of −772 mm w.e. a−1 throughout this period. While the calculation of the mass balance for the period 1960–2006 is based on instrumental records, the mass balance for the years 2007 until 2099 was estimated based on the IPCC SRES A2-scenario. To accomplish this estimation, the dataset of the global climate model HadCM3 was statistically downscaled to fit local conditions at Martial Este Glacier. Subsequently, the downscaled air temperature and precipitation were applied to a volume-area scaling glacier change model. Findings reveal an enduring deglaciation resulting in a surface area reduction of nearly 93% until 2099. This implicates that the Martial Este Glacier might be melted off at the beginning of the 22nd century.
Andreassen, Liss M.; Elvehøy, Hallgeir; Kjøllmoen, Bjarne; Engeset, Rune V.
Glaciological and geodetic methods provide independent observations of glacier mass balance. The glaciological method measures the surface mass balance, on a seasonal or annual basis, whereas the geodetic method measures surface, internal, and basal mass balances, over a period of years or decades. In this paper, we reanalyse the 10 glaciers with long-term mass-balance series in Norway. The reanalysis includes (i) homogenisation of both glaciological and geodetic observation series, (ii) uncertainty assessment, (iii) estimates of generic differences including estimates of internal and basal melt, (iv) validation, and, if needed, (v) calibration of mass-balance series. This study comprises an extensive set of data (484 mass-balance years, 34 geodetic surveys, and large volumes of supporting data, such as metadata and field notes). In total, 21 periods of data were compared and the results show discrepancies between the glaciological and geodetic methods for some glaciers, which are attributed in part to internal and basal ablation and in part to inhomogeneity in the data processing. Deviations were smaller than 0.2 m w.e. a-1 for 12 out of 21 periods. Calibration was applied to 7 out of 21 periods, as the deviations were larger than the uncertainty. The reanalysed glaciological series shows a more consistent signal of glacier change over the period of observations than previously reported: six glaciers had a significant mass loss (14-22 m w.e.) and four glaciers were nearly in balance. All glaciers have lost mass after the year 2000. More research is needed on the sources of uncertainty to reduce uncertainties and adjust the observation programmes accordingly. The study confirms the value of carrying out independent high-quality geodetic surveys to check and correct field observations.
Andreassen, L. M.; Elvehøy, H.; Kjøllmoen, B.; Engeset, R. V.
The glaciological and geodetic methods provide independent observations of glacier mass balance. The glaciological method measures the surface mass balance, on a seasonal or annual basis, whereas the geodetic method measures surface, internal and basal mass balances, over a period of years or decades. In this paper, we reanalyse the 10 glaciers with long-term mass balance series in Norway. The reanalysis includes (i) homogenisation of both glaciological and geodetic observation series, (ii) uncertainty assessment, (iii) estimates of generic differences including estimates of internal and basal melt, (iv) validation, and (v) partly calibration of mass balance series. This study comprises an extensive set of data (454 mass balance years, 34 geodetic surveys and large volumes of supporting data, such as metadata and field notes). In total, 21 periods of data were compared and the results show discrepancies between the glaciological and geodetic methods for some glaciers, which in part are attributed to internal and basal ablation and in part to inhomogeneity in the data processing. Deviations were smaller than 0.2 m w.e. a-1 for 12 out of 21 periods. Calibration was applied to seven out of 21 periods, as the deviations were larger than the uncertainty. The reanalysed glaciological series shows a more consistent signal of glacier change over the period of observations than previously reported: six glaciers had a significant mass loss (14-22 m w.e.) and four glaciers were nearly in balance. All glaciers have lost mass after year 2000. More research is needed on the sources of uncertainty, to reduce uncertainties and adjust the observation programmes accordingly. The study confirms the value of carrying out independent high-quality geodetic surveys to check and correct field observations.
L. M. Andreassen
Full Text Available The glaciological and geodetic methods provide independent observations of glacier mass balance. The glaciological method measures the surface mass balance, on a seasonal or annual basis, whereas the geodetic method measures surface, internal and basal mass balances, over a period of years or decades. In this paper, we reanalyse the 10 glaciers with long-term mass balance series in Norway. The reanalysis includes (i homogenisation of both glaciological and geodetic observation series, (ii uncertainty assessment, (iii estimates of generic differences including estimates of internal and basal melt, (iv validation, and (v partly calibration of mass balance series. This study comprises an extensive set of data (454 mass balance years, 34 geodetic surveys and large volumes of supporting data, such as metadata and field notes. In total, 21 periods of data were compared and the results show discrepancies between the glaciological and geodetic methods for some glaciers, which in part are attributed to internal and basal ablation and in part to inhomogeneity in the data processing. Deviations were smaller than 0.2 m w.e. a−1 for 12 out of 21 periods. Calibration was applied to seven out of 21 periods, as the deviations were larger than the uncertainty. The reanalysed glaciological series shows a more consistent signal of glacier change over the period of observations than previously reported: six glaciers had a significant mass loss (14–22 m w.e. and four glaciers were nearly in balance. All glaciers have lost mass after year 2000. More research is needed on the sources of uncertainty, to reduce uncertainties and adjust the observation programmes accordingly. The study confirms the value of carrying out independent high-quality geodetic surveys to check and correct field observations.
Möller, Marco; Navarro, Francisco; Martín-Español, Alba
The high Arctic archipelagos are among the most strongly glacierized landscapes on earth apart from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Svalbard, one of these archipelagos, holds about 36,000 km2 of glaciers and ice caps and is the region that has shown the least negative mass balance of all the high Arctic regions. However, future projections suggest that the archipelago will experience an unprecedented -for the Arctic- glacier recession over the 21st century. We here present a high-resolution modelling study of the future ice-mass evolution of 29 individual land-terminating glaciers on the Svalbard archipelago under an RCP 8.5 climate forcing, a rather pessimistic scenario that unfortunately seems to be becoming realistic. Our model calculates glacier mass balance and area/volume changes using a temperature-index approach in combination with a surface elevation change parameterization. The initial glacier topographies and volumes have been assessed from extensive ground-penetrating radar measurements carried out in recent years. The calculations are performed for the 21st century and are forced by statistically downscaled output of ten different global circulation models representing the RCP scenario 8.5. By a topography-based extrapolation of the simulation results to the entire archipelago we show that a complete loss of most of Svalbard's land-terminating glaciers and even a deglaciation of certain subregions of the archipelago might occur by the end of the 21st century. 98% of the land-terminating glaciers will have retreated to less than one tenth of their initial extent by 2100, resulting in a loss of 7392±2481 km2 of ice coverage.
J. M. Shea
Full Text Available We describe an automated method to extract regional snowline elevations and annual equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs from daily MODIS imagery (MOD02QKM on large glaciers and icefields in western North America. Regional MODIS-derived ELAs correlate significantly with observed net mass balance at six index glacier mass balance sites. Historical mass balance gradients were combined with MODIS-derived ELAs to estimate annual mass change at the Columbia, Lillooet, and Sittakanay icefields in British Columbia, Canada. Our approach yields estimates of mass change that are within 30% of traditional geodetic approaches over decadal time-scales, and reveals continued mass loss of glaciers in western North America. Between 2000 and 2009, mean annual rates of surface elevation change for the Columbia, Lillooet, and Sittakanay icefields are estimated to be −0.29 ± 0.15 m a−1, −0.57 ± 0.10 m a−1, and −0.90 ± 0.09 m a−1, respectively. This study provides a complementary approach to the development of regional estimates of glacier mass change, which are critical for studies of glacier contributions to both streamflow and global sea-level rise.
Fujita, K.; Takeuchi, N.; S.A. Nikitin; A. B. Surazakov; Okamoto, S; V. B. Aizen; Kubota, J.
We conducted 2 yr (2005–2007) of in situ meteorological and glaciological observations on the Gregoriev Glacier, a flat-top glacier within the Inner Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan. Relative carrier-phase GPS surveys reveal a vertical lowering at the summit of the glacier. Based on snow density data and an energy-mass balance model, we estimate that the annual precipitation and summer mean temperature required to maintain the glacier in the current state are 289 mm and −3.8 °C at the glacier summit (46...
Ye Qinghua; Yao Tandong; Chen Feng; Kang Shichang; Zhang Xueqin; Wang Yi
The study of spatial and temporal covariances of glaciers and lakes would help us to understand the impact of climate change within a basin in Tibet. This study focuses on glacier and lake variations in the Mapam Yumco(玛旁雍错)Basin (covering 7 786.44 km2)by Integrationg series of spatial data from topographic maps and digital satellite images at four different times: 1974, 1990, 1999,and 2003. The results indicate that: (1) decreased lakes, retreated glaciers, enlarged lakes and advanced glaciers co-exist in the basin during the last 30 years; (2) glacier recession was accelerated in recent years due to the warmer climate; (3) lake areas in the basin are both reduced and enlarged by an accelerated speed with more water supplies from speeding melt glaciers or frozen ground in the last three decades.
Kohler, J.; van Pelt, W. J. J.
A coupled modeling approach is applied to simulate the long-term (1961-2012) surface mass balance and subsurface evolution of the Kongsvegen and Holtedahlfonna glacier systems in western Svalbard. Principle aims are: 1) to quantify and analyze the distributed surface mass balance evolution, 2) to estimate the contribution of melt water refreezing and internal accumulation to the mass balance, and 3) to detect changes in firn conditions over the simulation period. In order to achieve this, HIRLAM regional climate model output for 1961-2012 is projected onto the 100-m model grid and serves as input for a coupled model surface energy balance - firn model. Available stake measurements since 1987, together with weather station data and snow profiling observations, are used for parameter estimation, as well as validation of the model results. Extensive spin-up is performed to provide initialized subsurface conditions at the start of the experiments. Results indicate a slightly positive area-averaged surface mass balance of 0.08 m w.e. yr-1, which only fractionally compensates for mass loss by calving. Melt water refreezing (spatial mean 0.30 m w.e. yr-1) provides a strong buffer for mass loss, whereas substantial internal accumulation (up to 0.22 m w.e. yr-1) adds uncertainty to mass balance observations in the accumulation zone. An increasingly negative surface mass balance over the last two decades has led to a retreat of the firn line and a substantial reduction of the firn air content. Together with a negative trend in the albedo and elevated runoff this could mark the onset of accelerated near-future mass loss.
Hall, Dorothy K.; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Bayr, Klaus J.
It has been possible to measure glacier recession on the basis of Landsat data, in conjunction with comparisons of the magnitude of recession of a glacier margin with in situ measurements at fixed points along the same margin. Attention is presently given to the cases of Vatnajokull ice cap, in Iceland, and the Pasterze Glacier, in Austria, on the basis of satellite data from 1973-1987 and 1984-1990, respectively. Indications of a trend toward negative mass balance are noted. Nevertheless, while most of the world's small glaciers have been receding, some are advancing either due to local climate or the tidewater glacier cycle.
Glaciers are distributed in the Nyainqntanglha Mountains, Himalayas, Tanggula Mountains, Gangdise Mountains and Hengduan Mountains in Southwestern China. Daily temperature and precipitation data from 111 stations, together with the records of glacier changes, indicate that temperature patterns during 1961–2008 were consistent with warming at a statistically significant level. Seasonal warming was greatest in autumn and winter. Temperature rise showed a significant relationship with sea surface temperature in the Western Pacific, net longwave radiation flux, altitude, sunshine hours, strengthening anticyclonic circulations in summer and anomalous cyclonic circulation in winter. The increase was more apparent in higher altitude areas than in lower ones. Precipitation variations were less marked than those of temperature, generally showing weak decreasing trends during 1961–2008. Increasing trends were apparent only in spring and winter, when regional trends of precipitation increases with altitude also were evident. The strengthening Western Pacific Subtropical Highs were related to precipitation variation. Against the background of increasing temperature, especially the increasing warming with altitude, the fronts of 32 glaciers and areas of 13 glacial basins have retreated, mass losses of 10 glaciers have been considerable, glacial lakes in six regions have expanded and melt water discharge of four basins has also increased, but these glaciers and basins in our study are only a fraction of the retreating glaciers over southwestern China.
Marzeion, Ben; Kaser, Georg; Maussion, Fabien
At COP21, the UNFCCC agreed to hold "the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels". Using an ensemble of global glacier model integrations, we estimate the glacier mass change commitment and its temporal evolution resulting from a hypothesized success of the Paris Agreement. Our preliminary results indicate that under 1.5°C global mean temperature increase, glaciers will eventually lose mass corresponding to 133 mm SLE (90 % confidence interval: 83 to 154 mm SLE), compared to 164 mm SLE (110 to 184 mm SLE) under 2.0°C warming. In order to stabilize glaciers at their current global mass, a temperature of 0.17°C (-0.13 to 0.43°C) above pre-industrial would be required. Only a fraction of the long-term mass loss would be realized within the 21st century. Based on scaling existing GCM integrations under the RCP2.6 scenario to 1.5°C global warming, 21st century mass loss of glaciers would correspond to 84 mm SLE (64 to 110 mm SLE). Under the original RCP2.6 scenario, this number climbs to 100 mm SLE (67 to 137 mm SLE).
Stephan Harrison; Ann V. Rowan; Neil F. Glasser; Jasper Knight; Mitchell A. Plummer; Stephanie C. Mills
It is widely believed that the last glaciers in the British Isles disappeared at the end of the Younger Dryas stadial (12.9–11.7 cal. kyr BP). Here, we use a glacier–climate model driven by data from local weather stations to show for the first time that glaciers developed during the Little Ice Age (LIA) in the Cairngorm Mountains. Our model is forced from contemporary conditions by a realistic difference in mean annual air temperature of -1.5 degrees C and an increase in annual precipitation of 10%, and confirmed by sensitivity analyses. These results are supported by the presence of small boulder moraines well within Younger Dryas ice limits, and by a dating programme on a moraine in one cirque. As a result, we argue that the last glaciers in the Cairngorm Mountains (and perhaps elsewhere in upland Britain) existed in the LIA within the last few hundred years, rather than during the Younger Dryas.
Oerlemans, J.; van Pelt, W. J. J.
The climate sensitivity of Abrahamsenbreen, a 20 km long surge-type glacier in northern Spitsbergen, is studied with a simple glacier model. A scheme to describe the surges is included, which makes it possible to account for the effect of surges on the total mass budget of the glacier. A climate rec
Full Text Available We present and validate a set of minimal models of glacier mass balance variability. The most skillful model is then applied to reconstruct 7735 individual time series of mass balance variability for all glaciers in the European Alps and Scandinavia. Subsequently, we investigate the influence of atmospheric variability associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO on the glaciers' mass balances.
We find a spatial coherence in the glaciers' sensitivity to NAO forcing which is caused by regionally similar mechanisms relating the NAO forcing to the mass balance: in southwestern Scandinavia, winter precipitation causes a correlation of mass balances with the NAO. In northern Scandinavia, temperature anomalies outside the core winter season cause an anti-correlation between NAO and mass balances. In the western Alps, both temperature and winter precipitation anomalies lead to a weak anti-correlation of mass balances with the NAO, while in the eastern Alps, the influences of winter precipitation and temperature anomalies tend to cancel each other, and only on the southern side a slight anti-correlation of mass balances with the NAO prevails.
Full Text Available Himalayan glaciers are considered to be amongst the most sensitive glaciers to climate change. However, the response behaviour of these glaciers is not well understood. Here we use several approaches to estimate characteristic timescales of glacier AX010, a small valley glacier in the Nepal Himalaya, as a measure of glacier sensitivity. Assuming that temperature solely defines the mass budget, glacier AX010 waits for about 8 yr (reaction time to exhibit its initial terminus response to changing climate. On the other hand, it takes between 29–56 yr (volume response time and 37–70 yr (length response time to adjust its volume and length following the changes in mass balance conditions, respectively. A numerical ice-flow model, the only method that yields both length and volume response time, confirms that a glacier takes longer to adjust its length than its volume.
Wouters, Bert; Ligtenberg, Stefan; Moholdt, Geir; Gardner, Alex S.; Noel, Brice; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; van den Broeke, Michiel; Bamber, Jonathan L.
Historically, ice loss from mountain glaciers and ice caps has been one of the largest contributors to sea level rise over the last century. Of particular interest are the glaciers and ice caps in the North-Atlantic region of the Arctic. Despite the cold climate in this area, considerable melting and runoff occurs in summer. A small increase in temperature will have an immediate effect on these processes, so that a large change in the Arctic ice volume can be expected in response to the anticipated climate change in the coming century. Unfortunately, direct observations of glaciers are sparse and are biased toward glaciers systems in accessible, mostly maritime, climate conditions. Remote sensing is therefore essential to monitor the state of the the North-Atlantic glaciers and ice caps. In this presentation, we will discuss the progress that has been made in estimating the ice mass balance of these regions, with a particular focus on measurements made by ESA's Cryosat-2 radar altimeter mission (2010-present). Compared to earlier altimeter mission, Cryosat-2 provides unprecedented coverage of the cryosphere, with a resolution down to 1 km or better and sampling at monthly intervals. Combining the Cryosat-2 measurements with the laser altimetry data from ICESat (2003-2009) gives us a 12 yr time series of glacial mass loss in the North Atlantic. We find excellent agreement between the altimetry measurements and independent observations by the GRACE mission, which directly 'weighs' the ice caps, albeit at a much lower resolution. Mass loss in the region has increased from 120 Gigatonnes per year in 2003-2009 to roughly 140 Gt/yr in 2010-2014, with an important contribution from Greenland's peripheral glaciers and ice caps. Importantly, the mass loss is not stationary, but shows large regional interannual variability, with mass loss shifting between eastern and western regions from year to year. Comparison with regional climate models shows that these shifts can be
Ubeda, J.; Palacios, D.
The Nevado Coropuna volcanic complex (15th 31'S-72 ° 39 ° W) is the quaternary stratovolcano northernmost of the central volcanic zone (CVZ) in the western flank of the Central Andes (Southern Peru). This consists in four adjacent volcanic buildings that are occupied over 5.100-5.700 masl by a system of glaciers covering an area of 47 Km2 in 2007 (Ubeda et al, 2008). The maximum expansion of glaciers during the Pleistocene affected an area of ~449 Km2, dropping to altitudes around 3.600-4800 m (Ubeda et al, 2007). In this work were mapped several hundreds of moraines which constitute a record of climate change since the last glacial maximum (LGM). Current glacier system is formed by dozen of glaciers descending slope down in all directions. Coropuna complex is an excellent laboratory for to investigate the control that climate change, tectonics and volcanism exert on the dynamics of glaciers, a scale of tens of years (by studying current glaciers) and also of tens of thousands of years (by analyzing the geomorphological evidence of its evolution in the past). Ubeda et al. (2008) analyzed the evolution of eighteen glaciers of Nevado Coropuna using indicators as surfaces and Equilibrium Line Altitudes (ELAs) of ice masses in 2007, 1986, 1955, Little the Ice Age (LIA) and Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The glaciers were grouped into two sets: NE group (seven glaciers) and SE group (eleven glaciers). The work included statistical series of ELAs in each phase, estimates by Area x Altitud Balance Ratio (AABR) method, which was proposed by Osmaston (2005), in addition with estimates of timing (~17Cl36 Ka) and magnitude (~ 782-911 m) of ELA depression during LGM. The work included statistical series of ELAs in each phase, estimates by the method Area x Altitud Balance Ratio (AABR) proposed by Osmaston (2005), and in addition estimates of the timing (~17Cl36 Ka) and magnitude (~ 782-911 m) of ELA depression during LGM. The objective of this work is to estimate the current
O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis
The mountains ringing the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) receive upwards of 4–8 m yr−1 of precipitation (Simpson et al.2005; Weingartner et al. 2005; O’Neel 2012), much of which runs off into productive coastal waters. The alpine landscape is heavily glacierized, and storage and turnover of water by glaciers substantially influences the regional surface water balance (Neal et al. 2010). In turn, the land-to-ocean flux of freshwater impacts the biogeochemistry, physical oceanography, freshwater and marine ecology of the downstream components of the GOA ecosystem (e.g., Royer et al. 2001; Hood and Scott 2008). In this way, the links between terrestrial and ocean ecosystems along the GOA have widespread impacts on regional socioeconomic issues including water and hydropower resources, fish populations, and sea level change (Dorava and Milner 2000; Royer and Grosch 2006; Cherry et al. 2010; Gardner et al. 2013). Moreover, predicting future changes in physical, chemical and biological processes in near-shore ecosystems along the GOA hinges, in part, on developing a robust understanding of water storage and transfer by glaciers through streams to the ocean.
Full Text Available Determinations of glacier-wide mass and energy balance are still scarce for the remote mountains of the Tibetan Plateau, where field measurements are challenging. Here we run and evaluate a physical, distributed mass balance model for Zhadang glacier (central Tibet, 30° N, based on in-situ measurements over 2009–2011 and an uncertainty estimate by Monte Carlo and ensemble strategies. The model application aims to provide the first quantification of how the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM impacts an entire glacier over the various stages of the monsoon's annual cycle. We find a strong and systematic ISM footprint on the interannual scale. Early (late monsoon onset causes higher (lower accumulation, and reduces (increases the available energy for ablation primarily through changes in absorbed shortwave radiation. By contrast, only a weak footprint exists in the ISM cessation phase. Most striking though is the core monsoon season: local mass and energy balance variability is fully decoupled from the active/break cycle that defines large-scale atmospheric variability during the ISM. Our results demonstrate quantitatively that monsoon onset strongly affects the ablation season of glaciers in Tibet. However, we find no direct ISM impact on the glacier in the main monsoon season, which has not been acknowledged so far. This result also adds cryospheric evidence that regional modification of the large-scale monsoon flow prevails on the Tibetan Plateau in summer.
Full Text Available Changes in land cover alter the water balance components of a catchment, due to strong interactions between soils, vegetation and the atmosphere. Therefore, hydrological climate impact studies should also integrate scenarios of associated land cover change. To reflect two severe climate-induced changes in land cover, we applied scenarios of glacier retreat and forest cover increase that were derived from the temperature signals of the climate scenarios used in this study. The climate scenarios consist of ten regional climate models from the ENSEMBLES project; their respective temperature and precipitation deltas are used to run a hydrological model. The relative importance of each of the three types of scenarios (climate, glacier, forest is assessed through an analysis of variance (ANOVA. Altogether, 15 mountainous catchments in Switzerland are analysed, exhibiting different degrees of glaciation during the control period (0–51% and different degrees of forest cover increase under scenarios of change (12–55% of the catchment area. The results show that even an extreme change in forest cover is negligible with respect to changes in runoff, but it is crucial as soon as evaporation or soil moisture is concerned. For the latter two variables, the relative impact of forest change is proportional to the magnitude of its change. For changes that concern 35% of the catchment area or more, the effect of forest change on summer evapotranspiration is equally or even more important than the climate signal. For catchment with a glaciation of 10% or more in the control period, the glacier retreat significantly determines summer and annual runoff. The most important source of uncertainty in hydrological climate impact studies is the climate scenario, though, and it is highly recommended to apply an ensemble of climate scenarios in impact studies. The results presented here are valid for the climatic region they were tested for, i.e. a humid, mid
Liu, T.; Kinouchi, T.; Hasegawa, A.; Tsuda, M.; Iwami, Y.; Asaoka, Y.; Mendoza, J.
In Andes, retreat of tropical glaciers is rapid, thus water resources currently available from glacierized catchments would be changed in its volume and temporal variations due to climate change and glacier shrinkage. The relationship between glacier area and volume is difficult to define however which is important to monitor glaciers especially those are remote or inaccessible. Water resources in La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia, strongly depend on the runoff from glacierized headwater catchments in the Cordillera Real, Andes, which is therefore selected as our study region.To predict annual glacier mass balances, PWRI-Distributed Hydrological Model (PWRI-DHM) was applied to simulate runoff from the partially glacierized catchments in high mountains (i.e. Condoriri-Huayna West headwater catchment located in the Cordillera Real, Bolivian Andes). PWRI-DHM is based on tank model concept in a distributed and 4-tank configuration including surface, unsaturated, aquifer, and river course tanks. The model was calibrated and validated with observed meteorological and hydrological data from 2011 to 2014 by considering different phases of precipitation, various runoff components from glacierized and non-glacierized areas, and the retarding effect by glacial lakes and wetlands. The model is then applied with MRI-AGCM outputs from 1987 to 2003 considering the shrinkage of glacier outlines since 1980s derived from Landsat data. Annual glacier mass balance in each 100m-grid was reproduced, with which the glacier area-volume relationship was generated with reasonable initial volume setting. Out study established a method to define the relationship between glacier area and volume by remote sensing information and glacier mass balances simulated by distributed hydrological model. Our results demonstrated that the changing trend of local glacier had a consistency the previous observed glacier area-volume relationship in the Cordillera Real.
王欣; 谢自楚; 李巧媛; 王淑红; 程磊
Data of 44 glacier systems in China used in this paper were obtained from Chinese Glacier Inventories and the meteorological data were got from Meteorological Atlas of Plateau of west China. Based on the statistical analysis and functional model simulation results of the 44 glacier systems in China, the glacier systems were divided into extremely-sensitive glacier system, semi-sensitive glacier system, extremely-steady glacier system and semi-steady glacier system in terms of glacier system's level of water-energy exchange, rising gradient of the equilibrium line altitudes and retreating rate of area to climate warming, their median size and vertical span distribution, and their runoff characteristics to climate warming. Furthermore,the functional model of glacier system to climate warming was applied in this paper to predict the average variation trends of the 4 types of glacier systems, which indicate that different sensitivity types of glacier systems respond to the climate warming differently.
C. Huggel; Fischer, L.; Schneider, D.; Haeberli, W.
High-mountain areas with glacier and permafrost occurrence are temperature sensitive environments. Climatic changes are, thus, likely to have an effect on slope stability. Several recent events have shown that rock and ice avalanches and related hazards can have severe consequences. For hazard analysis, the processes of slope failure and flow dynamics should therefore be better understood. In this article, recent advances in this field are presented, including high-res...
Haeberli, W.; Hohmann, R.
Climate scenarios for the time horizon of 2050 in the Swiss Alps as simulated by using high-resolution ensemble modeling indicate most likely changes in temperature /precipitation by + 2°C / + 10% in winter and + 3°C / - 20% in summer. Such a development would lead to the vanishing of about 75% of the existing glacier surface and deep warming of permafrost in mountain peaks. Corresponding impacts would mainly concern rather dramatic changes in landscape appearance, slope stability and the...
Full Text Available We conducted 2 yr (2005–2007 of in situ meteorological and glaciological observations on the Gregoriev Glacier, a flat-top glacier within the Inner Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan. Relative carrier-phase GPS surveys reveal a vertical lowering at the summit of the glacier. Based on snow density data and an energy-mass balance model, we estimate that the annual precipitation and summer mean temperature required to maintain the glacier in the current state are 289 mm and −3.8 °C at the glacier summit (4600 m a.s.l., respectively. The good agreement between dynamically derived precipitation and the long-term observed precipitation at a nearby station in the Tien Shan (296 mm at 3614 m a.s.l. for the period 1930–2002 suggests that the glacier has been in a near steady-state in terms of mass supply. The glacier mass-balance, reconstructed based on meteorological data from the Tien Shan station for the past 80 yr, explains the observed fluctuations in glacier extent, particularly the negative mass balance in the 1990s.
J. M. Shea
Full Text Available We describe a method to calculate regional snow line elevations and annual equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs from daily MODIS imagery (MOD02QKM on large glaciers and icefields in western North America. An automated cluster analysis of the cloud-masked visible and near-infrared bands at 250 m resolution is used to delineate glacier facies (snow and ice for ten glacierized regions between 2000–2011. For each region and season, the maximum observed value of the 20th percentile of snow-covered pixels (ZS(20 is used to define a regional ELA proxy (ELAest. Our results indicate significant increases in the regional ELA proxy at two continental sites (Peyto Glacier and Gulkana Glacier over the period of observation, though no statistically significant trends are identified at other sites. To evaluate the utility of regional ELA proxies derived from MOD02QKM imagery, we compare standard geodetic estimates of glacier mass change with estimates derived from historical mass balance gradients and observations of ZS(20 at three large icefields. Our approach yields estimates of mass change that more negative than traditional geodetic approaches, though MODIS-derived estimates are within the margins of error at all three sites. Both estimates of glacier mass change corroborate the continued mass loss of glaciers in western North America. Between 2000 and 2009, the geodetic change approach yields mean annual rates of surface elevation change for the Columbia, Lillooet, and Sittakanay icefields of −0.29 ± 0.05, −0.26 ± 0.05, and −0.63 ± 0.17 m a−1, respectively. This study provides a new technique for glacier facies detection at daily timescales, and contributes to the development of regional estimates of glacier mass change, both of which are critical for studies of glacier contributions to streamflow and global sea level rise.
Van Beusekom, Ashely E.; O'Nell, Shad R.; March, Rod S.; Sass, Louis C.; Cox, Leif H.
At Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers, designated the Alaskan benchmark glaciers, we re-analyzed and re-computed the mass balance time series from 1966 to 2009 to accomplish our goal of making more robust time series. Each glacier's data record was analyzed with the same methods. For surface processes, we estimated missing information with an improved degree-day model. Degree-day models predict ablation from the sum of daily mean temperatures and an empirical degree-day factor. We modernized the traditional degree-day model and derived new degree-day factors in an effort to match the balance time series more closely. We estimated missing yearly-site data with a new balance gradient method. These efforts showed that an additional step needed to be taken at Wolverine Glacier to adjust for non-representative index sites. As with the previously calculated mass balances, the re-analyzed balances showed a continuing trend of mass loss. We noted that the time series, and thus our estimate of the cumulative mass loss over the period of record, was very sensitive to the data input, and suggest the need to add data-collection sites and modernize our weather stations.
Recent field programs on glaciers have supplied information that makes simulation of glacier mass balance with meteorological models meaningful. An estimate of world-wide glacier sensitivity based on a modeling study of 12 selected glaciers situated in widely differing climatic regimes shows that for a uniform 1 K warming the area-weighted glacier mass balance will decrease by 0.40 meter per year. This corresponds to a sea-level rise of 0.58 millimeter per year, a value significantly less than earlier estimates
This paper presents results from recent environmental and anthropological research near glacierized areas in the department of Cusco, Peru, home to the well-known Quelccaya Ice Cap and to the peak of Ausangate (6384 m). Glaciers in the region are in negative mass balance, losing volume and area, with upslope movement of the glacier fronts. Somewhat paradoxically, flows in many streams close to the glaciers are reduced, particularly in the dry season, due to a shift in the seasonal distribution of melting, to increased evaporation and to increased percolation into newly-exposed sands and gravels. Associated with this reduction in flow is a desiccation of some anthropogenic and natural wetlands, reducing the availability of dry season forage to wild (vicuna) and domesticated (alpaca, llama) ruminants. Interviews and ethnographic observations with local populations of Quechua-speaking herders at elevations of 4500-5200 meters provide detailed comments on these changes. They have an extensive vocabulary of terms for glacial features associated with retreat. They link this treat with environmental factors (higher temperatures, greater winds that deposit dust on lower portions of glaciers) and with religious factors (divine punishment for human wrong-doing, failure of humans to respect mountain spirits). They describe a variety of economic and extra-economic impacts of this retreat on different spatial, social and temporal scales. Though they face other issues as well (threats of pollution from new mining projects, inadequacy of government services), glacier retreat is their principal concern. Many herders express extreme distress over this unprecedented threat to their livelihoods and communities, though a few propose responses - out-migration, the formation of an association of neighboring communities, development of irrigation works - that could serve as adaptations.
Pettit, E.C.; Nystuen, J.A.; O'Neel, Shad
The catastrophic breakup of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea in 2002 paints a vivid portrait of the effects of glacier-climate interactions. This event, along with other unexpected episodes of rapid mass loss from marine-terminating glaciers (i.e., tidewater glaciers, outlet glaciers, ice streams, ice shelves) sparked intensified study of the boundaries where marine-terminating glaciers interact with the ocean. These dynamic and dangerous boundaries require creative methods of observation and measurement. Toward this effort, we take advantage of the exceptional sound-propagating properties of seawater to record and interpret sounds generated at these glacial ice-ocean boundaries from distances safe for instrument deployment and operation.
Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Fitzner, Antje; Kjær, Kurt; Korsgaard, Niels; Aschwander, Andy; Bjørn, Anders; Bevan, Suzanne; Kjeldsen, Kristian; Bueler, Edward; Luckman, Adrian; van den Broeke, Michiel
projection of future sea level rise, a long-term data record that reveals the mass balance between episodic events is required. Here, we extend the observational record of marginal thinning of Helheim glacier (HG) and Kangerdlugssuaq glacier (KG) from 7 to 30 years. Our measurements reveal that, although the...... frontal portion of HG thinned by more than 100 m during 2003–2006, it thickened by more than 50 m during 1981–1997. During the same periods, KG was stable until 1998 and experienced major thinning only after 2003. Analyses of their sensitivity to sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and variations in...... air temperature suggest that both outlet glaciers respond immediately to small ﬂuctuations in both the SST and air temperature. Furthermore, we compare our observations of ice ﬂow speed and elevation changes with predictions based on the The Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) software....
Kumar, V.; Singh, S. K.; Venkataraman, G.
The Himalaya is the highest but the youngest mountain belt (20 to 60 million years B.P.) of the earth running in arc shape for about 2500 km. It has more than 90 peaks above 6000 m and contains about 50% of all glaciers outside of the polar environments (Bahadur, 1993). All glaciers in this region are in general recession since last 150 years (Paul et al.,1979). Gangotri, Siachen, Bara Shigri and Patsio are major glaciers in this region which are showing retreat with different rates and their respective tributary glaciers are completely disconnected from main body of glaciers. Spaceborne synthetic aperture radar data provide an important tool for monitoring the fluctuation of the glaciers. In this paper attempt has been made for quantifying the glacier retreat using multitemporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. SAR intensity and phase information will be exploited separately under SAR intensity tracking and interferometric SAR (InSAR) coherence tracking (Strozzi et al., 2002) respectively. Glacier retreat study have been done using time series coregistered multi temporal SAR images. Simultaneously InSAR coherence thresholding is applied for tracking the snout of Gangotri glacier. It is observed that glacier is retreating at the rate of 21 m/a. Availability of high resolution spotlight mode TerraSAR-X SAR data will supplement the ENVISAT ASAR and ERS-1/2 based observations. The observatory in the proximity of Gangotri glacier has been made functional at Bhojbasa and all weather parameters viz. Snow fall, temperature, pressure, air vector, column water vapor and humidity are recorded twice a day as per WMO standards manually and automatically. Three Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) have been established in the glacier area at Bhojbasa , Kalindipass and Nandaban. Since Himalayan environment is presently under great stress of decay and degeneration, AWS data will be analyzed in the context of climate change effects on fluctuation of glaciers. References 1.Jagdish
This study presents a reconstruction of the seasonal mass balance of Glacier No. 354, located in the Akshiirak range, Kyrgyzstan, from 2003 to 2014. We use a distributed accumulation and temperature-index melt model driven by daily air temperature and precipitation from a nearby meteorological station. The model is calibrated with in situ measurements of the annual mass balance collected from 2011 to 2014. The snow-cover depletion pattern observed using satellite imagery provides additional i...
R. H. Giesen; Oerlemans, J.
Global applications of surface mass balance models have large uncertainties, as a result of poor climate input data and limited availability of mass balance measurements. This study addresses several possible consequences of these limitations for the modelled mass balance. This is done by applying a simple surface mass balance model that only requires air temperature and precipitation as input data, to glaciers in different regions. In contrast to other models used in global applications...
Mottram, Ruth; Gleeson, Emily; Pagh Nielsen, Kristian
Developed by the large ALADIN-HIRLAM consortium, the numerical weather prediction (NWP) model system HARMONIE is run by a large number of national weather services and research institutions in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa for weather forecasting. It is now being adopted for climate research purposes as a limited area model in a form known as HCLIM. It is currently run for a number of domains, mostly in Europe but also including Greenland, at a very high resolution (~2.5 km). HARMONIE is a convection permitting non-hydrostatic model that includes the multi-purpose SURFEX surface model. By improving the characterization of glacier surfaces within SURFEX we show that weather forecast errors over both the Greenland ice sheet and over Icelandic glaciers can be significantly reduced. The improvements also facilitate increasingly accurate ice melt and runoff computations, which are important both for ice surface mass balance estimations and hydropower forecasting. These improvements will also benefit the operational HARMONIE domains that cover the Svalbard archipelago, the Alps and the Scandinavian mountain glaciers. Future uses of HCLIM for these regions, where accurately characterizing glacial terrain will be crucial for climate and glaciological applications, are also expected to benefit from this improvement. Here, we report the first results with a new glacier surface scheme in the HARMONIE model, validated with observations from the PROMICE network of automatic weather stations in Greenland. The scheme upgrades the existing surface energy balance over glaciers by including a new albedo parameterization for bare glacier ice and appropriate coefficients for calculating the turbulent fluxes. In addition the snow scheme from the SURFEX land surface module has been upgraded to allow the retention and refreezing of meltwater in the snowpack. These changes allow us to estimate surface mass balance over glaciers at a range of model resolutions that can take full
Boerst, U.; Winiger, M.; Bookhagen, B.
In line with an almost worldwide trend the (non-surging) glaciers in the Hindukush-Karakoram-Himalaya Range manifest a remarkable down melting of their tongues and retreating of their terminuses in the last few decades. A series of recent studies prove an overall negative mass balance for most of the Himalayan glaciers. Contrary to these statements various publications register stable or positive mass balances for a number of glaciers located in the NW-Karakoram Mountains - postulating the so-called 'Karakoram-Anomaly'. Unlike the many investigations in the Himalaya, the Karakoram records very few detailed local investigations emphasizing the spatial and temporal development of glaciers. This presentation focuses on the Batura Glacier in NW-Karakorum in Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan). With a west-to-east extension of ~ 57 km and an elevation range of 5.3 km (2.500 - 7.800 masl), the Batura Glacier belongs to the worldwide largest glaciers in the mid and low latitudes. Detailed mapping and further ground-based investigations have been carried out in the 1920ies, 1953/59, 1974/5 and in the past few years by different research teams. In order to determine the glacier's mass balance for the last 50 years we relied on Digital Elevation Models (DEMs): digitized maps from 1959 and 1974 are compared to DEMs derived through stereogrammetry from ASTER-scenes for 2001, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011. The ASTER-DEMs were post-processed with various correction methods and techniques to insure the relative DEM comparability and include corrections for aspect, altitude, and tilt. Next, we calculated surface differences from the ice and snow-free areas with respect to the SRTM C-Band DEM. Our remote sensing techniques are supplemented by differential GPS measurements and ice-surface profiles from 2013 as well as by multi-temporal photography matching. Preliminary results indicate a significant down melting of the glacier tongue from 1959 to the present day and acceleration during the past
Klok, E.J.; Oerlemans, J.
Glaciers have fluctuated in historic times and the length fluctuations of many glaciers are known. From these glacier length records, a climate reconstruction described in terms of a reconstruction of the equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) or the mass-balance can be extracted. In order to derive a clim
刘潮海; 康尔泗; 刘时银; 陈建明; 刘宗香
The glaciers in the arid region of Northwest China are viewed as an independent system, and glacier variation and mass balance fluctuation since the Little Ice Age and in the recent decades are estimated. Based on the estimation, the threshold time of glacier runoff against the backgrounds of the current and future varying climate conditions is simulated.
Sahade, Ricardo; Lagger, Cristian; Torre, Luciana; Momo, Fernando; Monien, Patrick; Schloss, Irene; Barnes, David K A; Servetto, Natalia; Tarantelli, Soledad; Tatián, Marcos; Zamboni, Nadia; Abele, Doris
The Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is one of the three places on Earth that registered the most intense warming in the last 50 years, almost five times the global mean. This warming has strongly affected the cryosphere, causing the largest ice-shelf collapses ever observed and the retreat of 87% of glaciers. Ecosystem responses, although increasingly predicted, have been mainly reported for pelagic systems. However, and despite most Antarctic species being benthic, responses in the Antarctic benthos have been detected in only a few species, and major effects at assemblage level are unknown. This is probably due to the scarcity of baselines against which to assess change. We performed repeat surveys of coastal benthos in 1994, 1998, and 2010, analyzing community structure and environmental variables at King George Island, Antarctica. We report a marked shift in an Antarctic benthic community that can be linked to ongoing climate change. However, rather than temperature as the primary factor, we highlight the resulting increased sediment runoff, triggered by glacier retreat, as the potential causal factor. The sudden shift from a "filter feeders-ascidian domination" to a "mixed assemblage" suggests that thresholds (for example, of tolerable sedimentation) and alternative equilibrium states, depending on the reversibility of the changes, could be possible traits of this ecosystem. Sedimentation processes will be increasing under the current scenario of glacier retreat, and attention needs to be paid to its effects along the AP. PMID:26702429
Bamber, Jonathan L.; Rivera, Andres
Airborne and satellite remote sensing is the only practical approach for deriving a wide area, regional assessment of glacier mass balance. A number of remote sensing approaches are possible for inferring the mass balance from some sort of proxy estimate. Here, we review the key methods relevant, in particular to Andean glaciers, discussing their strengths and weaknesses, and data sets that could be more fully exploited. We also consider future satellite missions that will provide advances in our observational capabilities. The methods discussed include observation of elevation changes, estimation of ice flux, repeat measurement of changes in spatial extent, snowline elevation and accumulation-ablation area ratio estimation. The methods are illustrated utilising a comprehensive review of results obtained from a number of studies of South American glaciers, focusing specifically on the Patagonian Icefields. In particular, we present some new results from Glaciar Chico, Southern Patagonian Icefield, Chile, where a variety of different satellite and in-situ data have been combined to estimate mass balance using a geodetic or elevation change approach over about a 25 yr period.
Full Text Available We present glacier thickness changes over the entire Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya arc based on ICESat satellite altimetry data for 2003–2008. The strongest thinning (−1 is observed for the East Nyainqêntanglha Shan. Conversely, glaciers of the West Kunlun Shan are slightly gaining volume, and Pamir and Karakoram seem to be on the western edge of an anomaly rather than its centre. For the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra basins, the glacier mass change reaches −22 ± 3 Gt yr−1, about 10% of the current glacier contribution to sea-level rise. For selected catchments over the study area we estimate glacier imbalance contributions to river runoff from a few percent to far over 10%. We highlight the importance of C-band penetration for studies based on the SRTM elevation model. To the very east and west of our study area, this penetration seems to be of larger magnitude and variability than previously assumed.
Huss, Matthias; Hock, Regine
Water resources in mountain areas worldwide importantly depend on the runoff contribution by glaciers. Glacial water storage acts as an equilibrating element in the global hydrological cycle on various temporal scales. With ongoing and future glacier retreat a growing concern regarding water supply security in glacier-fed basins arises. However, glacier runoff projections at the regional or global scale are still rare and better models are urgently needed for planning and adaptation measures to cope with a changing seasonal distribution of water yields. Moreover, it is still an open debate in which region "peak water" - the maximum contribution of melting glaciers to runoff - has already been reached, i.e. whether increasing or declining annual runoff volumes must be expected. Here, we present results of a novel global glacier model for calculating the 21st century response of surface mass balance, three-dimensional glacier geometry and monthly water discharge for each individual glacier around the globe. The current surface geometry and thickness distribution for each of the world's roughly 200'000 glaciers is extracted from the Randolph Glacier Inventory and terrain models. Our simulations are driven with 14 Global Circulation Models from the CMIP5 project using the RCP4.5, RCP8.5 and RCP2.6 scenarios. We focus on the timing of peak water from glacierized catchments in all climatic regions of the earth and the corresponding importance of changes in the runoff regime on hydrological stress. The maximum rate of water release from glacial storage is subject to a high spatio-temporal variability depending on glacier characteristics and the transient response to climatic change. Furthermore, we discuss the significance of projected variations in glacier runoff in relation to the hydrology of the world's large-scale drainage basins and population distribution, and highlight 'hot spot' regions where the wastage of current ice volume is particularly relevant.
Piermattei, Livia; Carturan, Luca; Calligaro, Simone; Blasone, Giacomo; Guarnieri, Alberto; Tarolli, Paolo; Dalla Fontana, Giancarlo; Vettore, Antonio
Digital elevation models (DEMs) of glaciated terrain are commonly used to measure changes in geometry and hence infer the mass balance of glaciers. Different tools and methods exist to obtain information about the 3D geometry of terrain. Recent improvements on the quality and performance of digital cameras for close-range photogrammetry, and the development of automatic digital photogrammetric processing makes the 'structure from motion' photogrammetric technique (SfM) competitive for high quality 3D models production, compared to efficient but also expensive and logistically-demanding survey technologies such as airborn and terrestrial laser scanner (TLS). The purpose of this work is to test the SfM approach, using a consumer-grade SLR camera and the low-cost computer vision-based software package Agisoft Photoscan (Agisoft LLC), to monitor the mass balance of Montasio Occidentale glacier, a 0.07km2, low-altitude, debris-covered glacier located in the Eastern Italian Alps. The quality of the 3D models produced by the SfM process has been assessed by comparison with digital terrain models obtained through TLS surveys carried out at the same dates. TLS technique has indeed proved to be very effective in determining the volume change of this glacier in the last years. Our results shows that the photogrammetric approach can produce point cloud densities comparable to those derived from TLS measurements. Furthermore, the horizontal and vertical accuracies are also of the same order of magnitude as for TLS (centimetric to decimetric). The effect of different landscape characteristics (e.g. distance from the camera or terrain gradient) and of different substrata (rock, debris, ice, snow and firn) was also evaluated in terms of SfM reconstruction's accuracy vs. TLS. Given the good results obtained on the Montasio Occidentale glacier, it can be concluded that the terrestrial photogrammetry, with the advantageous features of portability, ease of use and above all low costs
Sorg, Annina; Kääb, Andreas; Roesch, Andrea; Bigler, Christof; Stoffel, Markus
While the responses of Tien Shan glaciers--and glaciers elsewhere--to climatic changes are becoming increasingly well understood, this is less the case for permafrost in general and for rock glaciers in particular. We use a novel approach to describe the climate sensitivity of rock glaciers and to reconstruct periods of high and low rock glacier activity in the Tien Shan since 1895. Using more than 1500 growth anomalies from 280 trees growing on rock glacier bodies, repeat aerial photography from Soviet archives and high-resolution satellite imagery, we present here the world's longest record of rock glacier movements. We also demonstrate that the rock glaciers exhibit synchronous periods of activity at decadal timescales. Despite the complex energy-balance processes on rock glaciers, periods of enhanced activity coincide with warm summers, and the annual mass balance of Tuyuksu glacier fluctuates asynchronously with rock glacier activity. At multi-decadal timescales, however, the investigated rock glaciers exhibit site-specific trends reflecting different stages of inactivation, seemingly in response to the strong increase in air temperature since the 1970s. PMID:25657095
Pelto, Mauri S.
Three lines of evidence indicate that North Cascade (Washington, USA) glaciers are currently in a state of disequilibrium. First, annual balance measured on nine glaciers yields a mean cumulative balance for the 1984-2004 period of -8.58 m water equivalent (w.e.), a net loss of ice thickness exceeding 9.5 m. This is a significant loss for glaciers that average 30-50 m in thickness, representing 18-32% of their entire volume.Second, longitudinal profiles completed in 1984 and 2002 on 12 North Cascade glaciers confirm this volume change indicating a loss of -5.7 to -6.3 m in thickness (5.0-5.6 m w.e.) between 1984 and 2002, agreeing well with the measured cumulative balance of -5.52 m w.e. for the same period. The change in thickness on several glaciers has been equally substantial in the accumulation zone and the ablation zone, indicating that there is no point to which the glacier can retreat to achieve equilibrium. Substantial thinning along the entire length of a glacier is the key indicator that a glacier is in disequilibrium.Third, North Cascade glacier retreat is rapid and ubiquitous. All 47 glaciers monitored are currently undergoing significant retreat or, in the case of four, have disappeared. Two of the glaciers where mass balance observations were begun, Spider Glacier and Lewis Glacier, have disappeared. The retreat since 1984 of eight Mount Baker glaciers that were all advancing in 1975 has averaged 297 m. These observations indicate broad regional continuity in glacial response to climate.
Kumar, Amit; Verma, Akshaya; Dobhal, Dwarika Prasad; Mehta, Manish; Kesarwani, Kapil
In the Himalayas, most of the glaciers are covered by thick debris, especially in the ablation zone. Supraglacial debris cover might play an important role for sediment budget of the glaciated area or for the ablation of ice masses mantled in debris. During summer season, proglacial meltwater carries considerable amount of suspended sediment. The deglaciated area provides a ready source of sediment during Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM). The heavy sediment load from the glaciers affects the hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. Therefore, to understand the sediment delivery from glaciated basins, characteristics and variation of the suspended sediment concentrations in the proglacial meltwater stream, Dokriani Glacier, have been monitored during the ablation season (May-September). Suspended sediment samples were collected near the snout of Dokriani Glacier, Garhwal Himalaya, in 2010 and 2011. Results show that mean monthly suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) were 1499, 2303, 3845 and 1649 mg/l for the months June, July, August, and September, respectively, indicating highest concentration in August followed by July. Over the period of recording, daily mean suspended concentration in the melt stream varied from 13-9798.2 mg/l, which is very high, caused due to a flash flood event during the monitoring period. The mean daily suspended sediment concentration was computed to be 2196 mg/l. The suspended sediment concentration begins to increase with discharge from May and reduces in September. Present study provides TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) derived and field based hydro-meteorological insight about severe rainstorms during the years 2010 and 2011 in the study area, which transported large amounts of sediment.
Amit Kumar; Akshaya Verma; Dwarika Prasad Dobhal; Manish Mehta; Kapil Kesarwani
In the Himalayas, most of the glaciers are covered by thick debris, especially in the ablation zone. Supraglacial debris cover might play an important role for sediment budget of the glaciated area or for the ablation of ice masses mantled in debris. During summer season, proglacial meltwater carries considerable amount of suspended sediment. The deglaciated area provides a ready source of sediment during Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM). The heavy sediment load from the glaciers affects the hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. Therefore, to understand the sediment delivery from glaciated basins, characteristics and variation of the suspended sediment concentrations in the proglacial meltwater stream, Dokriani Glacier, have been monitored during the ablation season (May– September). Suspended sediment samples were collected near the snout of Dokriani Glacier, Garhwal Himalaya, in 2010 and 2011. Results show that mean monthly suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) were 1499, 2303, 3845 and 1649 mg/l for the months June, July, August, and September, respectively, indicating highest concentration in August followed by July. Over the period of recording, daily mean suspended concentration in the melt stream varied from 13–9798.2 mg/l, which is very high, caused due to a flash flood event during the monitoring period. The mean daily suspended sediment concentration was computed to be 2196 mg/l. The suspended sediment concentration begins to increase with discharge from May and reduces in September. Present study provides TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) derived and field based hydro-meteorological insight about severe rainstorms during the years 2010 and 2011 in the study area, which transported large amounts of sediment.
Integrated analysis of environmental drivers, spatiotemporal variability and rates of contemporary chemical and mechanical fluvial denudation in selected glacierized and non-glacierized cold climate catchment systems
Beylich, Achim A.
There is, by today, an impressive number of quantitative process geomorphic studies presenting contemporary chemical or mechanical fluvial denudation rates from a wide range of cold climate catchment geo-systems worldwide. However, the number of quantitative studies that actually considers and includes all three main components of fluvial transport, i.e. solute transport, suspended sediment transport and bedload transport, is actually rather small. Most of the existing studies include one or, at best, two of these main components. At the same time, it is generally accepted that a knowledge of the quantitative shares of fluvial solute, suspended sediment and bedload transport of the total fluvial transport, together with detailed information on sediment sources and sediment storage, is needed for the reliable quantitative construction and understanding of present-day sedimentary budgets. In this contribution, results from longer-term process geomorphic work conducted in selected glacierized and non-glacierized high-latitude and high-altitude cold climate catchment systems in Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland are compared. The size of the six studied catchment geo-systems ranges from 7.0 km2 to 79.5 km2. Contemporary chemical and mechanical fluvial denudation rates measured in the defined catchment systems with different cold climates, varying degrees of glacier coverage, different lithologies and general sediment availabilities, different catchment morphometries, and varying degrees of vegetation cover are presented. By direct comparisons between the six different catchments environmental controls of the computed annual denudation rates are detected and the spatial variability of the contemporary chemical and mechanical fluvial denudation rates found across the different cold climate catchment systems is explained. Annual fluvial denudation rates generally increase with increasing topographic relief, increasing mean slope angles, increasing annual precipitation
Full Text Available A 36 m long ice core down to bedrock from the Cerro Tapado glacier (5536 m a.s.l, 30°08' S, 69°55' W was analyzed to reconstruct past climatic conditions for Northern Chile. Because of the marked seasonality in the precipitation (short wet winter and extended dry summer periods in this region, major snow ablation and related post-depositional processes occur on the glacier surface during summer periods. They include predominantly sublimation and dry deposition. Assuming that, like measured during the field campaign, the enrichment of chloride was always related to sublimation, the chemical record along the ice core may be applied to reconstruct the history of such secondary processes linked to the past climatic conditions over northern Chile. For the time period 1962–1999, a mean annual net accumulation of 316 mm water equivalent (weq and 327 mm weq loss by sublimation was deduced by this method. This corresponds to an initial total annual accumulation of 539 mm weq. The annual variability of the accumulation and sublimation is related with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI: higher net-accumulation during El-Niño years and more sublimation during La Niña years. The deepest part of the ice record shows a time discontinuity; with an ice body deposited under different climatic conditions: 290 mm higher precipitation but with reduced seasonal distribution (+470 mm in winter and –180 mm in summer and –3°C lower mean annual temperature. Unfortunately, its age is unknown. The comparison with regional proxy data however let us conclude that the glacier buildup did most likely occur after the dry mid-Holocene.
Galos, Stephan; Hofer, Marlis; Marzeion, Ben; Mölg, Thomas; Großhauser, Martin
Due to their setting, tropical glaciers are sensitive indicators of mid-tropospheric meteorological variability and climate change. Furthermore these glaciers are of particular interest because they respond faster to climatic changes than glaciers located in mid- or high-latitudes. As long-term direct meteorological measurements in such remote environments are scarce, reanalysis data (e.g. ERA-Interim) provide a highly valuable source of information. Reanalysis datasets (i) enable a temporal extension of data records gained by direct measurements and (ii) provide information from regions where direct measurements are not available. In order to properly derive the physical exchange processes between glaciers and atmosphere from reanalysis data, downscaling procedures are required. In the present study we investigate if downscaled atmospheric variables (air temperature and relative humidity) from a reanalysis dataset can be used as input for a physically based, high resolution energy and mass balance model. We apply a well validated empirical-statistical downscaling model, fed with ERA-Interim data, to an automated weather station (AWS) on the surface of Glaciar Artesonraju (8.96° S | 77.63° W). The downscaled data is then used to replace measured air temperature and relative humidity in the input for the energy and mass balance model, which was calibrated using ablation data from stakes and a sonic ranger. In order to test the sensitivity of the modeled mass balance to the downscaled data, the results are compared to a reference model run driven solely with AWS data as model input. We finally discuss the results and present future perspectives for further developing this method.
L. S. Anderson; Anderson, R. S.
Debris-covered glaciers are common in rapidly-eroding alpine landscapes. When thicker than a few centimeters, surface debris suppresses melt rates. If continuous debris cover is present, mass balance gradients can be reduced leading to increases in glacier length. In order to quantify feedbacks in the debris-glacier-climate system, we developed a 2-D long-valley numerical glacier model that includes englacial and supraglacial advection. We ran 120 simulations in which a steady state debris-fr...
Huybrechts, Philippe; Nooze, P. de; Decleir, H.
A numerical glacier model has been developed for Glacier d'Argentiere (France) in order to study its relation with climate and investigate possible causes forthe observed variations in the terminus record since the beginning of the Little Ice Age. At first results are presented from a basic sensitivity investigation,with plots of steady state glacier length versus perturbations in mass balance and glacier reaction with respect to sinusoidal net balance oscillations. An attemptis then made to ...
Shahgedanova, Maria; Nosenko, Gennady; Khromova, Tatyana; Muraveyev, Anton
This paper examines changes in the surface area of glaciers in the North and South Chuya Ridges, Altai Mountains in 1952-2004 and their links with regional climatic variations. The glacier surface areas for 2004 were derived from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) imagery. Data from the World Glacier Inventory (WGI) dating to 1952 and aerial photographs from 1952 were used to estimate the changes. 256 glaciers with a combined area of 253 ± 5.1 km2 have been identified in the region in 2004. Estimation of changes in extent of 126 glaciers with the individual areas not less than 0.5 km2 in 1952 revealed a 19.7 ± 5.8% reduction. The observed glacier retreat is primarily driven by an increase in summer temperatures since the 1980s when air temperatures were increasing at a rate of 0.10-0.13°C a-1 at the glacier tongue elevation. The regional climate projections for A2 and B2 CO2 emission scenarios developed using PRECIS regional climate model indicate that summer temperatures will increase in the Altai in 2071-2100 by 6-7°C and 3-5°C respectively in comparison with 1961-1990 while annual precipitation will increase by 15% and 5%. The length of the ablation season will extend from June-August to the late April-early October. The projected increases in precipitation will not compensate for the projected warming and glaciers will continue to retreat in the 21st century under both B2 and A2 scenarios.
The Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalaya (HKH) region has a negative average glacial mass balance for the present day despite anomalous possible gains in the Karakoram. However, changes in climate over the 21st century may influence the mass balance across the HKH. This study uses regional climate modelling to analyse the implications of unmitigated climate change on precipitation, snowfall, air temperature and accumulated positive degree days for the Hindu Kush (HK), Karakor...
The Hindu-Kush, Karakoram Himalaya (HKKH) region has a negative average glacial mass balance despite anomalous possible gains in the Karakoram. However, changes in climate may influence the mass balance across the HKKH. We use high resolution climate modelling to analyse the implications of unmitigated climate change on precipitation, snowfall, air temperature and accumulated degree days for the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and West Nepal regions, and East Nep...
Molnia, B. F.
For nearly 15 years, I have used repeat photography of Alaskan glaciers and landscapes to communicate to fellow scientists, policymakers, the media, and society that Alaskan glaciers and landscapes have been experiencing significant change in response to post-Little Ice Age climate change. I began this pursuit after being contacted by a U.S. Department of the Interior senior official who requested unequivocal and unambiguous documentation that climate change was real and underway. After considering several options as to how best respond to this challenge, I decided that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a pair of photographs, both with the same field of view, spanning a century or more, and showing dramatic differences, would speak volumes to documenting that dynamic climate change is occurring over a very broad region of Alaska. To me, understating the obvious with photographic pairs was the best mechanism to present irrefutable, unambiguous, nonjudgmental, as well as unequivocal visual documentation that climate change was both underway and real. To date, more than 150 pairs that meet these criteria have been produced. What has surprised me most is that the many of the photographs contained in the pairs present beautiful images of stark, remote landscapes that convey the majestic nature of this dynamic region with its unique topography and landscapes. Typically, over periods of just several decades, the photographed landscapes change from black and white to blue and green. White ice becomes blue water and dark rock becomes lush vegetation. Repeat photography is a technique in which a historical photograph and a modern photograph, both having the same field of view, are compared and contrasted to quantitatively and qualitatively determine their similarities and differences. I have used this technique from both ground-based photo stations and airborne platforms at Alaskan locations in Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
R. H. Giesen
Full Text Available Global applications of surface mass balance models have large uncertainties, as a result of poor climate input data and limited availability of mass balance measurements. This study addresses several possible consequences of these limitations for the modelled mass balance. This is done by applying a simple surface mass balance model that only requires air temperature and precipitation as input data, to glaciers in different regions. In contrast to other models used in global applications, this model separately calculates the contributions of net solar radiation and the temperature-dependent fluxes to the energy balance. We derive a relation for these temperature-dependent fluxes using automatic weather station (AWS measurements from glaciers in different climates. With local, hourly input data, the model is well able to simulate the observed seasonal variations in the surface energy and mass balance at the AWS sites. Replacing the hourly local data by monthly gridded climate data removes summer snowfall and winter melt events and hence influences the modelled mass balance most on locations with a small seasonal temperature cycle. Representative values for the multiplication factor and vertical gradient of precipitation are determined by fitting modelled winter mass balance profiles to observations on 80 glaciers in different regions. For 72 of the 80 glaciers, the precipitation provided by the climate data set has to be multiplied with a factor above unity; the median factor is 2.55. The vertical precipitation gradient ranges from negative to positive values, with more positive values for maritime glaciers and a median value of 1.5 mm a−1 m. With calibrated precipitation, the modelled annual mass balance gradient closely resembles the observations on the 80 glaciers, the absolute values are matched by adjusting either the incoming solar radiation, the temperature-dependent flux or the air temperature. The mass balance sensitivity to
Giesen, R. H.; Oerlemans, J.
Global applications of surface mass balance models have large uncertainties, as a result of poor climate input data and limited availability of mass balance measurements. This study addresses several possible consequences of these limitations for the modelled mass balance. This is done by applying a simple surface mass balance model that only requires air temperature and precipitation as input data, to glaciers in different regions. In contrast to other models used in global applications, this model separately calculates the contributions of net solar radiation and the temperature-dependent fluxes to the energy balance. We derive a relation for these temperature-dependent fluxes using automatic weather station (AWS) measurements from glaciers in different climates. With local, hourly input data, the model is well able to simulate the observed seasonal variations in the surface energy and mass balance at the AWS sites. Replacing the hourly local data by monthly gridded climate data removes summer snowfall and winter melt events and hence influences the modelled mass balance most on locations with a small seasonal temperature cycle. Representative values for the multiplication factor and vertical gradient of precipitation are determined by fitting modelled winter mass balance profiles to observations on 80 glaciers in different regions. For 72 of the 80 glaciers, the precipitation provided by the climate data set has to be multiplied with a factor above unity; the median factor is 2.55. The vertical precipitation gradient ranges from negative to positive values, with more positive values for maritime glaciers and a median value of 1.5 mm a-1 m. With calibrated precipitation, the modelled annual mass balance gradient closely resembles the observations on the 80 glaciers, the absolute values are matched by adjusting either the incoming solar radiation, the temperature-dependent flux or the air temperature. The mass balance sensitivity to changes in temperature is
Reeh, Niels; Mayer, C.; Olesen, O. B.;
Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden glacier is a > 60 km long and 20 km wide floating outlet glacier located at 79 degrees 30' N, 22 degrees W, draining a large area of the northeast Greenland ice sheet. Climate, mass-balance and dynamics studies were carried out on the glacier in three field seasons in 1996......, 1997 and 1998. As part of this work, tidal-movement observations were carried out by simultaneous differential global positioning system (GPS) measurements at several locations distributed on the glacier surface. The GPS observations were performed continuously over several tidal cycles. At the same...... time, tiltmeter measurements were carried out in the grounding zones along the glacier margins and upstream, where the glacier leaves the main ice sheet. A tide gauge installed in the sea immediately in front of the glacier front recorded the tide in the open sea during the field seasons. The...
Machguth, H.; P. Rastner; Bolch, T.; Mölg, N; N. Mölg; Sørensen, L Sandberg; Sørensen, L Sandberg; Aðalgeirsdottir, G; Aðalgeirsdottir, G.; van Angelen, J.H.; van den Broeke, M. R.; X. Fettweis
We calculate the future sea-level rise contribution from the surface mass balance of all of Greenland's glaciers and ice caps (GICs, ~90?000 km2) using a simplified energy balance model which is driven by three future climate scenarios from the regional climate models HIRHAM5, RACMO2 and MAR. Glacier extent and surface elevation are modified during the mass balance model runs according to a glacier retreat parameterization. Mass balance and glacier surface change are both calculated on a 250 ...
Sattler, Katrin; Anderson, Brian; Mackintosh, Andrew; Norton, Kevin; de Róiste, Mairéad
Alpine permafrost occurrence in maritime climates has received little attention, despite suggestions that permafrost may occur at lower elevations than in continental climates. To assess the spatial and altitudinal limits of permafrost in the maritime Southern Alps, we developed and tested a catchment-scale distributed permafrost estimate. We used logistic regression to identify the relationship between permafrost presence at 280 active and relict rock glacier sites and the independent variab...
Katrin eSattler; Brian eAnderson; Andrew eMackintosh; Kevin eNorton; Mairéad ede Róiste
Alpine permafrost occurrence in maritime climates has received little attention, despite suggestions that permafrost may occur at lower elevations than in continental climates. To assess the spatial and altitudinal limits of permafrost in the maritime Southern Alps, we developed and tested a catchment-scale distributed permafrost estimate. We used logistic regression to identify the relationship between permafrost presence at 280 active and relict rock glacier sites and the independent variab...
Glaciers are widely recognized as key indicators of climate change. Recent evidence suggests an acceleration of glacier mass loss in several key mountain regions. Glacier recession implies landscape changes in the glacial zone, the origin of new lakes and activation of natural disaster processes, catastrophic mudflows, ice avalanches, outburst floods, etc. The absence or inadequacy of such information results in financial and human losses. A more comprehensive evaluation of glacier changes is imperative to assess ice contributions to global sea level rise and the future of water resources from glacial basins. One of the urgent steps is a full inventory of all ice bodies and their changes. The first estimation of glacier state and glacier distribution on the territory of the former Soviet Union has been done in the USSR Glacier Inventory (UGI) published in 1965–1982. The UGI is based on topographic maps and air photos and reflects the status of the glaciers in the 1940s–1970s. There is information about 28 884 glaciers with an area of 7830.75 km2 in the inventory. It covers 25 glacier systems in Northern Eurasia. In the 1980s the UGI has been transformed into digital form as a part of the World Glacier Inventory (WGI). Recent satellite data provide a unique opportunity to look again at these glaciers and to evaluate changes in glacier extent for the second part of the 20th century. About 15 000 glacier outlines for the Caucasus, Polar Urals, Pamir Alay, Tien Shan, Altai, Kamchatka and Russian Arctic have been derived from ASTER and Landsat imagery and can be used for glacier change evaluation. Results of the analysis indicate the steady trend in glacier shrinkage in all mountain regions for the second part of the 20th century. Glacier area loss for the studied regions varies from 13% (Tien Shan) to 22.3% (Polar Urals). The common driver, most likely, is an increase in summer air temperature. There is also a very large variability in the degree of individual
Full Text Available By means of Monte Carlo simulations we calculated uncertainty in modelled cumulative mass balance over 400 days at one particular point on the tongue of Morteratsch Glacier, Switzerland, using a glacier energy balance model of intermediate complexity. Before uncertainty assessment, the model was tuned to observed mass balance for the investigated time period and its robustness was tested by comparing observed and modelled mass balance over 11 years, yielding very small deviations. Both systematic and random uncertainties are assigned to twelve input parameters and their respective values estimated from the literature or from available meteorological data sets. The calculated overall uncertainty in the model output is dominated by systematic errors and amounts to 0.7 m w.e. or approximately 10% of total melt over the investigated time span. In order to provide a first order estimate on variability in uncertainty depending on the quality of input data, we conducted a further experiment, calculating overall uncertainty for different levels of uncertainty in measured global radiation and air temperature. Our results show that the output of a well calibrated model is subject to considerable uncertainties, in particular when applied for extrapolation in time and space where systematic errors are likely to be an important issue.
Pearce, D.; Rea, B. R.; Barr, I.; Small, D.; McDougall, D.
In the U.K., the glacial geomorphological record has been utilised to infer paleo-glacier geometries and ice dynamics, with much of this work focussing on the Scottish Highlands during the Younger Dryas (YD; c. 12.9 - 11.7 ka BP). During the YD the West Highlands Ice-cap covered the majority of the Scottish Highlands (c. 13,000 sq mi), which is thought to have affected accumulation rates beyond the ice-cap margins, resulting in a steep (c. 80%) easterly decline in precipitation and smaller ice-masses. We present multi-proxy data investigating YD glaciation in the Tweedsmuir Hills, Southern Uplands, Scotland (55°46' N, 03°34' W), suggesting conditions were less arid. The area forms the most easterly upland region in the Southern Uplands and south of the West Highlands Ice-cap, reaching an altitude of 840 m and covering c. 200 sq mi. Results of air-photo interpretation and field mapping, which utilised a morphostratigraphic approach, have demonstrated a more extensive glaciation than previously mapped. The reconstruction consists of two separate icefields covering an area c. 40 sq mi. and new 14C dates of basal contact organics place the ice-mass within the context of the YD but new Cosmogenic Nuclide Analysis (CNA) of bedrock and in situ boulders are inconclusive, implying limited erosion and limited resetting during the YD. Equilibrium Line Altitudes are calculated to have ranged from c. 419 - 634 m. Paleo-precipitation values were derived using two precipitation-temperature relationships and suggest slightly lower totals than YD ice-masses located on the west coast of the U.K. but do not support a significant easterly reduction in precipitation. Analysis of present-day (c. 30 year) meteorological data across the U.K. demonstrates a pronounced reduction in precipitation of c. 50% on the east coast. This disparity between present-day and glacier-based YD precipitation patterns is partly attributable to the methodology employed in glacier reconstruction and
张国飞; 李忠勤; 王文彬; 王卫东
Tianshan Mountains Glacier No. 1 experienced glacier nine times positive balance fluctuation and nine times negative balance fluctuation, the rates of negative balance years with positive balance years are 35:16. With global warming,the Urumqi Glacier No.l is retreating and thinning rapidly,especially from 1997 to 2009,there are continuous 12 negative balance observation years at Tianshan Mountains Glacier No.l. It shows that the Glacier No.l in a strong negative numerical balance, and the strongest negative balance, -931 mm. w.e., emerges from 2008 during the observation period. And what' s more, the cumulative mass balance reaches 13 709 mm. w.e. in 2008. But in 2009,the mass balance is positive,63 mm. w.e.,and the inter-annual change up to 1 062 mm. w.e.. Glacier mass balance is highly sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation , which makes them become important indicators of climate change. When temperature reach the higher or lower, the mass balance of warm season supplied Glacier controlled by the temperature though the precipitation is great or small, Summer air temperature is the main control factors for the change of glacier mass balance. By analyzing the observation data of mass balances, air temperature and precipitation at Urumuqi Glacier No.l between 2007/08 and 2008/09, the lower summer temperature is the main factor to result in the phenomenon. The lower summer temperature caused the start time of glacial ablation period was delayed and the end time of glacier ablation was advanced, so the loss mass reduced. And, secondly, increase annual precipitation is one of factor represent addition of mass to the glacier.
Gomez, C. A.; Purdie, H.
As global climate continues warm, mountain environments are changing, and rates of glacial retreat are unprecedented. The hydrologic implications of this rapid ice retreat and changing climate conditions have been the focus of numerous studies, but the consequent effects on the sediment cascade in valleys and tributaries has received considerably less attention. In the present study, we investigated the role of glacial recession on sediment mobilization and deposition in a mountain valley catchment at Fox Glacier, New Zealand. In particular, we analyze the role of glacier recession on the formation of sediment fans in the main valley. Emphasis was put on the role of sediment, impounded by the glacier in side tributaries, becoming rapidly available for remobilization as the glacier retreats. The method is based on field observations, and measurements using high resolution GNSS (Trimble R8 survey grade differential GNSS) and photogrammetric methods using Structure from Motion based on ground-, helicopter- and UAV- photographs. Field observations were conducted in the period 2014 - 2015, and have been complimented with analogic modeling in the laboratory, in order to comprehend the processes driving rapid fan formation. The analogic model reproduced the retreat of the glacier and the response of a tributary, with simulations for both glaciated and de-glaciated conditions. For similar hydrologic and slope parameters, the fans created after glacial retreat have shown an acceleration in their formation of up to 12 times compared to fanes created without glacial influence. Field observations within the period 2013 - 2015 of Straight Creek Fan (Fox Valley, New Zealand) have confirmed laboratory simulations, with the fan growing to a radius superior to 200 m and a valley-long width superior to 450 m. As glaciers continue to retreat, it can be expected that sediment surges will occur in affected valleys, without the requirements of other forcing like earthquake or extreme
Prinz, Rainer; Nicholson, Lindsey; Mölg, Thomas; Kaser, Georg
Lewis Glacier on Mt. Kenya lost more than 80% of its area since its last stadial in the late 19th century (L19). Can we reconstruct climate conditions sustaining Lewis Glacier in its L19 extent? First, we optimized a physical based energy and mass balance model to the modern-day glacier extent with in situ observed climate observations. Second, from this record we constructed synthetic climate scenarios (based on coupled parameter perturbation applying a simple weather generator concept) as input for the mass balance model. These scenarios reflect the observed variability in precipitation and air temperature over recent decades, reproduce the observed mass balance variability for the modern-day glacier extent, and quantify the glacier's sensitivity to climate. Using the mass balance model as optimized for the modern-day glacier on the L19 extent, driven by climate perturbations most favourable to glaciation, results in negative mass balances. This would traditionally be interpreted to mean that even the extremes of the present-day climate are incapable of reproducing the L19 conditions. Alternatively or additionally, the modelling suggests that the L19 Lewis Glacier could be sustained if a favourable climate perturbation is applied in conjunction with a modification of the gradients used to extrapolate the climate observations over the glacier surface from those optimized for the very small modern-day glacier. Such a modification might be justifiable, where the modern-day glacier is so small that it is unlikely to generate significant microclimatological effects that would be expected for the larger L19 extent, when e.g. the glacier filled its cirque reducing long-wave emissions from surrounding terrain drastically. In a general sense this finding indicates that extracting proxy climate conditions from a particular glacier geometry, using a modelling system optimized on a dramatically different geometry, may invalidate the approach, particularly if changes in
White, J.D.; Running, S.W.; Thornton, P.E.; Keane, R.E.; Ryan, K.C.; Fagre, D.B.; Key, C.H.
Glacier National Park served as a test site for ecosystem analyses than involved a suite of integrated models embedded within a geographic information system. The goal of the exercise was to provide managers with maps that could illustrate probable shifts in vegetation, net primary production (NPP), and hydrologic responses associated with two selected climatic scenarios. The climatic scenarios were (a) a recent 12-yr record of weather data, and (b) a reconstituted set that sequentially introduced in repeated 3-yr intervals wetter-cooler, drier-warmer, and typical conditions. To extrapolate the implications of changes in ecosystem processes and resulting growth and distribution of vegetation and snowpack, the model incorporated geographic data. With underlying digital elevation maps, soil depth and texture, extrapolated climate, and current information on vegetation types and satellite-derived estimates of a leaf area indices, simulations were extended to envision how the park might look after 120 yr. The predictions of change included underlying processes affecting the availability of water and nitrogen. Considerable field data were acquired to compare with model predictions under current climatic conditions. In general, the integrated landscape models of ecosystem processes had good agreement with measured NPP, snowpack, and streamflow, but the exercise revealed the difficulty and necessity of averaging point measurements across landscapes to achieve comparable results with modeled values. Under the extremely variable climate scenario significant changes in vegetation composition and growth as well as hydrologic responses were predicted across the park. In particular, a general rise in both the upper and lower limits of treeline was predicted. These shifts would probably occur along with a variety of disturbances (fire, insect, and disease outbreaks) as predictions of physiological stress (water, nutrients, light) altered competitive relations and hydrologic
Naegeli, Kathrin; Huss, Matthias; Damm, Alexander; de Jong, Rogier; Schaepman, Michael; Hoelzle, Martin
The ice-albedo feedback plays a crucial role in various glaciological processes, but especially influences ice melt. Glacier surface albedo is one of the most important variables in the energy balance of snow and ice, but depends in a complicated way on many factors, such as cryoconite concentration, impurities due to mineral dust, soot or organic matter, grain size or ice surface morphology. Our understanding on how these various factors influence glacier albedo is still limited hindering a spatially and temporally explicit parameterization of energy balance models and requiring strongly simplified assumptions on actual albedo values. Over the last two decades, several studies have focused on glacier surface albedo using automatic in-situ weather stations in combination with radiation measurement setups or satellite images. Due to limitations of both approaches in matching either the spatial or the temporal length scale of glacier albedo, still fairly little is known about the state, changes and impact of glacier surface albedo in the Swiss Alps, although there are obvious changes in surface characteristics on most alpine glaciers over the last years. With use of the APEX (Airborne Prism EXperiment) image spectrometer, measurements of reflected radiation were acquired in high spatial and spectral resolution on Glacier de la Plaine Morte, Switzerland, to explicitly analyse the ice surface. In-situ radiometric measurements were acquired with an ASD field spectrometer in parallel to APEX overflights. These data are intended to be used for validation purposes as well as input data for the linear spectral unmixing analysis of the APEX data. Seasonal glacier mass balance is monitored since five years using the direct glaciological method. This contribution presents a first evaluation of the data collected in summer 2013. The obtained in-situ and airborne reflectance measurements were used in combination with a spectral mixture analysis (SMA) approach to assess the
Bajracharya, S. R.; Bajracharya, O. R.; Baidya, S.; Maharjan, S. B.; Shrestha, F.
Increase in glacier number and decrease in glacier area are perceived significantly in recent decades in Nepal. The observed glacier changes are one of the key indicators of climate change. In order to understand the impact of climate change on glaciers a repeat decadal glacier inventory since 1980s based on landsat images were carried out in the Langtang and Imja valleys. The recent glacier outlines were delineated semi-automatically from the images using object based image classification (obic) in Definien Developer. The glacier outlines of other decades were obtained by manual editing on the glacier polygons of semi-automatically derived glaciers polygons by overlaying separately on the images of respective years. The result shows that the glacier area has been decreased by 26% in Langtang valley in the period 1976-2009 and 28% in Imja valley in the period 1979-2010. The lowest elevation of glaciers has been shifted upward by 50m and 115m in Imja and Langtang valley respectively. The annual mean temperature from 1988 to 2008 were found to be 4.2oC and 0.3oC in Langtang valley and Imja valley respectively. The rate of temperature rise in this period was 0.116oC yr-1 and 0.09 oC yr-1 in Langtang valley and Imja valley respectively. The rise of mean decadal and annual mean temperature in Langtang and Imja valleys are one of the key factors of shrinking and retreating of glaciers.
Klein, E. S.; Nolan, M.; McConnell, J.; Sigl, M.; Cherry, J.; Young, J.; Welker, J. M.
We explored modern precipitation and ice core isotope ratios to better understand both modern and paleo climate in the Arctic. Paleoclimate reconstructions require an understanding of how modern synoptic climate influences proxies used in those reconstructions, such as water isotopes. Therefore we measured periodic precipitation samples at Toolik Lake Field Station (Toolik) in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range in the Alaskan Arctic to determine δ18O and δ2H. We applied this multi-decadal local precipitation δ18O/temperature regression to ∼65 years of McCall Glacier (also in the Brooks Range) ice core isotope measurements and found an increase in reconstructed temperatures over the late-20th and early-21st centuries. We also show that the McCall Glacier δ18O isotope record is negatively correlated with the winter bidecadal North Pacific Index (NPI) climate oscillation. McCall Glacier deuterium excess (d-excess, δ2H - 8*δ18O) values display a bidecadal periodicity coherent with the NPI and suggest shifts from more southwestern Bering Sea moisture sources with less sea ice (lower d-excess values) to more northern Arctic Ocean moisture sources with more sea ice (higher d-excess values). Northern ice covered Arctic Ocean McCall Glacier moisture sources are associated with weak Aleutian Low (AL) circulation patterns and the southern moisture sources with strong AL patterns. Ice core d-excess values significantly decrease over the record, coincident with warmer temperatures and a significant reduction in Alaska sea ice concentration, which suggests that ice free northern ocean waters are increasingly serving as terrestrial precipitation moisture sources; a concept recently proposed by modeling studies and also present in Greenland ice core d-excess values during previous transitions to warm periods. This study also shows the efficacy and importance of using ice cores from Arctic valley glaciers in paleoclimate reconstructions.
Nussbaumer, Samuel U.; Armstrong, Richard; Fetterer, Florence; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Hoelzle, Martin; Machguth, Horst; Mölg, Nico; Paul, Frank; Raup, Bruce H.; Zemp, Michael
Changes in glaciers and ice caps provide some of the clearest evidence of climate change, with impacts on sea-level variations, regional hydrological cycles, and natural hazard situations. Therefore, glaciers have been recognized as an Essential Climate Variable (ECV). Internationally coordinated collection and distribution of standardized information about the state and change of glaciers and ice caps was initiated in 1894 and is today organized within the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G). GTN-G ensures the continuous development and adaptation of the international strategies to the long-term needs of users in science and policy. A GTN-G Steering Committee coordinates, supports and advices the operational bodies responsible for the international glacier monitoring, which are the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative. In this presentation, we trace the development of the internationally coordinated glacier monitoring since its beginning in the 19th century. Today, several online databases containing a wealth of diverse data types with different levels of detail and global coverage provide fast access to continuously updated information on glacier fluctuation and inventory data. All glacier datasets are made freely available through the respective operational bodies within GTN-G, and can be accessed through the GTN-G Global Glacier Browser (http://www.gtn-g.org/data_browser.html). Glacier inventory data (e.g., digital outlines) are available for about 180,000 glaciers (GLIMS database, RGI - Randolph Glacier Inventory, WGI - World Glacier Inventory). Glacier front variations with about 45,000 entries since the 17th century and about 6,200 glaciological and geodetic mass (volume) change observations dating back to the 19th century are available in the Fluctuations of Glaciers (FoG) database. These datasets reveal clear evidence that
Full Text Available A first documented case study of a disappearing glacier in the snow capped volcano Cotacahi in Ecuador is presented with the studies belonging to the social sciences in relation to climate change and its impact on the population of the Equatorial Andes. With the use of multiple source methodology, including ethnographic analyzes, visual representations, repetitive photography, critical mapping by the local communities, longitudinal surveys, even archival research, as well as interviews to social actors and utilization of spatial data in a geographical information system (GIS. It is concluded that the documented disappearance of the glacier on the Cotacahi serves as an urgent call for action to the important dearth of social research related to global change from the ethnoecological perspective, with a cultural, local approach.
Se presenta el primer estudio documentado de la desaparición del glaciar del nevado Cotacachi en el Ecuador, con los estudios que corresponden a las ciencias sociales en relación con el cambio climático y su impacto en la población de los Andes ecuatoriales. Mediante el uso de una metodología que incluye análisis etnográficos, representaciones visuales, fotografía repetitiva, mapeo crítico por parte de las comunidades locales, encuestas longitudinales e incluso investigación de archivos, así como también entrevistas a actores sociales, y utilización de los datos espaciales en un sistema de información geográfica (SIG. Se concluye que la desaparición documentada del glaciar del Cotacachi sirve como una llamada de atención urgente a la importante falta de investigaciones sociales relacionadas con el cambio global desde el punto de vista etnoecológico, con un enfoque cultural local.
Parkes, A. T.; Haritashya, U. K.
Glaciers, in general, are highly sensitive to climate fluctuations making them important indicators of climate change. Overall, lack of data on this region is troubling for the amount of hydrological importance and climatic forecasts these glaciers hold. Therefore, this study aims to measure glacier velocity on selected glaciers using cross-correlation techniques. One of the main problems with determining the amount of loss or perhaps gain in glacier mass is determining their velocity. The Himalayan glaciers are inaccessible in most areas and field measurements can be impossible, which creates a problem when determining the velocity of glaciers. Consequently, we generated velocity profiles of glaciers in the Nanga Parbat region of the western Himalaya using 2009 and 2010 ASTER satellite data. Our glacier fluctuation study have shown oscillating behavior of these glaciers; however, our preliminary velocity result indicates high velocity on most of these glaciers. These results are the first ever velocity profile generated for this region and would be able to help understand glacier dynamics in a much more comprehensive manner.
J. M. Shea
Full Text Available In this study, we apply a glacier mass balance and ice redistribution model to simulate historical and future glacier change in the Everest region of Nepal. High-resolution temperature and precipitation fields derived from gridded APHRODITE data, and validated against independent station observations from the EVK2CNR network, are used to drive the historical model from 1961 to 2007. The model is calibrated against geodetically derived estimates of net glacier mass change from 1992 to 2008, termini position of four large glaciers at the end of the calibration period, average velocities observed on selected debris-covered glaciers, and total glacierized area. We integrate field-based observations of glacier mass balance and ice thickness with remotely-sensed observations of decadal glacier change to validate the model. Between 1961 and 2007, the mean modelled volume change over the Dudh Kosi basin is −6.4 ± 1.5 km3, a decrease of 15.6% from the original estimated ice volume in 1961. Modelled glacier area change between 1961 and 2007 is −101.0 ± 11.4 km2, a decrease of approximately 20% from the initial extent. Scenarios of future climate change, based on CMIP5 RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 end members, suggest that glaciers in the Everest region will continue to lose mass through the 21st century. Glaciers in the basin are concentrated between 5000 and 6000 m of elevation, and are thus expected to be sensitive to changes in temperature and equilibrium line altitude (ELA. Glacier volume reductions between −35 to −62% are possible by 2050, and sustained temperature increases to 2100 may result in total glacier volume losses of between −73 and −96%.
Rankl, M.; Kienholz, C.; Braun, M.
Positive glacier-mass balances in the Karakoram region during the last decade have fostered stable and advancing glacier termini positions, while glaciers in the adjacent mountain ranges have been affected by glacier recession and thinning. In addition to fluctuations induced solely by climate, the Karakoram is known for a large number of surge-type glaciers. The present study provides an updated and extended inventory on advancing, stable, retreating, and surge-type glaciers using Landsat imagery from 1976 to 2012. Out of 1219 glaciers the vast majority showed a stable terminus (969) during the observation period. Sixty-five glaciers advanced, 93 glaciers retreated, and 101 surge-type glaciers were identified, of which 10 are new observations. The dimensional and topographic characteristics of each glacier class were calculated and analyzed. Ninety percent of nonsurge-type glaciers are shorter than 10 km, whereas surge-type glaciers are, in general, longer. We report short response times of glaciers in the Karakoram and suggest a shift from negative to balanced/positive mass budgets in the 1980s or 1990s. Additionally, we present glacier surface velocities derived from different SAR (synthetic aperture radar) sensors and different years for a Karakoram-wide coverage. High-resolution SAR data enables the investigation of small and relatively fast-flowing glaciers (e.g., up to 1.8 m day-1 during an active phase of a surge). The combination of multitemporal optical imagery and SAR-based surface velocities enables an improved, Karakoram-wide glacier inventory and hence, provides relevant new observational information on the current state of glaciers in the Karakoram.
Schneider, Demian; Huggel, Christian; García, Javier; Ludeña, Sebastian; Cochachin, Alejo
The Cordilleras in Peru are especially vulnerable to, and affected by impacts from climate change. Local communities and cities often exist directly within the reach of major hazard potentials such as lake outburst floods (aluviones), mud-/debris flows (huaycos) or large rock-/ice avalanches. They have been repeatedly and strongly affected these regions over the last decades and since the last century, and thousands of people have been killed. One of the most recent events in the Cordillera Blanca occurred on 11 April 2010, when a rock/ice avalanche from the top of Hualcán mountain, NE of the town of Carhuaz impacted the glacier lake 513 (Laguna 513), caused displacement waves and triggered an outburst flood wave. The flow repeatedly transformed from debris flow to hyperconcentrated flow and eventually caused significant damage in Carhuaz. This event was motivation to start early warning and prevention efforts to reduce risks related to ice/rock avalanches and glacier lake outburst floods (GLOF). One of the basic components of an early warning system is the assessment, understanding and communication of relevant hazards and risks. Here we report on the methodology and results of generating GLOF related hazard maps for Carhuaz based on numerical modeling and field work. This exercise required an advanced concept and implementation of different mass movement models. Specifically, numerical models were applied for simulating avalanche flow, avalanche lake impact, displacement wave generation and lake overtopping, and eventually flow propagation of the outburst flood with changing rheology between debris flow and hyperconcentrated flows. We adopted a hazard mapping procedure slightly adjusted adjusted from guidelines developed in Switzerland and in the Andes region. A methodology has thereby been developed to translate results from numerical mass movement modeling into hazard maps. The resulting hazard map was verified and adjusted during field work. This study shows
Ayala, Alvaro; Pellicciotti, Francesca; MacDonell, Shelley; McPhee, James; Vivero, Sebastián; Campos, Cristián; Egli, Pascal
We investigate the main contributors to runoff of a 62 km2 glacierized catchment in the semiarid Andes of central Chile, where both debris-free and debris-covered glaciers are present, combining an extensive set of field measurements, remote sensing products and an advanced glacio-hydrological model (TOPKAPI-ETH). The catchment contains two debris-free glaciers reaching down to 3900 m asl (Bello and Yeso Glaciers) and one debris-covered avalanche-fed glacier reaching to 3200 m asl (Piramide Glacier). A unique dataset of field measurements collected in the ablation seasons 2013-14 and 2014-15 included four automatic weather stations, manual measurements of snow depth and debris cover thickness, discharge measurements at glaciers outlets, photographic monitoring of surface albedo as well as ablation stakes measurements and snow pits. TOPKAPI-ETH combines physically-oriented parameterizations of snow and ice ablation, gravitational distribution of snow, snow albedo evolution, glacier dynamics, runoff routing and the ablation of debris-covered ice.We obtained the first detailed estimation of mass balance and runoff contribution of debris-covered glaciers in this mountainous region. Results show that while the mass balance of Bello and Yeso Glaciers is mostly controlled by air temperature lapse rates, the mass balance of Piramide Glacier is governed by debris thickness and avalanches. In fact, gravitational distribution by avalanching on wet years plays a key role and modulates the mass balance gradient of all glaciers in the catchment and can turn local mass balance from negative to positive. This is especially the case for Piramide Glacier, which shows large amounts of snow accumulation below the steep walls surrounding its upper area. Despite the thermal insulation effect of the debris cover, the contribution to runoff from debris-free and debris-covered glaciers is similar, mainly due to elevation differences. At the catchment scale, snowmelt represents more than 60
Nagler, T.; Rott, H.; Magnússon, E.; Floricioiu, D.; Mueller, F.; Scharrer, K.
Several outlet glaciers of the major ice caps in Iceland are affected by sub-glacial outburst floods, so-called jökulhlaups. Sources of these outbreaks are water accumulations beneath the glacier due to geothermal or volcanic activity. One component of the project NorthHydrology, carried out within the ESA STSE (Support to Science Element) programme, addresses techniques and applications of satellite data for studying drainage mechanisms and water outbreaks of sub-glacial lakes in Iceland. Such events are usually related to surface deformation and changes in ice velocities, sometimes occurring already well ahead of the peak of the flood wave. High resolution repeat pass SAR data are able to deliver spatially detailed information on surface motion and displacement, which are highly relevant for advancing the understanding of glacier hydraulics and jökulhlaup processes. A template matching technique is applied to data stacks of TerraSAR-X and Cosmo-SkyMed amplitude images acquired between summer 2008 to summer 2010 in order to study the ice dynamics and mass balance of outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull in Iceland. This technique requires distinct and stable surface features, as usually available on ice surfaces of glaciers. Main outlet glaciers, investigated in the project, are Breidamerkurjökull and Skeiderarjökull, with the fronts terminating close to the coast. The lower terminus of these glaciers exhibits significant melting during summer, and sometimes even during winter. At these glaciers in-situ data on ice velocity and surface elevation changes have been recorded at in situ GPS stations, operated by University of Iceland. The ice motion field was derived using ascending and descending repeat pass SAR images. In order to retrieve the 3D ice motion vector, effects of surface melt are taken into account by modelling the ablation. Combining maps of displacement shifts from ascending and descending passes and compensating for surface lowering due to melt, maps
In this contribution a linear first-order differential equation is used to model glacier length fluctuations. This equation has two parameters describing the physical characteristics of a glacier: the climate sensitivity, expressing how the equilibrium glacier length depends on the climatic state, a
Gao, Hongkai; Hrachowitz, Markus; Savenije, Hubert
The glacier and snow melt water from mountainous area is an essential water resource in Northwest China, where the climate is arid. Therefore a hydrologic model including glacier and snow melt simulation is in an urgent need for water resources management and prediction under climate change in this region. In this study, the Urumqi No.1 Glacier catchment in Northwest China, with 51% area covered by glacier, was selected as the study site. An integrated daily hydrological model was developed to systematically simulate the hydrograph, runoff separation (glacier and non-glacier runoff), the glacier mass balance (GMB), the equilibrium line altitude (ELA), and the snow water equivalent (SWE). Only precipitation, temperature and sunshine hour data is required as forcing input. A combination method, which applies degree-day approach during dry periods and empirical energy balance formulation during wet seasons, was implemented to simulate snow and glacier melt. Detailed snow melt processes were included in the model, including the water holding capacity of snow pack, the liquid water refreezing process in snow pack, and the change of albedo with time. A traditional rainfall-runoff model (Xinanjiang) was applied to simulate the rainfall(snowmelt)-runoff process in non-glacierized area. Additionally, the influence of elevation on temperature and precipitation distribution, and the impact of different aspect on snow and glacier melting were considered. The model was validated, not only by long-term observed daily runoff data, but also by measured snow (SWE) and glacier data (GMB, ELA) of over 50 years. Furthermore, the calibrated model can be upscaled into a larger catchment, which further supports our proposed model and optimized parameter sets.
King, Lorenz; Duishonakunov, Murataly; Imbery, Stephan
In many parts of the Alps, hazardous bedrock instabilities occur more often during the past 30 years. In many cases, permafrost degradation played a central role for instability (e.g. in 1987 the Val Pola rockslide, Italy). At other events, the role of permafrost degradation is more complex or unpredictable (e.g. in 1991 the Randa rockfall, Wallis, Swiss Alps). However, instabilities in perennially frozen bedrock may also be provoked by human influence. This is exemplarily shown at touristic facilities in the Alps. Human impact on permafrost is often underestimated, or even carelessly taken into account. The tourist resort Zermatt with more than 1.8 million overnight stays per year is located at 1600 m a.s.l. and is surrounded by high mountain ranges that often reach above 4000 m. The dry and sunny climate results in a high glacier equilibrium line thus leaving space for vast non-glaciated permafrost terrain. Numerous tourist facilities provide excellent logistics and easy access to permafrost sites, and the region is thus especially suitable for permafrost research. The infrastructure erected on permafrost consists of hotels, restaurants and mountain huts, station buildings of railways, funiculars, ski lifts and installations for artificial snowing the ski-runs. Some problems at these constructions due to permafrost degradation are shown. At the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise station at an altitude of 3820 meters, todays MAAT ranges between -6 °C and -8°C. During the construction of a tunnel in 1981 bedrock temperatures were at -12°C. Over the past 30 years, these bedrock temperatures have risen to -3 to -2°C, due to the heat brought into the tunnel by facilities and more than 490,000 visitors per year. In an elevator shaft, the temperature temporarily even rose above freezing point. Several new construction sites in continuous permafrost are described and new research data is presented. Another interesting site for permafrost and ice studies at Matterhorn
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