WorldWideScience

Sample records for climate glacier mass

  1. The climatic mass balance of Svalbard glaciers: a 10-year simulation with a coupled atmosphere-glacier mass balance model

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    Aas, Kjetil S.; Dunse, Thorben; Collier, Emily; Schuler, Thomas V.; Berntsen, Terje K.; Kohler, Jack; Luks, Bartłomiej

    2016-05-01

    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 -257 mm w.e. yr-1, corresponding to a mean annual mass loss of about 8.7 Gt, with large interannual variability. Our results are compared with a comprehensive set of mass balance, meteorological, and satellite measurements. Model temperature biases of 0.19 and -1.9 °C are found at two glacier automatic weather station sites. Simulated climatic mass balance is mostly within about 100 mm w.e. yr-1 of stake measurements, and simulated winter accumulation at the Austfonna ice cap shows mean absolute errors of 47 and 67 mm w.e. yr-1 when compared to radar-derived values for the selected years 2004 and 2006. Comparison of modeled surface height changes from 2003 to 2008, 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 1000 mm w.e. yr-1), a site where sub-grid topography and wind redistribution of snow are important factors. Comparison with simulations using 9 km grid spacing reveal considerable differences on regional and local scales. In addition, 3 km grid spacing allows for a much more detailed comparison with observations than what is possible with 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.

  2. Glaciers in a changing global climate: first results of worldwide glacier mass balance measurements 2000/2001

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    Frauenfelder, R.; Hoelzle, M.; Haeberli, W.

    2003-04-01

    Glacier signals from mountain areas are key elements of early detection strategies for dealing with possible man-induced climate change. The IPCC Third Assessment Report indeed defines mountain glaciers as one of the best natural indicators of atmospheric warming with the highest reliability ranking. In the chain of processes linking climate and glacier fluctuations, glacier length variation is the indirect/delayed response, whereas glacier mass change is the direct/undelayed reaction. Internationally coordinated long-term monitoring of glaciers started in 1894. The responsibility to collect and publish standardized data has been assumed since 1986 by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). This work is primarily being carried out under the auspices of the International Commission on Snow and Ice (ICSI/IAHS) and the Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical Services (FAGS/ICSU). The WGMS maintains data exchange with the ICSU World Data Center A (WDC-A) for Glaciology in Boulder, Colorado. Corresponding data bases and measurement networks form an essential part of the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G: operated by the WGMS) as a pilot project within the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS/GCOS). A network of 60 glacier mass balance observations provides information on presently observed rates of change in glacier mass, corresponding acceleration trends and regional distribution patterns. A preliminary calculation of the mass balance observations in 2000/2001 relating to 23 selected data sets provide a mean specific (annual) net balance of -367 mm w.e., 26 % of the observed balances were positive. The corresponding mean in six mountain ranges was -571 mm w.e. Such values indicate that mass losses in 2000/2001 have been less extreme than in the extraordinary years before but are still strongly negative. Over the past two decades glacier melt appears to continue at a considerable and possibly even an accelerating rate. The observed average

  3. Mass Balance of a Maritime Glacier on the Southeast Tibetan Plateau and Its Climatic Sensitivity

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    Yang, W.

    2014-12-01

    Based on glacio-meteorological measurements and mass-balance stake records during the five-year period of 2005-2010 on the southeast Tibetan Plateau, an energy-mass balance model was applied to study the surface mass balance of the Parlung No. 94 Glacier, as well as its response to regional climate conditions. The primary physical parameters involved in the model were locally calibrated by using relevant glacio-meteorological datasets. The good agreement between the snowpack height/mass balance simulations and the in-situ measurements available from a total of 12 monitoring stakes over this glacier confirmed the satisfactory performance of the energy-mass balance model. Results suggested that the recent state of the Parlung No. 94 Glacier was far removed from the 'ideal' climatic regime leading to zero mass balance, with its annual mass balance of approximately -0.9 m w.e. during 2005-2010. Climatic sensitivity experiments were also carried out to interpret the observed mass-balance changes, and the experiments demonstrated that the maritime glaciers concerned herein were theoretically more vulnerable to ongoing climate warming on the Tibetan Plateau than potential changes in the amount of precipitation. A plausible causal explanation for the recent glacier shrinkage in this region was concerned with the increasing air temperature. Moreover, both the mass balance simulations and the field measurements indicated that the mass accumulation over this maritime glacier occurred primarily in the boreal spring. Such "spring-accumulation type" glaciers are presumed to be distributed mainly within a narrow wedge-shaped region along the Brahmaputra River. Climatic sensitivities of the glacier mass balanceare also found to be closely linked to the regional precipitation seasonality that is simultaneously modulated by various atmospheric circulation patterns, such as the southern westerlies, the Bay of Bengal vortex in the spring season and the Indian monsoon in the summer

  4. Sensitivity of annual mass balance gradient and Hypsometry to the changing climate: the case of Dokriani Glacier, central Himalaya, India

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    Pratap, B.

    2015-12-01

    The glacier mass balance is undelayed, unfiltered and direct method to assess the impact of climate change on the glaciers. Many studies suggest that some of the Himalayan glaciers have lost their mass at an increased rate during the past few decades. Furthermore, the mass balance gradient and hypsometric analysis are important to understand the glacier response towards climatic perturbations. Our long term in-situ monitoring on the Dokriani Glacier provides great insights to understand the variability in central Himalayan glaciers. We report the relationship between glacier hypsometry and annual mass balance gradient (12 years) to understand the glacier's response towards climate change. Dokriani Glacier in the Bhagirathi basin is a small (7 km2) NNW exposed glacier in the western part of central Himalaya, India. The study analysed the annual balance, mass balance gradient and length changes observed during first decade of 21st century (2007-2013) and compare with the previous observations of 1990s (1992-2000). A large spatial variability in the mass balance gradients of two different periods has been observed. The equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) was fluctuated between 5000 and 5100 m a.s.l. and the derived time averaged ELA (ELAn) and balance budget ELA (ELA0) were 5075 and 4965 m a.s.l respectively during 1992-2013. The observed time-averaged accumulation-area ratio (AARn) and balance budget AAR (AAR0) were 0.67 and 0.72 respectively during 1992-2013. The higher value of AAR comprises due to flat and broader accumulation area (4.50 km2) of the glacier. Although, having larger accumulation area, the glacier has faced strong mass wasting with average annual ablation of -1.82 m w.e. a-1 in the ablation zone as compare to residual average annual accumulation of 0.41 m w.e. a-1. Based on the annual mass balance series (12 years) Dokriani Glacier has continuous negative annual balances with monotonically negative cumulative mass loss of -3.86 m w.e with the average

  5. Reconstructing glacier mass balances in the Central Andes of Chile and Argentina using local and regional hydro-climatic data

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    M. H. Masiokas

    2015-09-01

    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.

  6. Climate regime of Asian glaciers revealed by GAMDAM glacier inventory

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    Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Fujita, K.; Takenaka, S.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.

    2015-05-01

    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.

  7. Climate regime of Asian glaciers revealed by GAMDAM Glacier Inventory

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    A. Sakai

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available 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 median elevation of glaciers, which is presumed to be at equilibrium-line altitude (ELA so that mass balance is zero at that elevation, by tuning adjustment parameters of precipitation. We also made comparisons between median elevation of glaciers, including the effect of drifting snow and avalanche, and eliminated those local effects. Then, we could obtain 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 the arid High Mountain Asia have very less precipitation, while much precipitation contribute 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.

  8. Simulating the climatic mass balance of Svalbard glaciers from 2003 to 2013 with a high-resolution coupled atmosphere-glacier model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. S. Aas

    2015-10-01

    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.

  9. Adjustment of regional climate model output for modeling the climatic mass balance of all glaciers on Svalbard.

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    Möller, Marco; Obleitner, Friedrich; Reijmer, Carleen H; Pohjola, Veijo A; Głowacki, Piotr; Kohler, Jack

    2016-05-27

    Large-scale modeling of glacier mass balance relies often on the output from regional climate models (RCMs). However, the limited accuracy and spatial resolution of RCM output pose limitations on mass balance simulations at subregional or local scales. Moreover, RCM output is still rarely available over larger regions or for longer time periods. This study evaluates the extent to which it is possible to derive reliable region-wide glacier mass balance estimates, using coarse resolution (10 km) RCM output for model forcing. Our data cover the entire Svalbard archipelago over one decade. To calculate mass balance, we use an index-based model. Model parameters are not calibrated, but the RCM air temperature and precipitation fields are adjusted using in situ mass balance measurements as reference. We compare two different calibration methods: root mean square error minimization and regression optimization. The obtained air temperature shifts (+1.43°C versus +2.22°C) and precipitation scaling factors (1.23 versus 1.86) differ considerably between the two methods, which we attribute to inhomogeneities in the spatiotemporal distribution of the reference data. Our modeling suggests a mean annual climatic mass balance of -0.05 ± 0.40 m w.e. a(-1) for Svalbard over 2000-2011 and a mean equilibrium line altitude of 452 ± 200 m  above sea level. We find that the limited spatial resolution of the RCM forcing with respect to real surface topography and the usage of spatially homogeneous RCM output adjustments and mass balance model parameters are responsible for much of the modeling uncertainty. Sensitivity of the results to model parameter uncertainty is comparably small and of minor importance.

  10. Insight into glacier climate interaction: reconstruction of the mass balance field using ice extent data

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    Visnjevic, Vjeran; Herman, Frédéric; Licul, Aleksandar

    2016-04-01

    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.

  11. Attribution of glacier fluctuations to climate change

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    Oerlemans, J.

    2012-04-01

    Glacier retreat is a worlwide phenomenon, which started around the middle of the 19th century. During the period 1800-1850 the number of retreating and advancing glaciers was roughly equal (based on 42 records from different continents). During the period 1850-1900 about 92% of all mountain glaciers became shorter (based on 65 records). After this, the percentage of shrinking glaciers has been around 90% until the present time. The glacier signal is rather coherent over the globe, especially when surging and calving glaciers are not considered (for such glaciers the response to climate change is often masked by length changes related to internal dynamics). From theoretical studies as well as extensive meteorological work on glaciers, the processes that control the response of glaciers to climate change are now basically understood. It is useful to make a difference between geometric factors (e.g. slope, altitudinal range, hypsometry) and climatic setting (e.g. seasonal cycle, precipitation). The most sensitive glaciers appear to be flat glaciers in a maritime climate. Characterizing the dynamic properties of a glacier requires at least two quantities: the climate sensitivity, expressing how the equilibrium glacier state depends on the climatic conditions, and the response time, indicating how fast a glacier approaches a new equilibrium state after a stepwise change in the climatic forcing. These quantities can be estimated from relatively simple theory, showing that differences among glaciers are substantial. For larger glaciers, climate sensitivities (in terms of glacier length) vary from 1 to 8 km per 100 m change in the equilibrium-line altitude. Response times are mainly in the range of 20 to 200 years, with most values between 30 and 80 years. Changes in the equilibrium-line altitude or net mass balance of a glacier are mainly driven by fluctuations in air temperature, precipitation, and global radiation. Energy-balance modelling for many glaciers shows that

  12. Glaciers and Climate Change

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    2001-01-01

    Although my book focuses on valley glaciers, it is not intended to provide a basic course in glaciology, nor does it claim to give a state-of-the-art picture of glacier research. It consists mainly of the personal reflections of a meteorologist who gradually became interested in glaciers and is writ

  13. Centennial glacier retreat as categorical evidence of regional climate change

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    Roe, Gerard H.; Baker, Marcia B.; Herla, Florian

    2016-12-01

    The near-global retreat of glaciers over the last century provides some of the most iconic imagery for communicating the reality of anthropogenic climate change to the public. Surprisingly, however, there has not been a quantitative foundation for attributing the retreats to climate change, except in the global aggregate. This gap, between public perception and scientific basis, is due to uncertainties in numerical modelling and the short length of glacier mass-balance records. Here we present a method for assessing individual glacier change based on the signal-to-noise ratio, a robust metric that is insensitive to uncertainties in glacier dynamics. Using only meteorological and glacier observations, and the characteristic decadal response time of glaciers, we demonstrate that observed retreats of individual glaciers represent some of the highest signal-to-noise ratios of climate change yet documented. Therefore, in many places, the centennial-scale retreat of the local glaciers does indeed constitute categorical evidence of climate change.

  14. Stationary monitoring of glacier response to climate change in China

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    Ren, Jiawen; Li, Zhongqin; Qin, Xiang; He, Yuanqing; He, Xiaobo; Li, Huilin

    2016-04-01

    At present, there are about 48571 glaciers with a total area of about 51.8×103 km2 and a volume of about 5.6×103 km3 in China. They are distributed widely in the high mountains in and surrounding the Tibetan Plateau and other high mountains such as Tianshan, Altay and Pamir. In view of differences in climatic conditions and glacier types, stationary monitoring of the glacier variations has been ongoing in different regions in order to investigate the glacier response to climate change. The monitoring results show that all the monitoring glaciers have been in retreat during the past decades and especially since 1990's the retreat rate has an accelerating trend. The accumulative mass balance is much negative and has a large annual variability for the monsoonal maritime glaciers in comparison with the continental and sub-continental glaciers. Under climate warming background, the acceleration of glacier melting is mainly attributed to rise in air temperature, ice temperature augment and albedo reduction of glacier surface. Particularly, the albedo reduction has a positive feedback effect on the glacier melting. Based on long term observation of glacier variations and physical properties, a simple dynamics model is coupled with mass balance modeling to make a projection of a typical glacier change in future. The primary modeling results suggest that the glacier will continue in shrinkage until vanishing within 50-90 years.

  15. Reanalysing glacier mass balance measurement series

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    M. Zemp

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available 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 statistical toolsets for assessment of random and systematic errors, as well as for validation and calibration (if necessary of the glaciological with the geodetic balance results. We demonstrate the usefulness and limitations of the proposed scheme, drawing on an analysis that comprises over 50 recording periods for a dozen glaciers, and we make recommendations to investigators and users of glacier mass balance data. Reanalysing glacier mass balance series needs to become a standard procedure for every monitoring programme to improve data quality, including reliable uncertainty estimates.

  16. On the response of valley glaciers to climatic change

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    Oerlemans, J.

    1989-01-01

    In many cases the response of a glacier to changing climatic conditions is complicated due to the large number of feedback loops that play a role. Examples are: ice thickness - mass balance feedback, nonlinearities arising from complicated geometry, dependence of ablation on glacier geometry, coupli

  17. Hypsometric control on glacier mass balance sensitivity in Alaska

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    McGrath, D.; Sass, L.; Arendt, A. A.; O'Neel, S.; Kienholz, C.; Larsen, C.; Burgess, E. W.

    2015-12-01

    Mass loss from glaciers in Alaska is dominated by strongly negative surface balances, particularly on small, continental glaciers but can be highly variable from glacier to glacier. Glacier hypsometry can exert significant control on mass balance sensitivity, particularly if the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) is in a broad area of low surface slope. In this study, we explore the spatial variability in glacier response to future climate forcings on the basis of hypsometry. We first derive mass balance sensitivities (30-70 m ELA / 1° C and 40-90 m ELA / 50% decrease in snow accumulation) from the ~50-year USGS Benchmark glaciers mass balance record. We subsequently assess mean climate fields in 2090-2100 derived from the IPCC AR5/CMIP5 RCP 6.0 5-model mean. Over glaciers in Alaska, we find 2-4° C warming and 10-20% increase in precipitation relative to 2006-2015, but a corresponding 0-50% decrease in snow accumulation due to rising temperatures. We assess changes in accumulation area ratios (AAR) to a rising ELA using binned individual glacier hypsometries. For an ELA increase of 150 m, the mean statewide AAR drops by 0.45, representing a 70% reduction in accumulation area on an individual glacier basis. Small, interior glaciers are the primary drivers of this reduction and for nearly 25% of all glaciers, the new ELA exceeds the glacier's maximum elevation, portending eventual loss. The loss of small glaciers, particularly in the drier interior of Alaska will significantly modify streamflow properties (flashy hydrographs, earlier and reduced peak flows, increased interannual variability, warmer temperatures) with poorly understood downstream ecosystem and oceanographic impacts.

  18. Glacier volume response time and its links to climate and topography based on a conceptual model of glacier hypsometry

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    S. C. B. Raper

    2009-03-01

    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.

  19. The response of glaciers to climate change

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    Klok, Elisabeth Jantina

    2003-01-01

    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

  20. Central Himalayan Glaciers and Climate Change- Pinder Glacier- A preliminary study

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    Pillai, J.; Patel, L. K.

    2011-12-01

    year 1990. Remote Sensing data of different years were used to analyze the changes in aerial extent of the pindari glacier. Pindari landscap is formed by the combined geomorphological process of fluvial and glacial. These processes are also maintaining the ecosystem balance of the catchment area. Snow covers area of this higher landscapet had been reduced considerably. The timberline of this region is shifting upper side of the glaciers, whereas the equilibrium line is also retreating. The spatial invasion in timber line and the retreat of the equilibrium line will further establish the negative mass balance of this glacier. However, the climatic variation may exacerbate the ecosystem balance of the region. All the reports on the glaciers in IHR regions review a negative mass balance and annual retreat up the glaciers. The observation records of these glaciers in IHR are about a period of hundred years this is quite in sufficient it establishes the relation between climate change and the glaciers retreat. However it is a known fact that the impact of rise in temperature due to anthropogenic effect may overstretch the rate the natural process of glacier retreat. The present study also discusses the unique phenomena of glacier melt due to climatic variations and its catastrophe.

  1. A GRASS GIS module to obtain an estimation of glacier behavior under climate change: A pilot study on Italian glacier

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    Strigaro, Daniele; Moretti, Massimiliano; Mattavelli, Matteo; Frigerio, Ivan; Amicis, Mattia De; Maggi, Valter

    2016-09-01

    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.

  2. Tropical glaciers and climate dynamics: Resolving the linkages

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    Mölg, Thomas

    2013-04-01

    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.

  3. Climate Change and Glacier Retreat: Scientific Fact and Artistic Opportunity

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    Fagre, D. B.

    2008-12-01

    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

  4. Climate-hydrology-ecology interactions in glacierized river systems

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    Hannah, David; Brown, Lee; Milner, Alexander

    2010-05-01

    High climatic sensitivity and low anthropogenic influence make glacierized river basins important environments for examining hydrological and ecological response to global change. This presentation is based on previous and ongoing research in glacierized river basins (located in the French Pyrenees, New Zealand and Swedish Lapland), which adopts an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the climate-hydrology-ecology cascade. Data are used to advance hypotheses concerning impacts of climate change/ variability on glacier river system hydrology and ecology. Aquatic ecosystems in high latitude and altitude environments are influenced strongly by cryospheric and hydrological processes due to links between atmospheric forcing, snowpack/ glacier mass-balance, river runoff, physico-chemistry and biota. In the current phase of global warming, many glaciers are retreating. Shrinking snow and ice-masses may alter spatial and temporal dynamics in bulk basin runoff with significant changes in the relative contributions of snowmelt, glacier-melt and groundwater to stream flow. The timing of peak snow- and ice-melt may shift; and proportion of stream flow sourced from rainfall-runoff and groundwater may increase. In this presentation, the influence of changing water source contributions on physico-chemical habitat and, in turn, benthic communities is assessed using an alternative alpine stream classification. In the future, this model predicts more rapid downstream change in benthic communities as meltwater contributions decline; and, at the basin-scale, biodiversity may be reduced due to less spatio-temporal heterogeneity in water sources contributions and, thus, physico-chemical habitat. Integrated, long-term research into the climate-hydrology-ecology cascade in other glacierized river basins is vital because interdisciplinary science is fundamental: to predicting stream hydrology and ecology under scenarios of future climate/ variability, to assessing the utility of

  5. Climatic controls and climate proxy potential of Lewis Glacier, Mt Kenya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prinz, Rainer; Nicholson, Lindsey; Gurgiser, Wolfgang; Mölg, Thomas; Kaser, Georg

    2016-04-01

    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

  6. USGS Alaska Benchmark Glacier Mass Balance Data - Phase 1; Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior — Since the late 1950s, USGS has maintained a long-term glacier mass-balance program at three North American glaciers. Similar measurements began at Sperry Glacier, MT...

  7. Ideal climatic variables for the present-day geometry of the Gregoriev Glacier, Inner Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan, derived from GPS data and energy-mass balance measurements

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Fujita

    2011-03-01

    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.

  8. Uncertainties and re-analysis of glacier mass balance measurements

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Zemp

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available 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 statistical toolsets for assessment of random and systematic errors as well as for validation and calibration (if necessary of the glaciological with the geodetic balance results. We demonstrate the usefulness and limitations of the proposed scheme drawing on an analysis that comprises over 50 recording periods for a dozen glaciers and we make recommendations to investigators and users of glacier mass balance data. Reanalysis of glacier mass balance series needs to become a standard procedure for every monitoring programme to improve data quality and provide thorough uncertainty estimates.

  9. An improved technique for the reconstruction of former glacier mass-balance and dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carr, Simon; Coleman, Christopher

    2007-11-01

    The recognition of past glacier extent and dynamics is a fundamental aspect of investigations of the climatic sensitivity of glaciers, especially when examining short-lived climate events such as the Younger Dryas or Little Ice Age. Existing approaches to the reconstruction of glacier form and dynamics depend on speculative reasoning of key glacier dynamic parameters, including the role of basal slip and subglacial deformation in glacier mass-transfer. This study reviews approaches to glacier reconstruction, derivation of former glacier equilibrium line altitudes (ELA's) and estimation of mass-balance and dynamics, concluding that most reconstructions of glacier mass-balance are compromised by a lack of glaciological considerations. An alternative approach to glacier reconstruction is presented, demonstrated and discussed, by which an empirical relationship between ablation gradient and mass loss at the ELA is used to derive mass-balance, mass-flux through the ELA and average balance velocity at the ELA. This 'glaciological' approach is applied to four reconstructed glaciers to test previous interpretations that each reflects Younger Dryas glaciation in the UK. The study concludes that this approach provides a more robust technique for reconstructing former glacier dynamics, and may be applied to test geomorphological interpretations of former mountain glaciation.

  10. Quick ice mass loss and abrupt retreat of the maritime glaciers in the Kangri Karpo Mountains, southeast Tibetan Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YANG Wei; YAO TanDong; XU BaiQing; WU GuangJian; MA LingLong; XIN XiaoDong

    2008-01-01

    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.

  11. What influences climate and glacier change in southwestern China?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yasunari, Teppei J.

    2011-12-01

    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

  12. Mass balance investigation of alpine glaciers through LANDSAT TM data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bayr, Klaus J.

    1989-01-01

    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.

  13. The influence of changes in glacier extent and surface elevation on modeled mass balance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Paul

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available 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 form an essential part of the glacier reaction to new climatic conditions. In this study, a set of modelling experiments is performed to assess the influence of changes in glacier geometry on mass balance for constant climatic conditions. The calculations are based on a simplified distributed energy/mass balance model in combination with information on glacier extent and surface elevation for the years 1850 and 1973/1985 for about 60 glaciers in the Swiss Alps. The results reveal that over this period about 50–70% of the glacier reaction to climate change (here a one degree increase in temperature is "hidden" in the geometric adjustment, while only 30–50% can be measured as the long-term mean mass balance. For larger glaciers, the effect of the areal change is partly reduced by a lowered surface elevation, which results in a slightly more negative balance despite a potential increase of topographic shading. In view of several additional reinforcement feedbacks that are observed in periods of strong glacier decline, it seems that the climatic interpretation of long-term mass balance data is rather complex.

  14. The influence of changes in glacier extent and surface elevation on modeled mass balance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Paul

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available 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 form an essential part of the glacier reaction to new climatic conditions. In this study, a set of modeling experiments is performed to assess the influence of changes in glacier geometry on mass balance for constant climatic conditions. The calculations are based on a simplified distributed energy/mass balance model in combination with information on glacier extent and surface elevation for the years 1850 and 1973/1985 for a larger sample of glaciers in the Swiss Alps. The results reveal that about 50–70% of the glacier reaction to climate change (here a one degree increase in temperature is "hidden" in the geometric adjustment, while only 30–50% can be measured as the long-term mean mass balance. Thereby, changes in glacier extent alone have an even stronger effect, but they are partly compensated for by a lowered surface elevation which gives on average a slightly more negative balance despite an increase of topographic shading. In view of several additional reinforcement feedbacks that are observed in periods of strong glacier decline, it seems that the climatic interpretation of mass balance data is also rather complex.

  15. Climatic Slow-down of the Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya Glaciers Over the Last 25 Years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dehecq, A.; Gourmelen, N.; Trouvé, E.

    2015-12-01

    Climate warming over the 20th century has caused drastic changes in mountain glaciers globally, and of the Himalayan glaciers in particular. The stakes are high; glaciers and ice caps are the largest contributor to the increase in the mass of the world's oceans, and the Himalayas play a key role in the hydrology of the region, impacting on the economy, food safety and flood risk. Partial monitoring of the Himalayan glaciers has revealed a contrasted picture; while many of the Himalayan glaciers are retreating, in some cases locally stable or advancing glaciers in this region have also been observed. Several studies based on field measurements or remote sensing have shown a dominant slow-down of mountain glaciers globally in response to these changes. But they are restricted to a few glaciers or small regions and none has analysed the dynamic response of glaciers to climate changes at regional scales. Here we present a region-wide analysis of annual glacier flow velocity covering the Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya region obtained from the analysis of the entire archive of Landsat data. Over 90% of the ice-covered regions, as defined by the Randolph Glacier Inventory, are measured, with precision on the retrieved velocity of the order of 4 m/yr. The change in velocities over the last 25 years will be analysed with reference to regional glacier mass balance and topographic caracteristics. We show that the first order temporal evolution of glacier flow mirrors the pattern of glacier mass balance. We observe a general decrease of ice velocity in regions of known ice mass loss, and a more complex patterns consisting of mixed acceleration and decrease of ice velocity in regions that are known to be affected by stable mass balance and surge-like behavior.

  16. Climatic controls on the pace of glacier erosion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koppes, Michele; Hallet, Bernard; Rignot, Eric; Mouginot, Jeremie; Wellner, Julia; Love, Katherine

    2016-04-01

    Mountain ranges worldwide have undergone large-scale modification due the erosive action of ice, yet the mechanisms that control the timing of this modification and the rate by which ice erodes remain poorly understood. Available data report a wide range of erosion rates from individual ice masses over varying timescales, suggesting that modern erosion rates exceed orogenic rates by 2-3 orders of magnitude. These modern rates are presumed to be due to dynamic acceleration of the ice masses during deglaciation and retreat. Recent numerical models have focused on replicating the processes that produce the geomorphic signatures of glacial landscapes. Central to these models is a simple quantitative index that relates erosion rate to ice dynamics and to climate. To provide such an index, we examined explicitly the factors controlling modern glacier erosion rates across climatic regimes. Holding tectonic history, bedrock lithology and glacier hypsometries relatively constant across a latitudinal transect from Patagonia to the Antarctic Peninsula, we find that modern, basin-averaged erosion rates vary by three orders of magnitude, from 1->10 mm yr-1 for temperate tidewater glaciers to 0.01-ELA, in accord with theory. The general relationship between ice dynamics and erosion suggests that the erosion rate scales non-linearly with basal sliding speed, with an exponent n ≈ 2-2.62. Notably, erosion rates decrease by over two orders of magnitude between temperate and polar glaciers with similar ice discharge rates. The difference in erosion rates between temperate and colder glaciers of similar shape and size is primarily related to the abundance of meltwater accessing the bed. Since all glaciers worldwide have experienced colder than current climatic conditions, the 100-fold decrease in long-term relative to modern erosion rates may in part reflect the temporal averaging of warm and cold-based conditions over the lifecycle of these glaciers. Higher temperatures and

  17. Very small glaciers under climate change: from the local to the global scale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huss, M.; Fischer, M.

    2015-12-01

    Very small glaciers (snow redistribution processes. Worldwide glacier monitoring has focused on medium-sized to large glaciers leaving us with a relatively limited understanding of the behavior of very small glaciers. With warming climate there is an increasing concern that very small glaciers might be the first to disappear. Already in the next decades this might result in the complete deglaciation of mountain ranges with glacier equilibrium lines close to the highest peaks, such as in the Rocky Mountains, the European Alps, the Andes or parts of High Mountain Asia. In this contribution, we present a comprehensive modelling framework to assess past and future changes in very small glaciers at the mountain-range scale. Among other processes our model accounts for snow redistribution, changes in glacier geometry and dynamic changes in debris-coverage, and computes e.g. distributed mass balance, englacial temperature and proglacial runoff. Detailed glacier projections until 2060 are shown for the Swiss Alps based on new data sets, and the 21st century contribution of all very small glaciers worldwide to sea-level rise is quantified using a global model. Grid-based modelling of surface mass balance and retreat for 1133 very small glaciers in Switzerland indicates that 70% of them will completely vanish within the next 25 years. However, a few avalanche-fed glaciers at low elevation might be able to survive even substantial atmospheric warming. We find relatively high static and dynamic sensitivities for gently-sloping glaciers. At the global scale, glaciers presently smaller than 1 km2 make up for only 0.7% of total ice volume but account for 6.7% of sea-level rise contribution during the period 2015-2025. This indicates that very small glaciers are a non-negligible component of global glacier change, at least in the near future.

  18. Mass balance of the Lambert Glacier basin, East Antarctica

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2002-01-01

    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.

  19. A complex relationship between calving glaciers and climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Post, A.; O'Neel, S.; Motyka, R.J.; Streveler, G.

    2011-01-01

    Many terrestrial glaciers are sensitive indicators of past and present climate change as atmospheric temperature and snowfall modulate glacier volume. However, climate interpretations based on glacier behavior require careful selection of representative glaciers, as was recently pointed out for surging and debris-covered glaciers, whose behavior often defies regional glacier response to climate [Yde and Paasche, 2010]. Tidewater calving glaciers (TWGs)mountain glaciers whose termini reach the sea and are generally grounded on the seaflooralso fall into the category of non-representative glaciers because the regional-scale asynchronous behavior of these glaciers clouds their complex relationship with climate. TWGs span the globe; they can be found both fringing ice sheets and in high-latitude regions of each hemisphere. TWGs are known to exhibit cyclic behavior, characterized by slow advance and rapid, unstable retreat, largely independent of short-term climate forcing. This so-called TWG cycle, first described by Post [1975], provides a solid foundation upon which modern investigations of TWG stability are built. Scientific understanding has developed rapidly as a result of the initial recognition of their asynchronous cyclicity, rendering greater insight into the hierarchy of processes controlling regional behavior. This has improved the descriptions of the strong dynamic feedbacks present during retreat, the role of the ocean in TWG dynamics, and the similarities and differences between TWG and ice sheet outlet glaciers that can often support floating tongues.

  20. Identifying surging glaciers in the Central Karakoram for improved climate change impact assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, Frank; Bolch, Tobias; Mölg, Nico; Rastner, Philipp

    2015-04-01

    Several recent studies have investigated glacier changes in the Karakoram mountain range, a region where glaciers behave differently (mass gain and advancing tongues) compared to most other regions in the world. Attribution of this behaviour to climate change is challenging, as many glaciers in the Karakoram are of surge type and have actively surged in the recent past. The measured changes in length, area, volume or velocity in this region are thus depending on the time-period analysed and include non-climatic components. Hence, a proper analysis of climate change impacts on glaciers in this region requires a separation of the surging from the non-surging glaciers. This is challenging as the former often lack the typical surface characteristics such as looped moraines (e.g. when they are steep and small) and/or they merge (during a surge) with a larger non-surging glacier and create looped moraines on its surface. By analysing time series of satellite images that are available since 1961, the heterogeneous behaviour of glaciers in the Karakoram can be revealed. In this study, we have analysed changes in glacier terminus positions in the Karakoram over different time periods from 1961 to 2014 for several hundred glaciers using Corona KH-4 and KH-4B, Hexagon KH-9, Terra ASTER, and Landsat MSS, TM, ETM+ and OLI satellite data. For the last 15 years, high-speed animations of image time-series reveal details of glacier flow and surge dynamics that are otherwise difficult to detect. For example, several of the larger glaciers with surging tributaries (e.g. Panmah, Sarpo Laggo, Skamri, K2 glacier) are stationary and downwasting despite the mass contributions from the surging glaciers. The analysis of the entire time series reveals a complex pattern of changes through time with retreating, advancing, surging and stationary glaciers that are partly regionally clustered. While most of the non-surging glaciers show only small changes in terminus position (±100 m or less

  1. Climatic Teleconnections Recorded By Tropical Mountain Glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, L. G.; Permana, D.; Mosley-Thompson, E.; Davis, M. E.

    2014-12-01

    Information from ice cores from the world's highest mountains in the Tropics demonstrates both local climate variability and a high degree of teleconnectivity across the Pacific basin. Here we examine recently recovered ice core records from glaciers near Puncak Jaya in Papua, Indonesia, which lie on the highest peak between the Himalayas and the South American Andes. These glaciers are located on the western side of the Tropical Pacific warm pool, which is the "center of action" for interannual climate variability dominated by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO either directly or indirectly affects most regions of Earth and their populations. In 2010, two ice cores measuring 32.13 m and 31.25 m were recovered to bedrock from the East Northwall Firn ice field. Both have been analyzed in high resolution (~3 cm sample length, 1156 and 1606 samples, respectively) for stable isotopes, dust, major ions and tritium concentrations. To better understand the controls on the oxygen isotopic (δ18 O) signal for this region, daily rainfall samples were collected between January 2013 and February 2014 at five weather stations over a distance of ~90 km ranging from 9 meters above sea level (masl) on the southern coast up to 3945 masl. The calculated isotopic lapse rate for this region is 0.24 ‰/100m. Papua, Indonesian ice core records are compared to ice core records from Dasuopu Glacier in the central Himalayas and from Quelccaya, Huascarán, Hualcán and Coropuna ice fields in the tropical Andes of Peru on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean. The composite of the annual isotopic time series from these cores is significantly (R2 =0.53) related to tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs), reflecting the strong linkage between tropical Pacific SSTs associated with ENSO and tropospheric temperatures in the low latitudes. New data on the already well-documented concomitant loss of ice on Quelccaya, Kilimanjaro in eastern Africa and the ice fields near Puncak

  2. Glaciological measurements and mass balances from Sperry Glacier, Montana, USA, years 2005-2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Adam M.; Fagre, Daniel B.; Peitzsch, Erich H.; Reardon, Blase A.; Harper, Joel T.

    2017-01-01

    Glacier mass balance measurements help to provide an understanding of the behavior of glaciers and their response to local and regional climate. In 2005 the United States Geological Survey established a surface mass balance monitoring program on Sperry Glacier, Montana, USA. This project is the first quantitative study of mass changes of a glacier in the US northern Rocky Mountains and continues to the present. The following paper describes the methods used during the first 11 years of measurements and reports the associated results. From 2005 to 2015, Sperry Glacier had a cumulative mean mass balance loss of 4.37 m w.e. (water equivalent). The mean winter, summer, and annual glacier-wide mass balances were 2.92, -3.41, and -0.40 m w.e. yr-1 respectively. We derive these cumulative and mean results from an expansive data set of snow depth, snow density, and ablation measurements taken at selected points on the glacier. These data allow for the determination of mass balance point values and a time series of seasonal and annual glacier-wide mass balances for all 11 measurement years. We also provide measurements of glacier extent and accumulation areas for select years. All data have been submitted to the World Glacier Monitoring Service and are available at doi:10.5904/wgms-fog-2016-08. This foundational work provides valuable insight about Sperry Glacier and supplies additional data to the worldwide record of glaciers measured using the glaciological method. Future research will focus on the processes that control accumulation and ablation patterns across the glacier. Also we plan to examine the uncertainties related to our methods and eventually quantify a more robust estimate of error associated with our results.

  3. Glaciological measurements and mass balances from Sperry Glacier, Montana, USA, years 2005–2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Adam; Fagre, Daniel B.; Peitzsch, Erich H.; Reardon, Blase A.; Harper, Joel T.

    2017-01-01

    Glacier mass balance measurements help to provide an understanding of the behavior of glaciers and their response to local and regional climate. In 2005 the United States Geological Survey established a surface mass balance monitoring program on Sperry Glacier, Montana, USA. This project is the first quantitative study of mass changes of a glacier in the US northern Rocky Mountains and continues to the present. The following paper describes the methods used during the first 11 years of measurements and reports the associated results. From 2005 to 2015, Sperry Glacier had a cumulative mean mass balance loss of 4.37 m w.e. (water equivalent). The mean winter, summer, and annual glacier-wide mass balances were 2.92, −3.41, and −0.40 m w.e. yr−1 respectively. We derive these cumulative and mean results from an expansive data set of snow depth, snow density, and ablation measurements taken at selected points on the glacier. These data allow for the determination of mass balance point values and a time series of seasonal and annual glacier-wide mass balances for all 11 measurement years. We also provide measurements of glacier extent and accumulation areas for select years. All data have been submitted to the World Glacier Monitoring Service and are available at doi:10.5904/wgms-fog-2016-08. This foundational work provides valuable insight about Sperry Glacier and supplies additional data to the worldwide record of glaciers measured using the glaciological method. Future research will focus on the processes that control accumulation and ablation patterns across the glacier. Also we plan to examine the uncertainties related to our methods and eventually quantify a more robust estimate of error associated with our results.

  4. Common climatic signal from glaciers in the European Alps over the last 50 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vincent, C.; Fischer, A.; Mayer, C.; Bauder, A.; Galos, S. P.; Funk, M.; Thibert, E.; Six, D.; Braun, L.; Huss, M.

    2017-02-01

    Conventional glacier-wide mass balances are commonly used to study the effect of climate forcing on glacier melt. Unfortunately, the glacier-wide mass balances are also influenced by the glacier's dynamic response. Investigations on the effects of climate forcing on glaciers can be largely improved by analyzing point mass balances. Using a statistical model, we have found that 52% of the year-to-year deviations in the point mass balances of six glaciers distributed across the entire European Alps can be attributed to a common variability. Point mass balance changes reveal remarkable regional consistencies reaching 80% for glaciers less than 10 km apart. Compared to the steady state conditions of the 1962-1982 period, the surface mass balance changes are -0.85 m water equivalent (w.e.) a-1 for 1983-2002 and -1.63 m w.e. a-1 for 2003-2013. This indicates a clear and regionally consistent acceleration of mass loss over recent decades over the entire European Alps.

  5. Glacier and hydrology changes in future climate over western Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winger, Katja; Sushama, Laxmi; Marshall, Shawn

    2016-04-01

    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.

  6. Recent geodetic mass balance of Monte Tronador glaciers, northern Patagonian Andes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruiz, Lucas; Berthier, Etienne; Viale, Maximiliano; Pitte, Pierre; Masiokas, Mariano H.

    2017-02-01

    Glaciers in the northern Patagonian Andes (35-46° S) have shown a dramatic decline in area in the last decades. However, little is known about glacier mass balance changes in this region. This study presents a geodetic mass balance estimate of Monte Tronador (41.15° S; 71.88° W) glaciers by comparing a Pléiades digital elevation model (DEM) acquired in 2012 with the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) X-band DEM acquired in 2000. We find a slightly negative Monte-Tronador-wide mass budget of -0.17 m w.e. a-1 (ranging from -0.54 to 0.14 m w.e. a-1 for individual glaciers) and a slightly negative trend in glacier extent (-0.16 % a-1) over the 2000-2012 period. With a few exceptions, debris-covered valley glaciers that descend below a bedrock cliff are losing mass at higher rates, while mountain glaciers with termini located above this cliff are closer to mass equilibrium. Climate variations over the last decades show a notable increase in warm season temperatures in the late 1970s but limited warming afterwards. These warmer conditions combined with an overall drying trend may explain the moderate ice mass loss observed at Monte Tronador. The almost balanced mass budget of mountain glaciers suggests that they are probably approaching a dynamic equilibrium with current (post-1977) climate, whereas the valley glaciers tongues will continue to retreat. The slightly negative overall mass budget of Monte Tronador glaciers contrasts with the highly negative mass balance estimates observed in the Patagonian ice fields further south.

  7. Experience real-time climate change: Environmental education at Jamtal glacier.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Andrea; Seiser, Bernd; Hartl, Lea; Bendler, Gebhard

    2016-04-01

    Kids hear about climate change in everyday news, but, unlike grown-ups, they find it much harder to imagine changes over decades, i.e. much longer than their own life span. So how to teach them the issues of climate change? Jamtalferner is an Alpine glacier with an ongoing mass balance monitoring programme started in 1988/89. Surveys of glacier length changes by the Austrian Alpine Club date back even longer, so that the glacier retreat after the Little Ice Age is well documented. As the glacier is easy to access, at just one hour's easy walk from the mountain hut, Jamtalferner was selected to compile materials on climate change for the use in schools and for preparing excursions for a hands-on confrontation with climate change and to give an impression of decadal changes. The materials will be available at www.umweltbildung-jamtal.info and include time series of photographs, maps, tables, background information and exercises.

  8. Projections of glacier change in the Altai Mountains under twenty-first century climate scenarios

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yong; Enomoto, Hiroyuki; Ohata, Tetsuo; Kitabata, Hideyuki; Kadota, Tsutomu; Hirabayashi, Yukiko

    2016-01-01

    We project glacier surface mass balances of the Altai Mountains over the period 2006-2100 for the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios using daily near-surface air temperature and precipitation from 12 global climate models in combination with a surface mass balance model. The results indicate that the Altai glaciers will undergo sustained mass loss throughout the 21st for both RCPs and reveal the future fate of glaciers of different sizes. By 2100, glacier area in the region will shrink by 26 ± 10 % for RCP4.5, while it will shrink by 60 ± 15 % for RCP8.5. According to our simulations, most disappearing glaciers are located in the western part of the Altai Mountains. For RCP4.5, all glaciers disappearing in the twenty-first century have a present-day size smaller than 5.0 km2, while for RCP8.5, an additional ~7 % of glaciers in the initial size class of 5.0-10.0 km2 also vanish. We project different trends in the total meltwater discharge of the region for the two RCPs, which does not peak before 2100, with important consequences for regional water availability, particular for the semi-arid and arid regions. This further highlights the potential implications of change in the Altai glaciers on regional hydrology and environment.

  9. Projections of glacier change in the Altai Mountains under twenty-first century climate scenarios

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yong; Enomoto, Hiroyuki; Ohata, Tetsuo; Kitabata, Hideyuki; Kadota, Tsutomu; Hirabayashi, Yukiko

    2016-11-01

    We project glacier surface mass balances of the Altai Mountains over the period 2006-2100 for the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios using daily near-surface air temperature and precipitation from 12 global climate models in combination with a surface mass balance model. The results indicate that the Altai glaciers will undergo sustained mass loss throughout the 21st for both RCPs and reveal the future fate of glaciers of different sizes. By 2100, glacier area in the region will shrink by 26 ± 10 % for RCP4.5, while it will shrink by 60 ± 15 % for RCP8.5. According to our simulations, most disappearing glaciers are located in the western part of the Altai Mountains. For RCP4.5, all glaciers disappearing in the twenty-first century have a present-day size smaller than 5.0 km2, while for RCP8.5, an additional 7 % of glaciers in the initial size class of 5.0-10.0 km2 also vanish. We project different trends in the total meltwater discharge of the region for the two RCPs, which does not peak before 2100, with important consequences for regional water availability, particular for the semi-arid and arid regions. This further highlights the potential implications of change in the Altai glaciers on regional hydrology and environment.

  10. Modelling the response of valley glaciers to climatic change

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1996-01-01

    In the context of Global Change research, glaciers are of interest because they register small but persistent changes in climate, and because they affect global sea level on the decadal-to-century time scale. In addition, in some regions glaciers are of great importance for human activities like con

  11. Testing geographical and climatic controls on glacier retreat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freudiger, Daphné; Stahl, Kerstin; Weiler, Markus

    2015-04-01

    Glacier melt provides an important part of the summer discharge in many mountainous basins. The understanding of the processes behind the glacier mass losses and glacier retreats observed during the last century is therefore relevant for a sustainable management of the water resources and reliable models for the prediction of future changes. The changes in glacier area of 49 sub-basins of the Rhine River in the Alps were analyzed for the time period 1900-2010 by comparing the glacier areas of Siegfried maps for the years 1900 and 1940 with satellite derived glacier areas for the years 1973, 2003 and 2010. The aim was to empirically investigate the controls of glacier retreat and its regional differences. All glaciers in the glacierized basins retreated over the last 110 years with some variations in the sub-periods. However, the relative changes in glacier area compared to 1900 differed for every sub-basin and some glaciers decreased much faster than others. These observed differences were related to a variety of different potential controls derived from different sources, including mean annual solar radiation on the glacier surface, average slope, mean glacier elevation, initial glacier area, average precipitation (summer and winter), and the precipitation catchment area of the glacier. We fitted a generalized linear model (GLM) and selected predictors that were significant to assess the individual effects of the potential controls. The fitted model explains more than 60% of the observed variance of the relative change in glacier area with the initial area alone only explaining a small proportion. Some interesting patterns emerge with higher average elevation resulting in higher area changes, but steeper slopes or solar radiation resulting in lower relative glacier area changes. Further controls that will be tested include snow transport by wind or avalanches as they play an important role for the glacier mass balance and potentially reduce the changes in glacier

  12. Little Ice Age climate reconstruction from ensemble reanalysis of Alpine glacier fluctuations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. P. Lüthi

    2014-04-01

    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.

  13. Mass changes in Arctic ice caps and glaciers: implications of regionalizing elevation changes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nilsson, Johan; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Barletta, Valentina Roberta;

    2015-01-01

    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 interp......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...... 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...

  14. Influence of high-order mechanics on simulation of glacier response to climate change: insights from Haig Glacier, Canadian Rocky Mountains

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Adhikari

    2013-09-01

    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 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. Although similar studies on other glaciers are essential to generalize such findings, we advise that high-order mechanics are important and therefore should be considered while modeling the evolution of active glaciers. Reduced model predictions may be adequate for other glaciologic and topographic settings, particularly where flow speeds are low and where mass balance changes dominate over ice dynamics in determining glacier geometry.

  15. Glacier response to North Atlantic climate variability during the Holocene

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. L. Balascio

    2015-05-01

    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

  16. Gulkana Glacier, Alaska-Mass balance, meteorology, and water measurements, 1997-2001

    Science.gov (United States)

    March, Rod S.; O'Neel, Shad

    2011-01-01

    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.

  17. Strong ELA increase causes fast mass loss of glaciers in central Spitsbergen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Małecki, J.

    2015-11-01

    Svalbard is a heavily glacier covered archipelago in the Arctic. Its central regions, including Dickson Land (DL), are occupied by small alpine glaciers, which post-Little Ice Age (LIA) changes remain only sporadically investigated. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of glacier changes in DL based on inventories compiled from topographic maps and digital elevation models (DEMs) for LIA, 1960's, 1990 and 2009/11. The 37.9 ± 12.1 % glacier area decrease in DL (i.e. from 334.1 ± 38.4 km2 during LIA to 207.4 ± 4.6 km2 in 2009/11) has been primarily caused by accelerating termini retreat. The mean 1990-2009/11 geodetic mass balance of glaciers was -0.70 ± 0.06 m a-1 (-0.63 ± 0.05 m w.e. a-1), being one of the most negative from Svalbard regional means known from the literature. If the same figure was to be applied for other similar regions of central Spitsbergen, that would result in a considerable contribution to total Svalbard mass balance despite negligible proportion to total glacier area. Glacier changes in Dickson Land were linked to dramatic equilibrium line altitude (ELA) shift, which in the period 1990-2009/11 has been located ca. 500 m higher than required for steady-state. The mass balance of central Spitsbergen glaciers seems to be therefore more sensitive to climate change than previously thought.

  18. New climate change scenarios reveal uncertain future for Central Asian glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. F. Lutz

    2012-11-01

    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

  19. Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andresen, Camilla Snowman; Straneo, Fiammetta; Ribergaard, Mads Hvid;

    2012-01-01

    During the early 2000s the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced the largest ice-mass loss of the instrumental record(1), largely as a result of the acceleration, thinning and retreat of large outlet glaciers in West and southeast Greenland(2-5). The quasi-simultaneous change in the glaciers suggests...... a 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...

  20. Dynamics and mass balance of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica: 1. Geometry and surface velocities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavanaugh, J. L.; Cuffey, K. M.; Morse, D. L.; Conway, H.; Rignot, E.

    2009-11-01

    Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, exemplifies a little-studied type of outlet glacier, one that flows slowly through a region of rugged topography and dry climate. This glacier, in addition, connects the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a region much studied for geomorphology, paleoclimate, and ecology. Here we report extensive new measurements of surface velocities, ice thicknesses, and surface elevations, acquired with InSAR, GPS, and GPR. The latter two were used to construct elevation models of the glacier's surface and bed. Ice velocities in 2002-2004 closely matched those in 2000 and the mid-1970s, indicating negligible interannual variations of flow. Comparing velocities with bed elevations shows that, along much of the glacier, flow concentrates in a narrow axis of relatively fast flowing ice that overlies a bedrock trough. The flow of the glacier over major undulations in its bed can be regarded as a “cascade” it speeds up over bedrock highs and through valley narrows and slows down over deep basins and in wide spots. This pattern is an expected consequence of mass conservation for a glacier near steady state. Neither theory nor data from this Taylor Glacier study support the alternative view, recently proposed, that an outlet glacier of this type trickles slowly over bedrock highs and flows fastest over deep basins.

  1. Irreversible mass loss of Canadian Arctic Archipelago glaciers

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lenaerts, J.T.M.; van Angelen, J.H.; van den Broeke, M.R.; Gardner, A.S.; Wouters, Bert; van Meijgaard, E.

    2013-01-01

    The Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) contains the largest volume of glacier ice on Earth outside of Antarctica and Greenland. In the absence of significant calving, CAA glacier mass balance is governed by the difference between surface snow accumulation and meltwater runoff—surface mass balance. He

  2. Seasonal and annual mass balances of Mera and Pokalde glaciers (Nepal Himalaya since 2007

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Wagnon

    2013-07-01

    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.

  3. Linking glacier annual mass balance and glacier albedo retrieved from MODIS data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Dumont

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available 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 ice are particularly investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin Glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps. The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements, at two automatic weather stations located on the glacier, and albedo values derived from terrestrial photographs. For summers 2008 and 2009, the root mean square deviation (RMSD between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS data at 250 m spatial resolution was found to be 0.052 or about 10% relative error. The RMSD estimated for the MOD10 daily albedo product is about three times higher. One decade (2000–2009 of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of Saint Sorlin Glacier during the ablation season. The annual mass balance of Saint Sorlin Glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (average over the whole glacier surface observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A strong linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the date when the average albedo of the whole glacier reaches a minimum closely corresponds to the period when the snow line is located at its highest elevation, thus when the snow line is a good indicator of the glacier equilibrium line. This indicates that this strong correlation results from the fact that the minimal average albedo values of the glacier contains considerable information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e. ice with generally

  4. Linking glacier annual mass balance and glacier albedo retrieved from MODIS data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dumont, M.; Gardelle, J.; Sirguey, P.; Guillot, A.; Six, D.; Rabatel, A.; Arnaud, Y.

    2012-12-01

    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 ice are particularly investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin Glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps). The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements, at two automatic weather stations located on the glacier, and albedo values derived from terrestrial photographs. For summers 2008 and 2009, the root mean square deviation (RMSD) between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS data at 250 m spatial resolution was found to be 0.052 or about 10% relative error. The RMSD estimated for the MOD10 daily albedo product is about three times higher. One decade (2000-2009) of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of Saint Sorlin Glacier during the ablation season. The annual mass balance of Saint Sorlin Glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (average over the whole glacier surface) observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A strong linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the date when the average albedo of the whole glacier reaches a minimum closely corresponds to the period when the snow line is located at its highest elevation, thus when the snow line is a good indicator of the glacier equilibrium line. This indicates that this strong correlation results from the fact that the minimal average albedo values of the glacier contains considerable information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e. ice with generally low albedo

  5. Linking glacier annual mass balance and glacier albedo retrieved from MODIS data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Dumont

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available 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 ice are particularly investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin Glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps. The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements, at two automatic weather stations located on the glacier, and albedo values derived from terrestrial photographs. For summers 2008 and 2009, the Root Mean Square Deviation (RMSD between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS data at 250 m spatial resolution was found to be 0.052 or about 10% relative error. The RMSD estimated for the MOD10 daily albedo product is about three times higher. One decade (2000–2009 of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of Saint Sorlin Glacier during the ablation season. The annual mass balance of Saint Sorlin Glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (average over the whole glacier surface observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A strong linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the date when the average albedo of the whole glacier reaches a minimum closely corresponds to the period when the snowline is located at its highest elevation, thus when the snowline is a good indicator of the glacier equilibrium line. This indicates that this strong correlation results from the fact that the minimal average albedo values of the glacier contains a considerable information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e. ice with generally

  6. Thermofluidodynamic modelling of the Adamello Glacier in a future climate scenario. Will the largest Italian glacier disappear by 2080?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ranzi, Roberto; Svanera, Eros; Baroni, Carlo; Barontini, Stefano; Caronna, Paolo; Grossi, Giovanna; Salvatore, Maria Cristina

    2016-04-01

    A thermofluidodynamic model was applied to the study case of the Adamello glacier (17,24 km2, after ASTER 2003 data), located in the Central Alps. The dynamic of the glacier was first simulated in the current climate conditions (1996-2007) and then using future climate projection resulting from the PCM A1b scenarios. Using the finite element code Elmer the dynamic equations were solved for the velocity field and the free surface elevation. The glacier was modelled with a 3D mesh composed by 28050 nodes and subdivided into 10 vertical layers. Elevation of the free surface and bedrock recorded in 1991 and in 1996 were used as boundary and initial conditions. For each simulated year a top surface temperature of -7.5 °C was considered for the winter semester in the ablation season the glacier's temperature was set to 0°C. During melting a fixed bottom velocity was applied to simulate the slip behaviour. As a Neumann boundary condition on the glacier's top surface the seasonal mass balance estimated from the energy-balance over the 1995-2009 period was assumed, with a mean value of -1.4 m/a. The reliability of the energy balance was verified with point measurement at ablation stakes over two ablation seasons, with runoff data and remote sensing. The maximum simulated surface velocities of the order of 100 m/a, a value consistent with observations of speed of some ablation stakes. In order to assess the validity of the results, the change in the thickness of the glacier observed between 1998 and 2007 (DEM difference) was compared to the simulated change in the free surface elevation. Another useful application of the modeling result is the identification of the ice divide of 5 glaciological units in the Sarca and Oglio subbasins, separated from a hydrological point of view, which is not a trivial task to be performed in the field. Another verification is done comparing the simulated glacier's extent in the year 2015 starting from 1996 initial conditions. The simulation

  7. Contributions of natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing to mass loss of Northern Hemisphere mountain glaciers and quantifying their uncertainties

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirabayashi, Yukiko; Nakano, Kazunari; Zhang, Yong; Watanabe, Satoshi; Tanoue, Masahiro; Kanae, Shinjiro

    2016-07-01

    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.

  8. Brief communication: Thinning of debris-covered and debris-free glaciers in a warming climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerjee, Argha

    2017-01-01

    Recent geodetic mass-balance measurements reveal similar thinning rates on glaciers with or without debris cover in the Himalaya-Karakoram region. This comes as a surprise as a thick debris cover reduces the surface melting significantly due to its insulating effects. Here we present arguments, supported by results from numerical flowline model simulations of idealised glaciers, that a competition between the changes in the surface mass-balance forcing and that of the emergence/submergence velocities can lead to similar thinning rates on these two types of glaciers. As the climate starts warming, the thinning rate on a debris-covered glacier is initially smaller than that on a similar debris-free glacier. Subsequently, the rate on the debris-covered glacier becomes comparable to and then larger than that on the debris-free one. The time evolution of glacier-averaged thinning rates after an initial warming is strongly controlled by the time variation of the corresponding emergence velocity profile.

  9. A Decade of Elevation and Mass Changes of the North Atlantic Glaciers and Ice Caps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wouters, B.; Ligtenberg, S.; Moholdt, G.; Gardner, A. S.; van den Broeke, M.; Bamber, J. L.

    2015-12-01

    With a dense coverage and the ability to geo-locate the radar echo position, Cryosat-2's altimeter is well suited for determining elevation change rates of ice caps and glaciers that are often characterized by more complex topographic relief than the much larger ice sheets. We determine elevations trends from Cryosat-2 (2010-2014) of the North-Atlantic glaciers and ice caps and compare these to observations obtained from ICESat laser altimetry (2003-2009). The results show a general glacier imbalance with current climate, characterized by rapid thinning at the lower elevations where surface melting is stronger. Using a firn and surface mass balance model, we estimate the contribution of the North Atlantic glaciers to sea level rise over the 2003-2014 period to be ~ 1/3 mm per year. In general, our altimetry results are in good agreement with large-scale glacier mass anomalies from GRACE. Regional glacier mass changes appear to be linked to distinct atmospheric circulation patterns, with some regions being in 'status quo' and others experiencing rapid shrinkage. Regional changes in elevation are primarily driven by changes in surface forcing with glacier dynamics dominating the local signal of several tidewater basins.

  10. Tropical Glaciers: Recorders and Indicators of Climate Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, L. G.; Mosley-Thompson, E. S.; Buffen, A.; Urmann, D.; Davis, M. E.; Lin, P.

    2008-12-01

    Tropical climate is dominated on interannual time scales by monsoons and especially by ENSO, which is responsible for meteorological phenomena that directly or indirectly affect most regions on the planet and their populations. Common tropical teleconnections to the extra tropics include a stronger Aleutian low, stronger westerlies, variations in convective activity (flooding and drought), and modulation of tropical storm intensities. New ice core records from the Quelccaya and Coropuna ice caps provide 1700 years of continuous, annually-resolved records of climate and environmental variability expressed in the oxygen and hydrogen isotopic ratios, concentrations of mineral dust and various chemical species and net mass accumulation. These records provide an opportunity to examine the nature of tropical climate variability in greater detail, and to extract new information on ENSO and monsoon-linked climate phenomena. Quelccaya records display a prominent Little Ice Age isotopic depletion from 1520 to 1880 A.D. and a muted Medieval Warming between 1100 and 1300 AD. Drier conditions dominated from 300 to 500 AD, 1190 to 1470 AD and 1710 to 1910 with slightly wetter conditions from 500 to 1190 AD, and much wetter conditions from 1470 to 1710 A.D. and from 1910 A.D. to the present. The major cation and anion concentrations record other environmental changes over the past 1700 years. The longer tropical climate histories from Coropuna and Huascarán (Peru), Sajama (Bolivia), and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) document abrupt climate disruptions such as the 4.2 ka drought and an extreme cold and wet period centered at 5.2 ka. The well documented ongoing ice loss on Quelccaya and Kilimanjaro paint a grim future for glacier histories from the tropics. The current melting of high-altitude, low-latitude ice fields is consistent with model predictions for a vertical amplification of temperature in the tropics. The ongoing glacier retreat in the Andes, Himalayas and Africa has

  11. Vulnerability of mountain glaciers in China to climate change

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YANG Jian-Ping; DING Yong-Jian; LIU Shi-Yin; TAN Chun-Ping

    2015-01-01

    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.

  12. Spatial variability in mass loss of glaciers in the Everest region, central Himalayas, between 2000 and 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Owen; Quincey, Duncan J.; Carrivick, Jonathan L.; Rowan, Ann V.

    2017-02-01

    Region-wide averaging of Himalayan glacier mass change has masked any catchment or glacier-scale variability in glacier recession; thus the role of a number of glaciological processes in glacier wastage remains poorly understood. In this study, we quantify mass loss rates over the period 2000-2015 for 32 glaciers across the Everest region and assess how future ice loss is likely to differ depending on glacier hypsometry. The mean mass balance of all 32 glaciers in our sample was -0.52 ± 0.22 m water equivalent (w.e.) a-1. The mean mass balance of nine lacustrine-terminating glaciers (-0.70 ± 0.26 m w.e. a-1) was 32 % more negative than land-terminating, debris-covered glaciers (-0.53 ± 0.21 m w.e. a-1). The mass balance of lacustrine-terminating glaciers is highly variable (-0.45 ± 0.13 to -0.91 ± 0.22 m w.e. a-1), perhaps reflecting glacial lakes at different stages of development. To assess the importance of hypsometry on glacier response to future temperature increases, we calculated current (Dudh Koshi - 0.41, Tama Koshi - 0.43, Pumqu - 0.37) and prospective future glacier accumulation area Ratios (AARs). IPCC AR5 RCP 4.5 warming (0.9-2.3 °C by 2100) could reduce AARs to 0.29 or 0.08 in the Tama Koshi catchment, 0.27 or 0.17 in the Dudh Koshi catchment and 0.29 or 0.18 in the Pumqu catchment. Our results suggest that glacial lake expansion across the Himalayas could expedite ice mass loss and the prediction of future contributions of glacial meltwater to river flow will be complicated by spatially variable glacier responses to climate change.

  13. Linking glacier annual mass balance and glacier albedo from MODIS data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dumont, M.; Gardelle, J.; Arnaud, Y.; Guillot, A.; Sirguey, P.; Six, D.

    2012-04-01

    The albedo is one of the variables controlling the mass balance of temperate glaciers. Multispectral imagers, such as MODIS on board TERRA and AQUA, provide a means to monitor glacier albedo. In this study, different methods to retrieve broadband glacier albedo from MODIS data are compared. In particular, the effect of the multiple reflections due to the rugged topography and that of the anisotropic reflection of snow and ice are investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps). The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements and albedo derived from terrestrial photographs. The root mean square deviation between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS pixels at 250m spatial resolution was found to be less than 0.06. One decade (2000-2010) of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of Saint Sorlin glacier during the ablation season. It appears that the albedo in the ablation area of the glacier does not exhibit any marked decreasing trend during the decade under study. This contrasts with the situation observed on other glaciers in the Alps. In addition, the annual mass balance of Saint Sorlin Glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (spatial averaged over the whole glacier) observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A high linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the day on which the albedo reaches a minimum over the glacier closely corresponds to the day on which the snowline is found to be at its highest elevation, thus close to the glacier's equilibrium line. This indicates that the high correlation can be explained by the fact that this minimal albedo contains a high degree of information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e., ice with a generally lower albedo) and the accumulation zone (i.e., snow with a relatively high albedo). This implies

  14. Density assumptions for converting geodetic glacier volume change to mass change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Huss

    2013-05-01

    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.

  15. Worldwide glacier monitoring as part of policy-related climate observation: development and strategy of the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haeberli, W.; Zemp, M.

    2011-12-01

    Internationally coordinated observation of long-term glacier fluctuations as a key indication of global climate changes has a long tradition, starting already in 1894. With the development of the Global Climate Observing System in support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, glaciers and ice caps became an Essential Climate Variable within the Global Terrestrial Observing System. A corresponding Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) was indeed established as a pilot project to this program. The basic principles followed by GTN-G and similar networks are to be relevant, feasible, comprehensive and understandable to a wider scientific community and the public. Following recommendations by the International Council for Sciences, a contribution should be made to free and unrestricted international sharing of high-quality, long-term and standardized data and information products. A tiered strategy was adopted in order to bridge the gap between detailed process studies at selected field sites with global coverage through satellite remote sensing. Efforts were also made to ensure continuity of long-term measurement series by combining traditional approaches with modern, future-oriented technologies. Today, the GTN-G is jointly run by three operational bodies in glacier monitoring, which are the World Glacier Monitoring Service, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, and the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space initiative. With an online service, GTN-G provides fast access to regularly updated information on glacier fluctuation and inventory data. Currently, this includes global information from 100,000 glaciers mainly based on aerial photographs and outlines from 95,000 glaciers mainly based on satellite images, length change series from 1,800 glaciers, mass balance series from 250 glaciers, information on special events (e.g., hazards, surges, calving instabilities) from 130 glaciers, as well as 13,000 photographs from some 500

  16. The seasonal in-situ mass balance, temperature and precipitation of Yala Glacier, Langtang Valley, Nepal, from 2011 to 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stumm, Dorothea; Fujita, Koji; Gurung, Tika; Joshi, Sharad; Litt, Maxime; Shea, Joseph; Sherpa, Mingma; Sinisalo, Anna; Wagnon, Patrick

    2016-04-01

    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.

  17. Density assumptions for converting geodetic glacier volume change to mass change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Huss

    2013-01-01

    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. This study investigates this conversion factor 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.

  18. Brief Communication: Global glacier mass loss reconstructions during the 20th century are consistent

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. Marzeion

    2015-07-01

    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.

  19. Earth's Climate History from Glaciers and Ice Cores

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, Lonnie

    2013-03-01

    Glaciers serve both as recorders and early indicators of climate change. Over the past 35 years our research team has recovered climatic and environmental histories from ice cores drilled in both Polar Regions and from low to mid-latitude, high-elevation ice fields. Those ice core -derived proxy records extending back 25,000 years have made it possible to compare glacial stage conditions in the Tropics with those in the Polar Regions. High-resolution records of δ18O (in part a temperature proxy) demonstrate that the current warming at high elevations in the mid- to lower latitudes is unprecedented for the last two millennia, although at many sites the early Holocene was warmer than today. Remarkable similarities between changes in the highland and coastal cultures of Peru and regional climate variability, especially precipitation, imply a strong connection between prehistoric human activities and regional climate. Ice cores retrieved from shrinking glaciers around the world confirm their continuous existence for periods ranging from hundreds to thousands of years, suggesting that current climatological conditions in those regions today are different from those under which these ice fields originated and have been sustained. The ongoing widespread melting of high-elevation glaciers and ice caps, particularly in low to middle latitudes, provides strong evidence that a large-scale, pervasive and, in some cases, rapid change in Earth's climate system is underway. Observations of glacier shrinkage during the 20th and 21st century girdle the globe from the South American Andes, the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, Africa) and glaciers near Puncak Jaya, Indonesia (New Guinea). The history and fate of these ice caps, told through the adventure, beauty and the scientific evidence from some of world's most remote mountain tops, provide a global perspective for contemporary climate. NSF Paleoclimate Program

  20. Reconstructing glacier-based climates of LGM Europe and Russia – Part 2: A dataset of LGM climates derived from degree-day modelling of palaeo glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. J. Payne

    2007-10-01

    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.

  1. Recent glacier retreat and climate trends in Cordillera Huaytapallana, Peru

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-Moreno, J. I.; Fontaneda, S.; Bazo, J.; Revuelto, J.; Azorin-Molina, C.; Valero-Garcés, B.; Morán-Tejeda, E.; Vicente-Serrano, S. M.; Zubieta, R.; Alejo-Cochachín, J.

    2014-01-01

    We analyzed 19 annual Landsat Thematic Mapper images from 1984 to 2011 to determine changes of the glaciated surface and snow line elevation in six mountain areas of the Cordillera Huaytapallana range in Peru. In contrast to other Peruvian mountains, glacier retreat in these mountains has been poorly documented, even though this is a heavily glaciated area. These glaciers are the main source of water for the surrounding lowlands, and melting of these glaciers has triggered several outburst floods. During the 28-year study period, there was a 55% decrease in the surface covered by glaciers and the snowline moved upward in different regions by 93 to 157 m. Moreover, several new lakes formed in the recently deglaciated areas. There was an increase in precipitation during the wet season (October-April) over the 28-year study period. The significant increase in maximum temperatures may be related to the significant glacier retreat in the study area. There were significant differences in the wet season temperatures during El Niño (warmer) and La Niña (colder) years. Although La Niña years were generally more humid than El Niño years, these differences were not statistically significant. Thus, glaciers tended to retreat at a high rate during El Niño years, but tended to be stable or increase during La Niña years, although there were some notable deviations from this general pattern. Climate simulations for 2021 to 2050, based on the most optimistic assumptions of greenhouse gas concentrations, forecast a continuation of climate warming at the same rate as documented here. Such changes in temperature might lead to a critical situation for the glaciers of the Cordillera Huaytapallana, and may significantly impact the water resources, ecology, and natural hazards of the surrounding areas.

  2. Long-term mass- and energy balance of Kongsvegen glacier, Spitzbergen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krismer, Thomas; Obleitner, Friedrich; Kohler, Jack

    2010-05-01

    We present meteorological and glaciological data from the equilibrium line (ELA) of Kongsvegen glacier (550masl) in Svalbard, covering the period 2000 until 2008. Mean annual air temperatures for the period range from -6.9 to -10.1°C and specific net annual mass balances range from -670 to +281 mm w eq. During some years substantial superimposed ice was formed and even survived the summer. The meteorological data were homogenized and used for input and validation of mass- and energy-balance simulations. The meteorological regime at the ELA is characterized by a coreless winter and summer temperatures around 0°C. Wind conditions are largely determined by katabatic winds and topgraphically channeled upper-air winds. Net short-wave radiation is determined by cloudiness during the polar day and by the seasonal evolution of glacier surface albedo. Long-wave radiation fluxes withdraw energy throughout the year and the mean annual net radiation is almost negligible. The turbulent sensible heat fluxes constitute a comparatively strong and continuous source of energy. The latent heat flux is characterized by prevailing condensation during winter and evaporation during summer. On average, however, the turbulent fluxes provide only a small amount of heat to the glacier. Most of the energy available from the atmosphere is used for summer melt and a small amount goes into heating the near surface ice layers. Similar investigations were performed at the tongue of the glacier (170masl) for a shorter period. Here the conditions are characterized by enhanced input from the atmospheric fluxes and correspondingly increased melt rates. In addition, accumulation is usually small (>50 cm snow) and melt can also occur during winter. We then investigate whether spatially distributed mass balance can be simulated using data measured outside of the glacier. Regression models were developed to derive model input from climate data measured at a nearby research station. These models are

  3. Response of Himalayan debris-covered glaciers to climate warming: from observations to predictive modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benn, D.; Lefeuvre, P.; Ng, F.; Nicholson, L. I.

    2012-12-01

    Field observations and remote-sensing studies have shown that Himalayan debris-covered glaciers tend to follow distinctive evolutionary pathways during periods of negative mass balance. Initially, debris-covered glacier tongues downwaste rather than retreat, resulting in thinning and a reduction of ice surface gradient. Reduced driving stresses lead to lower velocities and eventual stagnation of the tongue. These geometrical and dynamic changes reduce the efficiency of the hydrological system, leading to increased retention of meltwater and the formation of ephemeral supraglacial lakes. High ablation rates around lakes and internal ablation in association with englacial conduits serve to accelerate mass loss and downwasting. In some cases, this evolutionary cascade results in the formation of moraine-dammed lakes, which can present significant outburst flood risks if large lake volumes coincide with weak moraine dams . While this evolutionary sequence has been observed on numerous glaciers, numerical prediction of future glacier behavior requires quantification or parameterization of several complex processes. In addition, system behavior is highly non-linear with multiple process thresholds, creating considerable modeling challenges. An essential first step is to develop robust mass-balance models, including patterns of snow accumulation in extreme terrain and the effects of both debris and climate on melting. Accumulation models need to incorporate vertical variations in precipitation as well as redistribution by wind and avalanching. Newly available precipitation estimates from satellite data can provide important model input. Ablation modeling can be done using a range of approaches, including degree-day and full energy balance models. Mass balance gradients calculated using the latter approach indicate ablation maxima some distance above the glacier termini, where debris cover is relatively thin. Mass balance modeling also indicates that in monsoonal regions

  4. Holocene glacier variability: three case studies using an intermediate-complexity climate model

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weber, S.L.; Oerlemans, J.

    2003-01-01

    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

  5. Glacier variations in the Northern Caucasus compared to climatic reconstructions over the past millennium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomina, Olga; Bushueva, Irina; Dolgova, Ekaterina; Jomelli, Vincent; Alexandrin, Mikhail; Mikhalenko, Vladimir; Matskovsky, Vladimir

    2016-05-01

    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

  6. Future climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard glaciers in an RCP8.5 climate scenario: a study with the regional climate model MAR forced by MIROC5

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lang, C.; Fettweis, X.; Erpicum, M.

    2015-05-01

    We have performed a future projection of the climate and surface mass balance (SMB) of Svalbard with the MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional) regional climate model forced by MIROC5 (Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate), following the RCP8.5 scenario at a spatial resolution of 10 km. MAR predicts a similar evolution of increasing surface melt everywhere in Svalbard followed by a sudden acceleration of melt around 2050, with a larger melt increase in the south compared to the north of the archipelago. This melt acceleration around 2050 is mainly driven by the albedo-melt feedback associated with the expansion of the ablation/bare ice zone. This effect is dampened in part as the solar radiation itself is projected to decrease due to a cloudiness increase. The near-surface temperature is projected to increase more in winter than in summer as the temperature is already close to 0 °C in summer. The model also projects a stronger winter west-to-east temperature gradient, related to the large decrease of sea ice cover around Svalbard. By 2085, SMB is projected to become negative over all of Svalbard's glaciated regions, leading to the rapid degradation of the firn layer.

  7. Accelerated wastage of the Monte Perdido Glacier in the Spanish Pyrenees during recent stationary climatic conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. I. López-Moreno

    2015-09-01

    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

  8. Columbia Glacier stake location, mass balance, glacier surface altitude, and ice radar data, 1978 measurement year

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayo, L.R.; Trabant, D.C.; March, Rod; Haeberli, Wilfried

    1979-01-01

    A 1 year data-collection program on Columbia Glacier, Alaska has produced a data set consisting of near-surface ice kinematics, mass balance, and altitude change at 57 points and 34 ice radar soundings. These data presented in two tables, are part of the basic data required for glacier dynamic analysis, computer models, and predictions of the number and size of icebergs which Columbia Glacier will calve into shipping lanes of eastern Prince William Sound. A metric, sea-level coordinate system was developed for use in surveying throughout the basin. Its use is explained and monument coordinates listed. A series of seven integrated programs for calculators were used in both the field and office to reduce the surveying data. These programs are thoroughly documented and explained in the report. (Kosco-USGS)

  9. Assessment of thermal change in cold avalanching glaciers in relation to climate warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilbert, A.; Vincent, C.; Gagliardini, O.; Krug, J.; Berthier, E.

    2015-08-01

    High-elevation glaciers covered by cold firn are undergoing substantial warming in response to ongoing climate change. This warming is affecting the ice/rock interface temperature, the primary driver of avalanching glacier instability on steep slopes. Prediction of future potential instability therefore requires appropriate modeling of the thermal evolution of these glaciers. Application of a state-of-the-art model to a glacier in the French Alps (Taconnaz) has provided the first evaluation of the temperature evolution of a cold hanging glacier through this century. Our observations and three-dimensional modeling of the glacier response (velocity, thickness, temperature, density, and water content) to climate change indicate that Taconnaz glacier will become temperate and potentially unstable over a large area by the end of the 21st century. The risk induced by this glacier hazard is high for the populated region below and makes observation and modeling of such glaciers a priority.

  10. Mass balance and near-surface ice temperature structure of Baishui Glacier No.1 in Mt.Yulong

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    DU Jiankuo; HE Yuanqing; LI Shuang; WANG Shijin; NIU Hewen; XIN Huijuan; PU Tao

    2013-01-01

    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

  11. The influence of snow cover thickness on the thermal regime of Tête Rousse Glacier (Mont Blanc range, 3200 m a.s.l.): Consequences for outburst flood hazards and glacier response to climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilbert, A.; Vincent, C.; Wagnon, P.; Thibert, E.; Rabatel, A.

    2012-12-01

    Tête Rousse Glacier (French Alps) was responsible for an outburst flood in 1892 that devastated the village of St Gervais-Le Fayet close to Chamonix, causing 175 fatalities. Changes in the hydrothermal configuration of the glacier are suspected to be the cause of this catastrophic outburst flood. In 2010, geophysical surveys of this glacier revealed a subglacial lake that was subsequently drained artificially. The processes controlling the thermal regime of the glacier have been investigated on the basis of measurements and snow/firn cover and heat flow models using meteorological data covering the last 200 years. Temperature measurements show a polythermal structure with subglacial water trapped by the cold lowest part of the glacier (-2°C). The modeling approach shows that the polythermal structure is due to temporal changes in the depth of the snow/firn cover at the glacier surface. Paradoxically, periods with negative mass balances, associated with warmer air temperature, tend to cool the glacier, whereas years with colder temperatures, associated with positive mass balances, tend to increase the glacier temperature by increasing the firnpack depth and extent. The thermal effect of the subglacial lake is evaluated and shows that the lake was formed around 1980. According to future climate scenarios, modeling shows that the glacier may cool again in the future. This study provides insights into the thermal processes responsible for water storage inside a small almost static glacier, which can lead to catastrophic outburst floods such as the 1892 event or potentially dangerous situations as in 2010.

  12. Simulation and reconstruction of parameters of streamflow and glacier mass balance in the Northern Caucasus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. G. Konovalov

    2014-01-01

    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

  13. Recent mass balance of Arctic glaciers derived from repeat-track ICESat altimetry (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moholdt, G.; Nuth, C.; Hagen, J. M.; Wolken, G. J.; Gardner, A.

    2010-12-01

    The Arctic region is more affected by climate change than the lower latitudes. Glaciers and ice caps are sensitive indicators of climate change, and there is a high demand for more accurate quantifications of glacier changes in the Arctic. ICESat laser altimetry has been a popular tool for assessing recent elevation changes of the Greenland ice sheet. Other high Arctic glaciers have an equally dense coverage of ICESat tracks, but the quantity and quality of elevation comparisons are degraded due to smaller glacier sizes and steeper slopes. A methodological study at the Svalbard archipelago in the Norwegian Arctic has shown that it is feasible to obtain reasonable elevation change estimates from repeat-track ICESat altimetry (Moholdt et al., 2010). The best results were achieved using all available ICESat data in a joint analysis where surface slope and elevation change were estimated for homogeneous planes that were fitted to the data along each track. The good performance of the plane method implies that it can also be used in other Arctic regions of similar characteristics where accurate DEMs are typically not available. We present 2003-2009 elevation change rates for the Norwegian Arctic (Svalbard), the Russian Arctic (Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya and Franz Josefs Land) and the Canadian Arctic (Queen Elizabeth Islands and Baffin Island). The glaciers and ice caps of these regions cover a total area of ~230 000 km2 which is about 30% of the world-wide glacier cover outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Most regions experience strong thinning at low elevations, while the pattern at higher elevations varies from slight thinning to slight thickening. There are also examples of local anomalous elevation changes due to unstable glacier dynamics, e.g. glacier surging. Hypsometric calculations are performed to calculate regional volume changes on a bi-annual time scale and over the entire ICESat period (2003-2009). Short-term variations in firn layer

  14. Frequency, triggering factors and possible consequences of mass movements on outlet glaciers in Iceland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saemundsson, Thorsteinn; Margeirsson, Guðbjörn

    2016-04-01

    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

  15. Glacier annual balance measurement, prediction, forecasting and climate correlations, North Cascades, Washington 1984–2006

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. S. Pelto

    2007-06-01

    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.

  16. Satellite-retrieval and modeling of glacier mass balance

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ruyter de Wildt, Martijn Sybren de

    2002-01-01

    In this research project we use satellite measurements to infer the mean specific mass balance (Bm) of glaciers. Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Europe, is being used as a test-case because this ice cap has often been studied. Only one aspect of Vatnajökull has not been investigated so far, and

  17. Educating K-12 Students about Glacier Dynamics in a Changing Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stearns, L. A.; Hamilton, G. S.

    2005-12-01

    Public awareness of climate change is growing in the United States. Popular movies, books and magazines are frequently addressing the issue of global warming - some with careful scientific research, but many with unrealistic statements. Early education about the basic principles and processes of climate change is necessary for the general public to distinguish fact from fiction. The U.S. National Science Foundation's GK-12 program (GK-12; grades K to 12) currently in its sixth year, provides an opportunity for scientific enrichment for students and their teachers at the K-12 level through collaborative pairings with science and engineering graduate students (the Fellows). The NSF GK-12 program at the University of Maine has three goals: to enrich the scientific education of the students by providing role models, expertise, and equipment that may not be accessible otherwise; to provide professional development for the teachers through curriculum enrichment and participation at science conferences; and to improve the teaching and communication skills of the Fellows. The University of Maine is one of over 100 U. S. universities participating in this program. During the 2004-05 academic year, 11 graduate and one undergraduate student Fellows, advised by University faculty members, taught at schools across the state of Maine. Fellows from, biology, earth science, ecology, engineering, food science, forestry, and marine science, and taught in their area of expertise. We created a hands-on activity for middle and high school students that describes glacier mass balance in a changing climate. The students make a glacier using glue, water and detergent ('flubber') and construct a glacier valley using plastic sheeting. Flubber behaves in mechanically similar ways to glacier ice, undergoing plastic deformation at low stresses and exhibiting brittle failure at high stresses. Students are encouraged to run several tests with different values for valley slope, glacier mass

  18. Obliquity-paced climate change recorded in Antarctic debris-covered glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackay, Sean L.; Marchant, David R.

    2017-01-01

    The degree to which debris-covered glaciers record past environmental conditions is debated. Here we describe a novel palaeoclimate archive derived from the surface morphology and internal debris within cold-based debris-covered glaciers in Antarctica. Results show that subtle changes in mass balance impart major changes in the concentration of englacial debris and corresponding surface topography, and that over the past ∼220 ka, at least, the changes are related to obliquity-paced solar radiation, manifest as variations in total summer energy. Our findings emphasize solar radiation as a significant driver of mass balance changes in high-latitude mountain systems, and demonstrate that debris-covered glaciers are among the most sensitive recorders of obliquity-paced climate variability in interior Antarctica, in contrast to most other Antarctic archives that favour eccentricity-paced forcing over the same time period. Furthermore, our results open the possibility that similar-appearing debris-covered glaciers on Mars may likewise hold clues to environmental change. PMID:28186094

  19. Obliquity-paced climate change recorded in Antarctic debris-covered glaciers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackay, Sean L; Marchant, David R

    2017-02-10

    The degree to which debris-covered glaciers record past environmental conditions is debated. Here we describe a novel palaeoclimate archive derived from the surface morphology and internal debris within cold-based debris-covered glaciers in Antarctica. Results show that subtle changes in mass balance impart major changes in the concentration of englacial debris and corresponding surface topography, and that over the past ∼220 ka, at least, the changes are related to obliquity-paced solar radiation, manifest as variations in total summer energy. Our findings emphasize solar radiation as a significant driver of mass balance changes in high-latitude mountain systems, and demonstrate that debris-covered glaciers are among the most sensitive recorders of obliquity-paced climate variability in interior Antarctica, in contrast to most other Antarctic archives that favour eccentricity-paced forcing over the same time period. Furthermore, our results open the possibility that similar-appearing debris-covered glaciers on Mars may likewise hold clues to environmental change.

  20. The response of polar glaciers to Late Holocene climate change reconstructed from terrestrial geomorphological evidence on Svalbard

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lukas, Sven; Benn, Douglas I.; Temminghoff, Maria; Boston, Clare M.; Irvine-Fynn, Tris; Porter, Philip R.; Barrand, Nick E.; Nicholson, Lindsey I.; Ross, Fionna H.; Humlum, Ole

    2010-05-01

    Arctic ice masses are likely to experience some of the most dramatic changes in the context of projected atmospheric warming. Understanding how quickly and in what form these changes will manifest themselves is important in order to be able to predict future impacts, through feedback mechanisms, on the climate at different spatial scales, ranging from local to global. In addition to this, it is also important to consider various temporal scales to obtain a longer-term perspective beyond historical and instrumental records. In order to assess modes of glacier response against this background we present results from four terrestrial glaciers on Svalbard, three of which are located in a semi-arid climate and one in a maritime setting with a humid climate. We have employed a multi-disciplinary approach comprising geomorphological mapping, sedimentological logging and analyses, process observations, differences between digital elevation models constructed for different years and DC resistivity surveys of glacier snouts and forelands to arrive at a holistic process understanding of glacier response to Late Holocene climate change and to tease apart climatic controls on their response. Our results show that the presence of debris overlying buried ice blocks and continuous glacier ice bodies in a continuous permafrost environment complicates the relationship between climatic warming and glacier response. Processes in foreland evolution are intimately linked to debris thickness and distribution on the one hand and to the evolution and reorganisation of the sub-, en- and proglacial drainage system which controls where material evacuation and thus debris-cover thinning and removal takes place. In our contribution, we will discuss the processes in detail and will develop a conceptual model that will allow the response of arctic glaciers to be placed into a wider framework that incorporates neoglacial and current times.

  1. Glaciers of Europe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Richard S.; Ferrigno, Jane G.

    1993-01-01

    ALPS: AUSTRIAN: An overview is provided on the occurrence of the glaciers in the Eastern Alps of Austria and on the climatic conditions in this area, Historical documents on the glaciers have been available since the Middle Ages. Special glaciological observations and topographic surveys of individual glaciers were initiated as early as 1846. Recent data in an inventory based on aerial photographs taken in 1969 show 925 glaciers in the Austrian Alps with a total area of 542 square kilometers. Present research topics include studies of mass and energy balance, relations of glaciers and climate, physical glaciology, a complete inventory of the glaciers, and testing of remote sensing methods. The location of the glacier areas is shown on Landsat multispectral scanner images; the improved capabilities of the Landsat thematic mapper are illustrated with an example from the Oztaler Alpen group. ALPS: SWISS: According to a glacier inventory published in 1976, which is based on aerial photography of 1973, there are 1,828 glacier units in the Swiss Alps that cover a total area of 1fl42 square kilometers. The Rhonegletscher, currently the ninth largest in the country, was one of the first to be studied in detail. Its surface has been surveyed repeatedly; velocity profiles were measured, and the fluctuations of its terminus were mapped and recorded from 1874 to 1914. Recent research on the glacier has included climatological, hydrological, and massbalance studies. Glaciological research has been conducted on various other glaciers in Switzerland concerning glacier hydrology, glacier hazards, fluctuations of glacier termini, ice mechanics, ice cores, and mass balance. Good maps are available showing the extent of glaciers from the latter decades of the 19th century. More recently, the entire country has been mapped at scales of 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:100,000, 1:200,000, and 1:500,000. The 1:25,000-scale series very accurately represents the glaciers as well as locates

  2. 20 years of mass balances on the Piloto glacier, Las Cuevas river basin, Mendoza, Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leiva, J. C.; Cabrera, G. A.; Lenzano, L. E.

    2007-10-01

    Climatic changes of the 20th century have altered the water cycle in the Andean basins of central Argentina. The most visible change is seen in the mountain glaciers, with loss of part of their mass due to decreasing thickness and a substantial recession in the last 100 years. This paper briefly describes the results of glacier mass balance research since 1979 in the Piloto Glacier at the Cajón del Rubio, in the headwaters of Las Cuevas River, presenting new results for the period 1997-2003. Very large interannual variability of net annual specific balance is evident, due largely to variations in winter snow accumulation, with a maximum net annual value of + 151 cm w.e. and a minimum value of - 230 cm w.e. Wet El Niño years are normally associated with positive net annual balances, while dry La Niña years generally result in negative balances. Within the 24-year period, 67% of the years show negative net annual specific balances, with a cumulative mass balance loss of - 10.50 m water equivalent (w.e.). Except for exceptions normally related to El Niño events, a general decreasing trend of winter snow accumulation is evident in the record, particularly after 1992, which has a strong effect in the overall negative mass balance values. The glacier contribution to Las Cuevas River runoff is analysed based on the Punta de Vacas River gauge station for a hypothetical year without snow precipitation (YWSP), when the snowmelt component is zero. Extremely dry years similar to a YWSP have occurred in 1968-1969, 1969-1970 and 1996-1997. The Punta de Vacas gauge station is located 62 km downstream from Piloto Glacier, and the basin contains 3.0% of uncovered glacier ice and 3.7% of debris-covered ice. The total glacier contribution to Las Cuevas River discharge is calculated as 82 ± 8% during extremely dry years. If glacier wastage continues at the present trend as observed during the last 2 decades, it will severely affect the water resources in the arid central Andes of

  3. Recent accelerating mass loss of southeast Tibetan glaciers and the relationship with changes in macroscale atmospheric circulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Wei; Guo, Xiaofeng; Yao, Tandong; Zhu, Meilin; Wang, Yongjie

    2016-08-01

    The mass balance history (1980-2010) of a monsoon-dominated glacier in the southeast Tibetan Plateau is reconstructed using an energy balance model and later interpreted with regard to macroscale atmospheric variables. The results show that this glacier is characterized by significant interannual mass fluctuations over the past three decades, with a remarkably high mass loss during the recent period of 2003-2010. Analysis of the relationships between glacier mass balance and climatic variables shows that interannual temperature variability in the monsoonal season (June-September) is a primary driver of its mass balance fluctuations, but monsoonal precipitation tends to play an accentuated role for driving the observed glacier mass changes due to their covariation (concurrence of warm/dry and cold/wet climates) in the monsoon-influenced southeast Tibetan Plateau. Analysis of the atmospheric circulation pattern reveals that the predominance of anticyclonic/cyclonic circulations prevailing in the southeastern/northern Tibetan Plateau during 2003-2010 contributes to increased air temperature and decreased precipitation in the southeast Tibetan Plateau. Regionally contrasting atmospheric circulations explain the distinct mass changes between in the monsoon-influenced southeast Tibetan Plateau and in the north Tibetan Plateau/Tien Shan Mountains during 2003-2010. The macroscale climate change seems to be linked with the Europe-Asia teleconnection.

  4. Point measurements of surface mass balance, Eklutna Glacier, Alaska, 2008-2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sass, Louis; Loso, Michael G; Geck, Jason

    2017-01-01

    This data set consists of a time-series of direct measurements of glacier surface mass balance, at Eklutna Glacier, Alaska. It includes seasonal measurements of winter snow accumulation and summer snow and ice ablation.

  5. Surface mass balance reanalysis of Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers, Alaska: 1946-2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNeil, Christopher

    We reanalyzed geodetic and glaciological surface mass balance records of Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers for the period 1946--2015 to determine what has driven the contradictory behavior of these glaciers. During the past century, Taku Glacier has been increasing in area and mass, while Lemon Creek Glacier has simultaneously shrunk in area and mass. Between 1948 and 1999 geodetic mass balance rates are +0.33+/-0.34 m w.e. a--1 for Taku Glacier and 0.61+/-0.34 m w.e. a--1 for Lemon Creek Glacier. Geodetic mass balance rates decreased to +0.01+/-0.23 m w.e. a--1 and --0.65 +/-0.23 m w.e. a--1 for Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers respectively, between 1999 and 2013. We updated the glaciological analysis of annual field data, and found no significant difference between updated and previous annual mass balance solutions (p--value Lemon Creek Glacier record. Comparing mass balance anomalies we determined inter--annual variability of surface mass balance is the same for Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers. However, differences in glacier specific hypsometry and mass balance profile drive systematic differences in both annual and long--term glacier mass balance rates.

  6. Temporal and spatial changes of Laika Glacier, Canadian Arctic, since 1959, inferred from satellite remote sensing and mass-balance modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huss, Matthias; Stöckli, Reto; Kappenberger, Giovanni; Blatter, Heinz

    The retreat of Laika Glacier (4.4 km2), part of a small ice cap situated on Coburg Island, Canadian Arctic Archipelago, is analyzed using field data, satellite remote sensing and mass-balance modelling. We present a methodology for merging various data types and numerical models and investigate the temporal and spatial changes of a remote glacier during the past five decades. A glacier mass-balance and surface-evolution model is run for the period 1959-2006, forced with in situ weather observations and climate re-analysis data (ERA-40, NARR). The model is calibrated using the ice-volume change observed between 1959 and 1971, and measured seasonal mass balances. Calculated glacier surface elevation is validated against ICESat GLAS altimeter data and ASTER-derived elevation. Landsat-derived glacier outlines are used to validate calculated ice extent. The piedmont tongue of Laika Glacier has retreated considerably and is in a state of disintegration. The modelled glacier mass balance between 1959 and 2006 was -0.41 m w.e.a-1, on average. Model results indicate a significant trend towards higher mass-balance gradients. A complete wastage of Laika Glacier by 2100 is predicted by model runs based on climate scenarios.

  7. Reconstructing glacier-based climates of LGM Europe and Russia – Part 3: Comparison with GCM and pollen-based climate reconstructions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. J. Payne

    2007-10-01

    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.

  8. Simulating the Hydrological Response of Rock Glaciers to Climate Change with GEOtop

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apaloo, J.; Brenning, A.; Gruber, S.

    2013-05-01

    Rock glaciers are creeping bodies of ice-rich permafrost typical in cold high-mountain environments. In the arid and semi-arid Andes, and presumably other dry high-mountain areas, rock glaciers are considered more significant than glaciers as a water resource. The active layer of rock glaciers, and other seasonally frozen ground, in more temperate high-mountain climates may also represent an important contribution to summer baseflow in lowland rivers. The multi-decadal evolution of rock glacier permafrost and its relationship to climate is largely unknown and presents a massive challenge to assess in-situ due to limited spatial and temporal observations, the resource-intensity of geophysical observation, and lack of meteorological observation in most rock glaciers areas. As a step in addressing these knowledge gaps, this work simulates a rock glacier based on the Murtel-Corvatsch rock glacier in the Upper Engadin, Switzerland - the most intensively studied rock glacier in the world. Three decades of high-quality hourly climate data are used to generate 50 year time-series of synthetic meteorological observations with the Advanced WEather GENerator (AWE-GEN) under the observed climate and 8 additional climate change scenarios. One-dimensional simulations of rock glaciers are conducted with the combined hydrological and energy balance model GEOtop, which is forced by the synthetic meteorological data. The experimental approach consists of three parts: 1) establishing a realistic rock glacier model under the observed climate, 2) subjecting the rock glacier to meteorological forcing from climate change scenarios, and 3) testing the sensitivity of the model to input parameters. For the mountain cryosphere community and many lowland populations around the world, this work represents an important outcome in developing the understanding and methodologies pertaining to the role of seasonal ice and permafrost in the hydrological cycle of high mountain watersheds.

  9. The Mass Balance of Glacier No. 1 at the Headwaters of the Urumqi River in Relation to Northern Hemisphere Teleconnection Patterns

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Feifei Yuan

    2016-03-01

    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.

  10. Mass loss of Greenland's glaciers and ice caps 2003-2008 revealed from ICES at laser altimetry data

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bolch, T.; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Simonsen, Sebastian Bjerregaard;

    2013-01-01

    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...

  11. Glacier-derived climate for the Younger Dryas in Europe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pellitero, Ramon; Rea, Brice R.; Spagnolo, Matteo; Hughes, Philip; Braithwaite, Roger; Renssen, Hans; Ivy-Ochs, Susan; Ribolini, Adriano; Bakke, Jostein; Lukas, Sven

    2016-04-01

    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

  12. Greenland surface mass-balance observations from the ice-sheet ablation area and local glaciers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Machguth, Horst; Thomsen, Henrik H.; Weidick, Anker;

    2016-01-01

    Glacier surface mass-balance measurements on Greenland started more than a century ago, but no compilation exists of the observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. Such data could be used in the evaluation of modelled surface mass balance, or to document changes...... in glacier melt independently from model output. Here, we present a comprehensive database of Greenland glacier surface mass-balance observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. The database spans the 123 a from 1892 to 2015, contains a total of similar to 3000 measurements from...

  13. Greenland surface mass-balance observations from the ice-sheet ablation area and local glaciers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Machguth, Horst; Thomsen, Henrik H.; Weidick, Anker

    2016-01-01

    in glacier melt independently from model output. Here, we present a comprehensive database of Greenland glacier surface mass-balance observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. The database spans the 123 a from 1892 to 2015, contains a total of similar to 3000 measurements from......Glacier surface mass-balance measurements on Greenland started more than a century ago, but no compilation exists of the observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. Such data could be used in the evaluation of modelled surface mass balance, or to document changes...

  14. Reconciling high-altitude precipitation in the upper Indus basin with glacier mass balances and runoff

    Science.gov (United States)

    Immerzeel, Walter; Wanders, Niko; Lutz, Arthur; Shea, Joseph; Bierkens, Marc

    2016-04-01

    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.

  15. Modeling mass balance and volume of Xiao Dongkemadi glacier in the Central Tibetan Plateau from 1989 to 2050

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duan, K.

    2015-12-01

    The Tibetan Plateau (TP) holds ten thousands of alpine glaciers in mid-latitude, which have shrunk with an accelerating retreat rate recently. Here, we applied a temperature-index distributed mass-balance model coupled with a volume-area scaling method to Xiao Dongkemadi Glacier (XDG) in the central TP, to assess its response to climate change. The result shows the simulated mass balance is in a good agreement with observations (R2=0.75, p<0.001) during the period of 1989-2012. The simulated mean annual mass balance (-213 mm w.e.) is close to the observation (-233 mm w.e.), indicating the model can be used to estimate the glacier variation in the future. Then the model was forced by the output of RegCM4 under the climate scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 from 2013 to 2050. The simulated terminus elevation of the glacier will rise from 5454m a.s.l. in 2013 to 5533m a.s.l. (RCP4.5) and 5543m a.s.l (RCP8.5) in 2050. XDG will lose its volume with an increasing rate of 600-700m3 a-1 during the period of 1989-2050, indicating the melting water will enhance the river runoff. But for the long term, the contribution to the river runoff will decrease for shrinkage of glacier scale.

  16. Glaciers

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Philip Hughes

    2006-01-01

    @@ This book is the second and expanded volume of Glaciers, the first published in 1992.The second edition contains four more chapters and the whole text has been fully revised.The book is divided into sixteen chapters logically progressing from an outline of ice on Earth through various chapters detailing the nature of glaciers and their environments supported by an array of magnificent colour photographs and examples.

  17. Cloud effects on the surface energy and mass balance of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. P. Conway

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available A thorough understanding of the influence of clouds on glacier surface energy balance (SEB and surface mass balance (SMB is critical for forward and backward modelling of glacier–climate interactions. A validated 22 month time series of SEB/SMB was constructed for the ablation zone of the Brewster Glacier, 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 the minimal change in air temperature and wind speed. During overcast conditions, positive net longwave 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 the occurrence of precipitation, which enabled a strong accumulation–albedo feedback. During the spring and autumn seasons, the sensitivity during overcast conditions was strongest. There is a need to include the effects of atmospheric moisture (vapour, cloud and precipitation on melt processes when modelling glacier–climate interactions.

  18. Estimation of glacier mass balance: An approach based on satellite-derived transient snowlines and a temperature index driven by meteorological observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tawde, S. A.; Kulkarni, A. V.; Bala, G.

    2015-12-01

    In the Himalaya, large area is comprised of glaciers and seasonal snow, mainly due to its high elevated mountain ranges. Long term and continuous assessment of glaciers in this region is important for climatological and hydrological applications. However, rugged terrains and severe weather conditions in the Himalaya lead to paucity in field observations. Therefore, in recent decades, glacier dynamics are extensively monitored using remote sensing in inaccessible terrain like Himalaya. Estimation of glacier mass balance using empirical relationship between mass balance and area accumulation ratio (AAR) requires an accurate estimate of equilibrium-line altitude (ELA). ELA is defined as the snowline at the end of the hydrological year. However, identification of ELA, using remote sensing is difficult because of temporal gaps, cloud cover and intermediate snowfall on glaciers. This leads to large uncertainty in glacier mass-balance estimates by the conventional AAR method that uses satellite-derived highest snowline in ablation season as an ELA. The present study suggests a new approach to improve estimates of ELA location. First, positions of modelled snowlines are optimized using satellite-derived snowlines in the early melt season. Secondly, ELA at the end of the glaciological year is estimated by the melt and accumulation models driven using in situ temperature and precipitation records. From the modelled ELA, mass balance is estimated using the empirical relationship between AAR and mass balance. The modelled mass balance is validated using field measurements on Chhota Shigri and Hamtah glaciers, Himachal Pradesh, India. The new approach shows a substantial improvement in glacier mass-balance estimation, reducing bias by 46% and 108% for Chhota Shigiri and Hamtah glaciers respectively. The cumulative mass loss reconstructed from our approach is 0.85 Gt for nine glaciers in the Chandra basin from 2001 to 2009. The result of the present study is in agreement with

  19. Extracting a climate signal from 169 glacier records

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    2005-01-01

    I constructed a temperature history for different parts of the world from 169 glacier length records. Using a first-order theory of glacier dynamics, I related changes in glacier length to changes in temperature. The derived temperature histories are fully independent of proxy and instrumental data

  20. Holocene record of glacier variability from lake sediments reveals tripartite climate history for Svalbard

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Bilt, Willem; Bakke, Jostein; Vasskog, Kristian; D`Andrea, William; Bradley, Raymond; Olafsdottir, Sædis

    2016-04-01

    The Arctic is responding sensitively to ongoing global climate change, warming and moistening faster than any other region on the planet. Holocene proxy paleoclimate time series are increasingly used to put this amplified response in perspective by understanding Arctic climate processes beyond the instrumental period. Glaciers rapidly respond to climate shifts as demonstrated by their current demise around the world. This response has a composite climate signature, marked by shifts in hydroclimate (winter precipitation) as well as (summer) temperature. Attendant changes in glacier size are recorded by variations in glacigenic rock flour that may be deposited in downstream lakes. Here, we present a Holocene reconstruction of glacier activity, based on sediments from Hajeren, a glacier-fed lake on northwest Spitsbergen in the High Arctic Svalbard archipelago. Owing to undisturbed sediments and robust age control, we could resolve variability on a sub-centennial scale. To ensure the accurate detection of glacier activity, we applied a toolbox of physical, magnetic and geochemical proxies in conjunction with multivariate statistics. Our findings indicate a three-stage Holocene climate history for Svalbard, driving by melt water pulses, episodic Atlantic cooling and a decline in orbitally driven summer insolation. Correspondence between inferred advances, including a Holocene glacier maximum around 9.5 ka BP, suggests forcing by the melting LIS during the Early Holocene. Following a late Holocene Thermal Maximum around 7.4 ka BP, glaciers disappeared from the catchment. Glaciers reformed around 4.2 ka BP during the regional onset of the Neoglacial, supporting previous findings. This transition did, however, not mark the onset of persistent glacier activity in the catchment, but a series of centennial-scale cycles of growth and decay, including events around 3.3 and 1.1 ka BP. As orbitally driven insolation declined towards the present, the glaciation threshold

  1. Dynamics and mass balance of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica: 3. State of mass balance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavanaugh, J. L.; Cuffey, K. M.; Morse, D. L.; Bliss, A. K.; Aciego, S. M.

    2009-11-01

    Taylor Glacier flows from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and terminates in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, where it has left a geomorphologic record of past incursions. Here we use new data on the flow, thickness, and surface balance of Taylor Glacier to calculate ice fluxes and assess the current state of mass balance. Overall, the glacier is close to a state of zero net balance, and has largely adjusted to reduced snowfall on the Taylor Dome source region in the mid Holocene. One region of the upper ablation zone appears to be losing mass. Evidence from ice surface morphology and stable isotope profiles suggests that this mass loss is a long-term phenomenon, hence probably a lingering response to the earlier drying of Taylor Dome. Our data give a general indication of the size of ablation or accumulation changes needed for ice to advance far into Taylor Valley, as occurred 70 to 130 ka ago.

  2. Estimating the avalanche contribution to the mass balance of debris covered glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Banerjee

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available 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 and estimate the magnitude of the avalanche accumulation to its specific mass balance profile. Our estimate explains the reported discrepancy between values of recent glaciological and geodetic net mass balance for this glacier. Model estimate of accumulation area ratio (AAR for this glacier is small (0.1 even at a steady state. This shows that empirical mass balance–AAR relationships derived from glaciers which do not have a significant avalanche contribution will not apply to a large region containing a significant fraction avalanche fed ones.

  3. Sensitivity of Glaciers and Small Ice Caps to Greehouse Warming

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.; Fortuin, J.P.F.

    1992-01-01

    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 fo

  4. Mass balance and surface velocity reconstructions of two reference Caucasus glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rybak, Oleg; Kaminskaia, Mariia; Kutuzov, Stanislav; Lavrentiev, Ivan; Morozova, Polina; Popovnin, Victor; Rybak, Elena

    2016-04-01

    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

  5. The changing impact of snow conditions and refreezing on the mass balance of an idealized Svalbard glacier

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Pelt, Ward; Pohjola, Veijo; Reijmer, Carleen

    2016-11-01

    Glacier surface melt and runoff depend strongly on seasonal and perennial snow (firn) conditions. Not only does the presence of snow and firn directly affect melt rates by reflecting solar radiation, it may also act as a buffer against mass loss by storing melt water in refrozen or liquid form. In Svalbard, ongoing and projected amplified climate change with respect to the global mean change has severe implications for the state of snow and firn and its impact on glacier mass loss. Model experiments with a coupled surface energy balance - firn model were done to investigate the surface mass balance and the changing role of snow and firn conditions for an idealized Svalbard glacier. A climate forcing for the past, present and future (1984-2104) is constructed, based on observational data from Svalbard Airport and a seasonally dependent projection scenario. Results illustrate ongoing and future firn degradation in response to an elevational retreat of the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) of 31 m decade-1. The temperate firn zone is found to retreat and expand, while cold ice in the ablation zone warms considerably. In response to pronounced winter warming and an associated increase in winter rainfall, the current prevalence of refreezing during the melt season gradually shifts to the winter season in a future climate. Sensitivity tests reveal that in a present and future climate the density and thermodynamic structure of Svalbard glaciers are heavily influenced by refreezing. Refreezing acts as a net buffer against mass loss. However, the net mass balance change after refreezing is substantially smaller than the amount of refreezing itself, which can be ascribed to melt-enhancing effects after refreezing, which partly offset the primary mass-retaining effect of refreezing.

  6. The changing impact of snow conditions and refreezing on the mass balance of an idealized Svalbard glacier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ward Van Pelt

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Glacier surface melt and runoff depend strongly on seasonal and perennial snow (firn conditions. Not only does the presence of snow and firn directly affect melt rates by reflecting solar radiation, it may also act as a buffer against mass loss by storing melt water in refrozen or liquid form. In Svalbard, ongoing and projected amplified climate change with respect to the global mean change has severe implications for the state of snow and firn and its impact on glacier mass loss. Model experiments with a coupled surface energy balance - firn model were done to investigate the surface mass balance and the changing role of snow and firn conditions for an idealized Svalbard glacier. A climate forcing for the past, present and future (1984-2104 is constructed, based on observational data from Svalbard Airport and a seasonally dependent projection scenario. Results illustrate ongoing and future firn degradation in response to an elevational retreat of the equilibrium line altitude (ELA of 31 m decade−1. The temperate firn zone is found to retreat and expand, while cold ice in the ablation zone warms considerably. In response to pronounced winter warming and an associated increase in winter rainfall, the current prevalence of refreezing during the melt season gradually shifts to the winter season in a future climate. Sensitivity tests reveal that in a present and future climate the density and thermodynamic structure of Svalbard glaciers are heavily influenced by refreezing. Refreezing acts as a net buffer against mass loss. However, the net mass balance change after refreezing is substantially smaller than the amount of refreezing itself, which can be ascribed to melt-enhancing effects after refreezing, which partly offset the primary mass-retaining effect of refreezing.

  7. Greenland surface mass-balance observations from the ice-sheet ablation area and local glaciers

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Machguth, Horst; Thomsen, Henrik H.; Weidick, Anker; Ahlstrøm, Andreas P.; Abermann, Jakob; Andersen, Morten L.; Andersen, Signe B.; Bjørk, Anders A.; Box, Jason E.; Braithwaite, Roger J.; Bøggild, Carl E.; Citterio, Michele; Clement, Poul; Colgan, William; Fausto, Robert S.; Gleie, Karin; Gubler, Stefanie; Hasholt, Bent; Hynek, Bernhard; Knudsen, Niels T.; Larsen, Signe H.; Mernild, Sebastian H.; Oerlemans, Johannes; Oerter, Hans; Olesen, Ole B.; Smeets, C. J P Paul; Steffen, Konrad; Stober, Manfred; Sugiyama, Shin; Van As, Dirk; Van Den Broeke, Michiel R.; Van De Wal, Roderik S W

    2016-01-01

    Glacier surface mass-balance measurements on Greenland started more than a century ago, but no compilation exists of the observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. Such data could be used in the evaluation of modelled surface mass balance, or to document changes in glac

  8. Greenland surface mass-balance observations from the ice-sheet ablation area and local glaciers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Machguth, Horst; Thomsen, Henrik; Weidick, Anker;

    2016-01-01

    Glacier surface mass-balance measurements on Greenland started more than a century ago, but no compilation exists of the observations from the ablation area of the ice sheet and local glaciers. Such data could be used in the evaluation of modelled surface mass balance, or to document changes in g...

  9. Observation-Based Estimates of Global Glacier Mass Change and Its Contribution to Sea-Level Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marzeion, B.; Champollion, N.; Haeberli, W.; Langley, K.; Leclercq, P.; Paul, F.

    2016-11-01

    Glaciers have strongly contributed to sea-level rise during the past century and will continue to be an important part of the sea-level budget during the twenty-first century. Here, we review the progress in estimating global glacier mass change from in situ measurements of mass and length changes, remote sensing methods, and mass balance modeling driven by climate observations. For the period before the onset of satellite observations, different strategies to overcome the uncertainty associated with monitoring only a small sample of the world's glaciers have been developed. These methods now yield estimates generally reconcilable with each other within their respective uncertainty margins. Whereas this is also the case for the recent decades, the greatly increased number of estimates obtained from remote sensing reveals that gravimetry-based methods typically arrive at lower mass loss estimates than the other methods. We suggest that strategies for better interconnecting the different methods are needed to ensure progress and to increase the temporal and spatial detail of reliable glacier mass change estimates.

  10. Reconstructing mass balance of Garabashi Glacier (1800–2005 using dendrochronological data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. A. Dolgova

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The exploration whether tree-ring data can be effectually applied for the mass balance reconstruction in Caucasus was the main goal of this research. Tree-ring width and maximum density chronologies of pine (Pinus sylvestris L. at seven high-elevation sites in Northern Caucasus were explored for this purpose. As well as in other places of the temperate zone tree- ring width has complex climate signal controlled both temperature and precipitation. Instrumental mass balance records of Garabashi Gglacier started at 1983s. It is well known that Caucasus glaciers intensively retreat in the last decades and according to instrumental data mass balance variations are mostly controlled by the ablation, i.e. summer temperature variations. Maximum density chronology has statistically significant correlation with mass balance due to summer temperature sensitivity and great input of ablation to total mass balance variations. To include in our reconstruction different climatically sensitive parameters, stepwise multiple regression model was used. The strongest relation (r = 0.88; r2 = 0.78; p < 0.05 between two ring-width and one maximum density chronologies was identified. Cross-validation test (r = 0.79; r2 = 0.62; p < 0.05 confirmed model adequacy and it allowed to reconstruct Garabashi Glacier mass balance for 1800–2005ss. Reconstructed and instrumental mass balance values coincide well except the most recent period in 2000s, when the reconstructed mass balance slightly underestimated the real values. However even in this period it remained negative as well as the instrumental records. The bias can be explained by the weak sensitivity of the chronologies to winter precipitation (i.e. accumulation. The tree-ring based mass balance reconstruction was compared with one based on meteorological data (since 1905s. Both reconstructions have good interannual agreement (r = 0.53; p < 0.05 particularly for the period between 1975 and 2005. According to the

  11. Isotopic and chemical analyses of a temperate firn core from a Chinese alpine glacier and its regional climatic significance

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Mt. Yulong is the southernmost currently glacier-covered area in Eurasia, including China. There are 19 sub-tropical temperate glaciers on the mountain, controlled by the south-western monsoon climate. In the summer of 1999, a firn core, 10. 10 m long, extending down to glacier ice, was recovered in the accumulation area of the largest glacier, Baishui No. 1. Periodic variations of climatic signals above 7. 8 m depth were apparent, and net accumulation of four years was identified by the annual oscillations of isotopic and ionic composition. The boundaries of annual accumulation were confirmed by higher values of electrical conductivity and pH, and by dirty refreezing ice layers at the levels of summer surfaces. Calculated mean annual net accumulation from 1994/1995 to 1997/1998 was about 900 mm water equivalent. The amplitude of isotopic variations in the profile decreased with increasing depth, and isotopic homogenization occurred below 7. 8 m as a result of meltwater percolation. Variations of δ18O above 7. 8 m showed an approximate correlation with the winter climatic trend at Li Jiang Station, 25 km away. Concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ were much higher than those of Na+ and K+ , indicating that the air masses for precipitation were mainly from a continental source, and that the core material accumulated during the winter period. The close correspondence of C1- and Na+ indicated their common origin. Very low concentrations of SO2-4 and NO3- suggest that pollution caused by human activities is quite low in the area. The mean annual net accumulation in the core and the estimated ablation indicate that the average annual precipitation above the glacier's equilibrium line is 2400 - 3150 mm, but this needs to be confirmed by long term observation of mass balance.

  12. Dramatic mass loss in extreme high-elevation areas of a western Himalayan glacier: observations and modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Huabiao; Yang, Wei; Yao, Tandong; Tian, Lide; Xu, Baiqing

    2016-08-01

    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.

  13. Comparative analysis of two hydrological models with different glacier parameterisations for climate impact assessment and water resources management in the Syrdarya Basin, Central Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gafurov, Abror; Duethmann, Doris; Agaltseva, Natalya; Merkushkin, Alexander; Pak, Alexander; Kriegel, David; Huss, Matthias; Güntner, Andreas; Merz, Bruno; Unger-Shayesteh, Katy; Mannig, Birgit; Paeth, Heiko; Vorogushyn, Sergiy

    2014-05-01

    Central Asian river basins in general and zones of run-off formation in particular are currently experiencing the impact of increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation. The headwaters thus exhibit negative glacier mass balances, decreasing glacierisation, changes in snow cover characteristics and changing runoff response. These changes are likely to intensify in future under the changing climate. Both hydropower industry and irrigated agriculture in the downstream areas strongly depend on the water amount, its seasonal and long-term distribution. This fact calls for an effort to reliably assess water availability in the runoff formation zone of Central Asia in order to improve water management policy in the region. One of the approaches to assessment of water resources is the evaluation of climate scenarios with the climate-and-hydrology model chain. Application of several models allows reducing the modeling uncertainty and proceeding with more robust water balance components assessment. We present the comparison of the two hydrological models AISHF (Automated Information System for Hydrological Forecasting) developed at the Centre for Hydrometeorology of Uzbekistan and WASA run at GFZ Potsdam, implemented for the Naryn and Karadarya basins (Syrdarya). These models use different parameterization and calibration schemes. Whereas in the AISHF model glacier dynamics is considered in scenarios of glacier area loss, the WASA model simulates continuous glacier mass balance, glacier area and volume evolution based on meteorological drivers. Consideration of initial glacier volume and its temporal dynamics can be essential for climate impact assessment in transient model simulations. The impact of climate change scenarios, developed with the regional climate model REMO at the University of Würzburg, are compared with respect to total discharge dynamics and runoff contributions from glacier, snowmelt and rainfall. Implications of water availability assessment

  14. Glacier variations and climate warming and drying in the central Himalayas

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    REN Jiawen; QIN Dahe; KANG Shichang; HOU Shugui; PU Jianchen; JING Zhefan

    2004-01-01

    Repeat measurements of glacier terminus positions show that glaciers in the central Himalayas have been in a continuous retreat situation in the past decades. The average retreat rate is 5.5-8.7 m/a in Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) since the 1960s and 6.4 m/a in Mt. Xixiabangma since the 1980s. In recent years, the retreat rate is increasing. Ice core studies revealed that the accumulation rate of glaciers has a fluctuating decrease trend in the last century with a rapid decrease in the 1960s and a relatively steady low value afterwards. Meteorological station record indicates that the annual mean temperature has a slow increase trend but summer temperature had a larger increase in the past 30 a. All these suggest that the glacier retreat results from precipitation decrease in combination with temperature increase, and hence glacier shrinkage in this region will speed up if the climatic warming and drying continues.

  15. Modeling the variation trends of glacier systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Z. Xie

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The basic principles and methods for a functional glacier systems model are introduced and applied for glaciers of Northwest China. When running the model we assume that a glacier system is under steady state conditions in the initial year. The median size of a glacier system is used as representative for the system. The curve of glacier area distribution against elevation is used to compute the increase in equilibrium line altitude (ELA, and the annual glacier ablation is calculated using a global formula a = 1.33(9.66 + ts².⁸⁵ [4, p. 96]. The net mass balance near the ELA under steady state conditions represents the net mass balance of the whole glacier system, and the time required for glacier runoff to return to the initial year level is calculated according to the law of glacier runoff variation, and used to calculate the variation of glacier area. The variation of glacier runoff is modeled according to ablation at the ELA, and the variation of glacier volume is modeled according to the absolute value of the mass balance. The observed changes in surveyed glaciers in China over recent decades were broadly consistent with predictions of the glacier system model. The model therefore offers a reliable method for the prediction of changes in glacier systems in response to changing climate.

  16. Exploring uncertainty in glacier mass balance modelling with Monte Carlo simulation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Machguth, H.; Purves, R.S.; Oerlemans, J.; Hoelzle, M.; Paul, F.

    2008-01-01

    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 tun

  17. The equilibrium flow and mass balance of the Taku Glacier, Alaska 1950–2006

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. F. Sprenke

    2008-05-01

    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.

  18. Air temperature variability over three glaciers in the Ortles-Cevedale (Italian Alps): effects of glacier disintegration, intercomparison of calculation methods, and impacts on mass balance modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carturan, L.; Cazorzi, F.; De Blasi, F.; Dalla Fontana, G.

    2014-12-01

    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-size glaciers so far, while observations on smaller ice bodies are scarce. Using a dataset from 8 on-glacier and 4 off-glacier weather stations, collected in summer 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 disintegration. None of the methods proposed in the literature for calculating on-glacier temperature from off-glacier data fully reproduced our observations. Among them, the more physically-based procedure of Greuell and Böhm (1998) provided the best overall results where the KBL prevail, 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.

  19. Mass Change of Glaciers in Muztag Ata-Kongur Tagh, Eastern Pamir, China from 1971/76 to 2013/14 as Derived from Remote Sensing Data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Zhen; Liu, Shiyin; Wei, Junfeng; Xu, Junli; Guo, Wanqin; Bao, Weijia; Jiang, Zongli

    2016-01-01

    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.

  20. Glacier mass balance in high-arctic areas with anomalous gravity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharov, A.; Rieser, D.; Nikolskiy, D.

    2012-04-01

    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

  1. On the 'real' mass loss of some surging glaciers in the central Karakoram

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, Frank

    2016-04-01

    Several assessments of the mass changes of surging glaciers in the central Karakoram (and elsewhere) have shown near-zero changes over the typically decadal-long observation periods. This is in line with the theory that during a surge mass from a reservoir area is moved down-glacier to a receiving area with limited overall change. The resulting elevation changes of the glacier surface as determined by differencing DEMs from two points in time show a typical pattern (decreasing at higher, increasing at lower elevations) with a possible strong frontal advance (km scale) of the terminus. However, this is only half of the story as the observed mass gain at lower elevations is ultimately also a loss. This loss can only be determined when it is calculated separately and when sufficiently precise DEMs from the beginning and the end of a surge are available for each individual glacier. As the latter are hard to obtain, this study presents a simplified geomorphometric approach to approximate a potential maximum surge volume for 20 glaciers with a channel-like glacier fore field. By assuming a semi-elliptical cross-section of the channels, simple measurements of their average width, height and length in Google Earth provide the volume. Further glacier-specific parameters are taken from a recently compiled glacier inventory (area, slope) and Google Earth (minimum length and highest/lowest elevations) to obtain characteristics such as elevation ranges and volume. The average annual specific volume loss for each glacier is then determined by dividing the calculated surge volumes by the respective glacier area and the duration of a full surge cycle (obtained in a previous study). Which glacier area (minimum?) and surge duration (only the active phase?) have to be taken for this calculation is likely a matter of debate. With surge distances between about 1 and 5 km and channel widths (heights) between 300 and 700 (50 and 125) m, the surge volumes vary between 15 and 250 (mean 80

  2. Influence of high-order mechanics on simulation of glacier response to climate change: insights from Haig Glacier, Canadian Rocky Mountains

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Adhikari

    2013-04-01

    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.

  3. A possible climate signal in the surface morphology and internal structure of Galena Creek Rock Glacier, Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petersen, Eric; Holt, John; Levy, Joseph; Stuurman, Cassie; Nerozzi, Stefano; Cardenas, Benjamin; Pharr, James; Aylward, Dan; Schmidt, Logan; Hoey, William; Prem, Parvathy; Rambo, Jackie; Lim, YeJin; Maharaj, Kian

    2016-04-01

    intersected the surface at 15-35 degrees at each ridge. Each of these reflectors is interpreted to be a debris band similar to the one observed in the thermokarst pond. These debris bands are hypothesized to represent climatic "tree rings:" they are formed in interglacial periods as rockfall accumulates and preserves underlying ice and then buried by subsequent ice deposition in the accumulation zone during positive mass balance periods. The up-glacier dip is the 2D expression of "nested spoons" morphology, expected from glacier flow. The potential connections between surface ridge morphology, englacial debris bands, and regional climate-driven ice accumulation make GCRG a prime candidate for further investigation.

  4. Mass balance of Nef glacier (Patagonia) by means of laser altimetry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopez, P.; Casassa, G.; Wendt, J.; Wendt, A.; Delclaux, F.

    2009-04-01

    Glaciers of Southern Patagonia Icefield (SPI) and Northern Patagonia Icefield (NPI) have shown an enhanced wasting and an increased melting in recent decades, mainly in reaction to regional warming. In consequence, water resources originating from those glaciers are also affected by their negative mass balance. Mass balance measurements provide information about the mass changes of both the accumulation and the ablation zones. A main limitation in attempting estimations of glacier mass balance of the NPI (4,197 km²) and the SPI (13,000 km²) is the difficulty in performing field observations, particularly within the accumulation areas, largely because of unfavourable meteorological conditions as well as the limitations due to the large size of the icefields. There is thus a need for carrying out detailed analyses of individual representative glaciers in Patagonia, covering both the ablation and accumulation areas. The Nef Glacier (138 km² in February 2005), is one of the largest and most representative glaciers of the eastern side of the NPI. During the last century it has been retreating and losing mass, and its evolution has been similar to other large glaciers of the NPI. Moreover, the Nef River is one of the most important tributaries of the Baker River, the largest drainage basin in the region and the river with the highest discharge in Chile. In this paper we present results of mass balance (2008 - 2009) of Nef glacier estimated using the geodetic method, where Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of the glacier constructed at different dates are compared. The DEMs have been constructed using data from airborne laser altimetry with CECS Airborne Laser Scanner (Wendt et al., 2008), which has the advantage over airborne photogrammetry that it involves less data processing and practically no ground control, yielding excellent sub-meter precision.

  5. Thermal and Hydrological Response of Rock Glaciers to Climate Change: A Scenario Based Simulation Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apaloo, Jotham; Brenning, Alexander; Gruber, Stephan

    2014-05-01

    Rock glaciers are ice-debris landforms characterized by creeping ice-rich permafrost. Recognition of their hydrological significance is increasing and is of particular relevance to the dry Andes, where rock glaciers cover greater area than glaciers. However, additional knowledge and research approaches pertaining to the seasonal hydrological contributions and climatic sensitivities of rock glaciers are necessary for improved water resource planning in many regions around the world. This work explores the utility of the energy and water balance model GEOtop to quantify the thermal and hydrological response of rock glaciers to climate scenarios. Weather data was generated with the intermediate-stochastic weather generator AWE-GEN for a site in the Southeast Swiss Alps, which marked a novel approach in cryospheric studies. Weather data for a reference scenario was generated which approximates conditions during the observation period (1985-2012). AWE-GEN produced time series of weather data for the reference scenario with statistical properties of precipitation in close agreement with observations, but air temperature showed substantial negative biases in summer months, which are attributed to difficulties in modeling local climatic characteristics. To examine the influence of climate change, data for eight climate change scenarios were generated by specifying change factors for mean monthly air temperature. The thermal and hydrological evolution of rock glacier soils were simulated for 50 years under the climatic forcing of the reference scenario followed by 50 years under each climate change scenario. Mean annual ground surface temperature (MAGST), active layer depth, permafrost total ice content, and the potential summer runoff contribution were quantified and compared before and after the onset of the climate change conditions. Air temperature increases in the climate change scenarios were amplified in MAGST. Stable rock glacier points were resistant to changes in

  6. Mass balance, runoff and surges of Bering Glacier, Alaska

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W. Tangborn

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available The historical net, ablation and accumulation daily balances, as well as runoff of Bering Glacier, Alaska are determined for the 1951–2011 period with the PTAA (precipitation-temperature-area-altitude model, using daily precipitation and temperature observations collected at the Cordova and Yakutat weather stations, together with the area-altitude distribution of the glacier. The model mean annual balance for this 61 yr period is −0.6 m w.e., the accumulation balance is +1.4 and the ablation balance is −2.0 m w.e. Average annual runoff is 2.5 m w.e. Periodic surges of this glacier transport large volumes of ice to lower elevations where the ablation rate is higher, producing more negative balances and increasing runoff. Runoff from Bering Glacier (derived from simulated ablation and precipitation as rain is highly correlated with four of the glacier surges that have occurred since 1951. Ice volume loss for the 1972–2003 period measured with the PTAA model is 2.7 km3 w.e. a−1 and closely agrees with losses for the same period measured with the geodetic method. It is proposed that the timing and magnitude of daily snow accumulation and runoff, both of which are controlled by the glacier's area-altitude distribution and are calculated with the PTAA model, can be used to determine the probability that a glacier will surge.

  7. Decadal to seasonal evolution of small debris-covered glaciers in permafrost environments in relation to their internal structure and climatic factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bosson, Jean-Baptiste; Maxime, Capt; Lambiel, Christophe

    2015-04-01

    Debris-covered zones are extending on numerous glacier systems in mountainous regions. This situation results from an increase in debris supply and from a decrease of sediment evacuation capacity in glacier systems in the negative mass balance context. The progressive covering of ice mass affects particularly small cirque glacier systems (glaciers, these systems have several characteristics (thin ice body, polythermal regime, a high debris content and glacier-permafrost interactions) that limit glacial dynamic and related sediment evacuation. Associating massive glacier ice, ice-debris mixtures and deglaciated debris under permafrost conditions, these systems are experiencing specific and complex response to climate forcing. However, despite their important role on alpine water and sediment flux systems and because they are situated at the frontier between glacial and periglacial researches, the characterisation of these systems and of their current evolution remains a challenging task. Specific needs concern especially the precise knowledge of their composition, the detection and the quantification of ongoing processes and the recognition of the main factors controlling the evolution of the different system components. Exploring and synthetizing the results of a multi-site (Rognes, Tsarmine, Entre la Reille), multi-temporal (from seasons to decades) and multi-method (ERT, GPR, dGPS, Lidar, photogrammetry, thermal monitoring, etc.) research led in the NW European Alps between 2011 and 2015, this contribution tries to enlighten and explain the different situations encountered in these complex systems. Three main zones, with specific behaviours can be distinguished according to the internal structure: - The larger zone corresponds to the strictly glacial zone. In comparison with the other zones, the responses to climate signal are rapid, illustrating the local high sensitivity to climatic and hydrologic forcing. In consequence, intense (dcm to m) ice melt, basal

  8. Adapting to the reality of climate change at Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fagre, Daniel B.

    2007-01-01

    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.

  9. Processes governing the mass balance of Chhota Shigri Glacier (Western Himalaya, India assessed by point-scale surface energy balance measurements

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. F. Azam

    2014-06-01

    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.

  10. Quantifying the mass loss of peripheral Greenland glaciers and ice caps (1958-2014).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noël, Brice; van de Berg, Willem Jan; Machguth, Horst; van den Broeke, Michiel

    2016-04-01

    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.

  11. Longest time series of glacier mass changes in the Himalaya based on stereo imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolch, T.; Pieczonka, T.; Benn, D. I.

    2010-12-01

    Mass loss of Himalayan glaciers has wide-ranging consequences such as declining water resources, sea level rise and an increasing risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). The assessment of the regional and global impact of glacier changes in the Himalaya is, however, hampered by a lack of mass balance data for most of the range. Multi-temporal digital terrain models (DTMs) allow glacier mass balance to be calculated since the availability of stereo imagery. Here we present the longest time series of mass changes in the Himalaya and show the high value of early stereo spy imagery such as Corona (years 1962 and 1970) aerial images and recent high resolution satellite data (Cartosat-1) to calculate a time series of glacier changes south of Mt. Everest, Nepal. We reveal that the glaciers are significantly losing mass with an increasing rate since at least ~1970, despite thick debris cover. The specific mass loss is 0.32 ± 0.08 m w.e. a-1, however, not higher than the global average. The spatial patterns of surface lowering can be explained by variations in debris-cover thickness, glacier velocity, and ice melt due to exposed ice cliffs and ponds.

  12. Longest time series of glacier mass changes in the Himalaya based on stereo imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Bolch

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Mass loss of Himalayan glaciers has wide-ranging consequences such as declining water resources, sea level rise and an increasing risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs. The assessment of the regional and global impact of glacier changes in the Himalaya is, however, hampered by a lack of mass balance data for most of the range. Multi-temporal digital terrain models (DTMs allow glacier mass balance to be calculated since the availability of stereo imagery. Here we present the longest time series of mass changes in the Himalaya and show the high value of early stereo spy imagery such as Corona (years 1962 and 1970 aerial images and recent high resolution satellite data (Cartosat-1 to calculate a time series of glacier changes south of Mt. Everest, Nepal. We reveal that the glaciers are significantly losing mass with an increasing rate since at least ~1970, despite thick debris cover. The specific mass loss is 0.32 ± 0.08 m w.e. a−1, however, not higher than the global average. The spatial patterns of surface lowering can be explained by variations in debris-cover thickness, glacier velocity, and ice melt due to exposed ice cliffs and ponds.

  13. Seasonal and interannual variations in snow cover thickness, glacier mass balance, and gravity-induced dynamics in a high Arctic valley glacier watershed.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prokop, Alexander; Tolle, Florian; Bernard, Eric; Friedt, Jean-Michel; Griselin, Madeleine

    2015-04-01

    For 3 consecutive years, terrestrial laser scanning surveys have been conducted in the glacier basin of Austre Lovénbreen (Svalbard, 79°N). Each year, high density point clouds were acquired on the glacier surface and on the surrounding slopes. Two yearly scanning sessions were required in order to spatialize and quantify snow cover. The first session was done late April at the expected annual snow maximum. The second session was done in August near the end of the melting season. On the glacier itself, laser scans were produced on the glacier snout, in the area close to the equilibrium line, and in the upper reaches of the glacier. Manual snow drilling measurements and glacier mass balance data were subsequently used to validate snow cover results. In the steep slopes surrounding the glacier, scans were acquired on slopes at various altitudes and orientations in order to get a representative view of different snow cover settings. Particular attention was granted to snowdrift and avalanche processes, and their consequences on remaining packed snow stored in perennial snow accumulation at the bottom of slopes. A good knowledge of the dynamics of the snow cover is of particular interest in a glacier undergoing a clear retreat. Snow is protecting the ice from melting for part of the season, and snow is also providing what will constitute future glacier ice in the upper reaches of the basin. Snow on slopes is also of importance as avalanches reaching on the glacier can contribute to the overall mass balance. Snow cover, by keeping the slopes permafrost from thawing early in the season, or by providing liquid water affecting it later in the season, is also playing a key role in the glacier basin morphology and its interactions with the glacier body.

  14. Mass balance evolution of Martial Este Glacier, Tierra del Fuego (Argentina for the period 1960–2099

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Buttstädt

    2009-12-01

    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.

  15. Influence of high-order mechanics on simulation of glacier response to climate change: insights from Haig Glacier, Canadian Rocky Mountains

    OpenAIRE

    S. Adhikari; Marshall, S. J.

    2013-01-01

    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 physics, ranging ...

  16. Effects of projected climate change on the glacier and runoff generation in the Naryn River Basin, Central Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gan, Rong; Luo, Yi; Zuo, Qiting; Sun, Lin

    2015-04-01

    Climate change is a major environmental concern and the melting processes of the glaciers and snowpacks are sensitive to climate change. The ultimate effect of the future changes on the glacier and hydrology is unclear and poorly investigated for Central Asia. Here, we use results from the latest ensemble of climate models in combination with a glacier-enhanced Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrologic model to assess the hydrological impact of climate change in the Naryn River Basin, Central Asia. Results indicate that small glaciers suffer from larger relative area losses than large glaciers. Only 8% of the originally glaciated area for small glaciers will retain glaciers by 2100 for RCP8.5. The rate of area retreat for small glaciers (with an area change in precipitation, snowmelt and higher evapotranspiration. Glacier melt is mainly derived by future temperature changes, while the runoff and snowmelt component are determined by future precipitation. The timing of peak runoff is advancing about one month as a result of earlier snowmelt due to the warming temperature. Runoff is projected to increase during the spring and decrease for the summer season for the future periods. Thus water availability on the time will likely undergo significant changes.

  17. Local reduction of decadal glacier thickness loss through mass balance management in ski resorts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Andrea; Helfricht, Kay; Stocker-Waldhuber, Martin

    2016-11-01

    For Austrian glacier ski resorts, established in the 1970s and 1980s during a period of glacier advance, negative mass balances with resulting glacier area loss and decrease in surface elevation present an operational challenge. Glacier cover, snow farming, and technical snow production were introduced as adaptation measures based on studies on the effect of these measures on energy and mass balance. After a decade of the application of the various measures, we studied the transition from the proven short-term effects of the measures on mass balance to long-term effects on elevation changes. Based on lidar digital elevation models and differential GPS measurements, decadal surface elevation changes in 15 locations with mass balance management were compared to those without measures (apart from piste grooming) in five Tyrolean ski resorts on seven glaciers. The comparison of surface elevation changes presents clear local differences in mass change, and it shows the potential to retain local ice thickness over 1 decade. Locally up to 21.1 m ± 0.4 m of ice thickness was preserved on mass balance managed areas compared to non-maintained areas over a period of 9 years. In this period, mean annual thickness loss in 15 of the mass balance managed profiles is 0.54 ± 0.04 m yr-1 lower (-0.23 ± 0.04 m yr-1on average) than in the respective reference areas (-0.78 ± 0.04 m yr-1). At two of these profiles the surface elevation was preserved altogether, which is promising for a sustainable maintenance of the infrastructure at glacier ski resorts. In general the results demonstrate the high potential of the combination of mass balance management by snow production and glacier cover, not only in the short term but also for multi-year application to maintain the skiing infrastructure.

  18. Glaciological and geodetic mass balance of ten long-term glaciers in Norway

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. M. Andreassen

    2015-11-01

    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.

  19. Mass balance, runoff and surges of the Bering Glacier, Alaska

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W. Tangborn

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available The historical net, ablation and accumulation daily balances and runoff of the Bering Glacier, Alaska are determined for the 1951–2011 period with the PTAA (precipitation-temperature-area-altitude model, using daily precipitation and temperature observations collected at the Cordova and Yakutat weather stations, together with the area-altitude distribution of the glacier. The mean annual balance for this 61-yr period is −0.6 mwe, the accumulation balance is +1.4 and the ablation balance is −2.0 mwe. Periodic surges of this glacier transport large volumes of ice to lower elevations where the ablation rate is higher, producing more negative balances and increasing runoff. During the 1993–1995 surge the average ablation balance is −3.3 mwe, over a meter greater than the 1951–2011 average. Runoff from the Bering Glacier (derived from simulated ablation and precipitation as rain is highly correlated with the four glacier surges that have been observed since 1951. Ice volume loss for the 1972–2003 period measured with the PTAA model is 2.3 km3 we a−1 and closely agrees with losses for the same period measured with the geodetic method.

  20. Climate Driven Retreat of Mount Baker Glaciers and Changing Water Resources

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tristram Irvine-Fynn

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Reviewed: Climate Driven Retreat of Mount Baker Glaciers and Changing Water Resources By Mauri Pelto. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2015. x + 107 pp. Softcover: US$ 54.99, ISBN 978-3-319-22604-0. E-book: US$ 39.99, ISBN 978-3-319-22605-7.

  1. Response of Glacier and Lake Covariations to Climate Change in Mapam Yumco Basin on Tibetan Plateau during 1974-2003

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ye Qinghua; Yao Tandong; Chen Feng; Kang Shichang; Zhang Xueqin; Wang Yi

    2008-01-01

    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.

  2. Regional estimates of glacier mass change from MODIS-derived equilibrium line altitudes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Shea

    2012-09-01

    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.

  3. Climate Sensitivity of Franz-Josef Glacier, New Zealand, as revealed by numerical modelling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1997-01-01

    The sensitivity of Franz Josef Glacier is studied with a numerical ice-flow model. The model calculates ice mass flux along a central flow line and deals with the three-dimensional geometry in a parameterized way. Forcing is provided through a mass balance model that generates specific balance from

  4. Mass balance and hydrological contribution of glaciers in northern and central Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacDonell, Shelley; Vivero, Sebastian; McPhee, James; Ayala, Alvaro; Pellicciotti, Francesca; Campos, Cristian; Caro, Dennys; Ponce, Rodrigo

    2016-04-01

    Water is a critical resource in the northern and central regions of Chile, as the area supports more than 40% of the country's population, and the regional economy depends on agricultural production and mining, which are two industries that rely heavily on a consistent water supply. Due to relatively low rates of rainfall, meltwater from snow and ice bodies in the highland areas provides a key component of the annual water supply in these areas. Consequently, accurate estimates of the rates of ablation of the cryosphere (i.e. snow and ice) are crucial for predicting current supply rates, and future projections. Whilst snow is generally a larger contributor of freshwater, during periods of drought, glaciers provide a significant source. This study aims to determine the contribution of glaciers to two catchments in northern and central Chile during a 2.5 year period, which largely consisted of extreme dry periods, but also included the recent El Niño event. This study combined field and modelling studies to understand glacier and rock glacier contributions in the Tapado (30°S), Yeso (33°S) catchments. In the field we undertook glaciological mass balance monitoring of three glaciers, monitored albedo and snow line changes using automatic cameras for three glaciers, measured discharge continuously at several points, installed six automatic weather stations and used thermistors to monitor thermal regime changes of two rock glaciers. The combination of these datasets where used to drive energy balance and hydrological models to estimate the contribution of ice bodies to streamflow in the two studied catchments. Over the course of the study all glaciers maintained a negative mass balance, however glaciers in central Chile lost more mass, which is due to the higher melt rates experienced due to lower elevations and higher temperatures. Areas free of debris generally contributed more to streamflow than sediment covered regions, and snow generally contributed more over

  5. Climate change and glacier retreat in northern Tien Shan (Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan) using remote sensing data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolch, Tobias

    2007-03-01

    This paper presents an analysis of precipitation and temperature trends and a GIS-supported investigation of the related glacier change in the mountain ridges Zailiyskiy and Kungey Alatau, which represent an important part of the northern Tien Shan. The recent glacier coverage was delineated in a semi-automated way using a TM4/TM5 ratio image of a Landsat ETM Scene from the year 1999 and a merged ASTER/SRTM3-DEM. The extent of these glaciers is compared to that of the glaciers in the Soviet Glacier Inventory [UdSSR, Academica Nauk (1966 to 1983). Katalog Lednikov SSSR (in Russian), Gidrometeoizdat. Leningrad], which represents the situation in study area in approx. 1955. Regionalization of temperature and precipitation as well as solar radiation calculation was conducted in order to determine the climate situation at the glaciers. Trend and correlation analysis for the period from 1879 to 2000 at 16 climate stations showed a temperature increase, which have become pronounced since the 1950s. Another strong increase occurred at the beginning of the 1970s and since around 1980, the temperatures have generally stayed at this high level. The trend coefficient was about 0.8 K/100a for the period 1900 to 2000 and about 2.0 K/100a on average for the second half of the last century. The increase was about two times higher than the global average in northern Tien Shan from 1950 until 2000, where the increase was mainly due to temperature rise in autumn and winter. The increase is less pronounced in the mountainous areas, but still obvious. However, the higher temperature increase at the lower stations, located for the most part in cities or larger settlements, may be due in part to increased urbanization. For precipitation, there was a small increase on average, but no clear trend. On the average, the decrease in glacier extent was more than 32% between 1955 and 1999 in the investigated valleys of Zailiyskiy and Kungey Alatau. The glacier retreat was not homogeneous, but

  6. Increased Mass Loss and Asynchronous Behavior of Marine-Terminating Outlet Glaciers at Upernavik Isstrøm, NW Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Larsen, Signe Hillerup; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Ahlstrøm, Andreas Peter;

    2016-01-01

    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......-terminating glaciers at Upernavik Isstrøm (UI), Northwest Greenland, between 1992 and 2013. Velocities were stable for all outlets at UI between 1992 and 2005. The northernmost glacier started to accelerate and thin in 2006 and continued to do so into 2011 after which time the velocities stabilized. The second most...... northerly glacier started to accelerate and thin in 2009 and continued to do so until the last observations in 2013, dramatically increasing the area affected by dynamically induced thinning. The southern glaciers show little change, with the most southerly glacier undergoing slight retreat and deceleration...

  7. Modeling the Roles of Precipitation Increasing in Glacier Systems Responding to Climate Warming - Taking Xinjiang Glaciated Region as Example

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG Xin; XIE Zichu; LIU Shiyin; TAO Jianjun; HAN Yongshun; YANG Yuelong

    2005-01-01

    The studies on prediction of climate in Xinjiang almost show that the precipitation would increase in the coming 50 years, although there were surely some uncertainties in precipitation predictions.On the basis of the structure of glacier system and nature of equilibrium line altitude at steady state (ELAo), a functional model of the glacier system responding to climate changes was established, and it simultaneously involved the rising of summer mean temperature and increasing of mean precipitation.The results from the functional model under the climatic scenarios with temperature increasing rates of 0.01, 0.03 and 0.05 K/year indicated that the precipitation increasing would play an evident role in glacier system responding to climate change: if temperature become 1℃ higher, the precipitation would be increased by 10%, which can slow down the glaciers retreating rate in the area by 4%, accelerate runoff increasing rate by 8% and depress the ELAo rising gradient by 24 m in northern Xinjiang glacier system where semi-continental glaciers dominate,while it has corresponding values of only 1%, 5 % and 18m respectively in southern Xinjiang glacier system,where extremely continental glaciers dominate.

  8. Fast shrinkage of tropical glaciers in Colombia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ceballos, Jorge Luis; Euscátegui, Christian; Ramírez, Jair; Cañon, Marcela; Huggel, Christian; Haeberli, Wilfried; Machguth, Horst

    As a consequence of ongoing atmospheric temperature rise, tropical glaciers belong to the unique and threatened ecosystems on Earth, as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Houghton and others, 2001). Worldwide glacier monitoring, especially as part of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), includes the systematic collection of data on such perennial surface ice masses. Several peaks in the sierras of Colombia have lost their glacier cover during recent decades. Today, high-altitude glaciers still exist in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in Sierra Nevada del Cocuy and on the volcanoes of Nevados del Ruiz, de Santa Isabel, del Tolima and del Huila. Comparison of reconstructions of maximum glacier area extent during the Little Ice Age with more recent information from aerial photographs and satellite images clearly documents a fast-shrinking tendency and potential disappearance of the remaining glaciers within the next few decades. In the past 50 years, Colombian glaciers have lost 50% or more of their area. Glacier shrinkage has continued to be strong in the last 15 years, with a loss of 10-50% of the glacier area. The relationship between fast glacier retreat and local, regional and global climate change is now being investigated. Preliminary analyses indicate that the temperature rise of roughly 1° C in the last 30 years recorded at high-altitude meteorological stations exerts a primary control on glacier retreat. The investigations on the Colombian glaciers thus corroborate earlier findings concerning the high sensitivity of glaciers in the wet inner tropics to temperature rise. To improve understanding of fast glacier retreat in Colombia, a modern monitoring network has been established according to the multilevel strategy of the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) within GCOS. The observations are also contributions to continued assessments of hazards from the glacier-covered volcanoes and to integrated global change

  9. Little Ice Age glaciers in Britain: Glacier–climate modelling in the Cairngorm Mountains

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stephan Harrison; Ann V. Rowan; Neil F. Glasser; Jasper Knight; Mitchell A. Plummer; Stephanie C. Mills

    2014-02-01

    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.

  10. Dynamics and mass balance of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica: 2. Force balance and longitudinal coupling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavanaugh, J. L.; Cuffey, K. M.

    2009-11-01

    Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, exemplifies an ice sheet outlet that flows through a region of rugged topography and dry climate. In contrast to other well-studied outlets, Taylor Glacier moves very slowly, despite a thickness of order 1 km and driving stresses averaging 1.5 bars. Here we analyze new measurements of glacier geometry and surface velocity to elucidate flow dynamics of Taylor Glacier. Force balance and basal temperatures are calculated at six locations along the glacier's length using an algorithm developed for this study. The effects of stress-gradient coupling on longitudinal flow variations are also examined; we ask whether Kamb and Echelmeyer's (1986) linearized theory adequately describes the observed response of flow to large-amplitude variations in driving stress. The force balance calculations indicate that no basal motion is needed to explain the observed flow of Taylor Glacier. Inferred basal temperatures are within a few degrees of the melting point in regions of kilometer-thick ice and well below the melting point elsewhere; deformation of subfreezing ice largely controls the flow of Taylor Glacier. Basal drags are mostly in the range 0.9 to 1.2 bars, and lateral drags are in the range 0.2 to 0.5 bar. Stress-gradient coupling strongly reduces the variability of velocities along the glacier. The velocity variations can be described as the convolution of a forcing function with a spatial filter, as Kamb and Echelmeyer suggested, but the form of the forcing function differs from the theoretical relation derived for small-amplitude perturbations (the power on driving stress is one, not three).

  11. A model study of Abrahamsenbreen, a surging glacier in northern Spitsbergen

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.; van Pelt, W. J. J.

    2015-01-01

    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

  12. Mass budget of Queen Elizabeth Islands glaciers and ice caps, Canada, from 1992 to present

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millan, R.; Rignot, E. J.; Mouginot, J.

    2015-12-01

    Recent studies indicate to say that the Canadian Artic Archipelago's mass loss has increased in recent years. However the role of ice dynamics changes in this area is not well known. In this study, we present a comprehensive velocity mapping of the CAA using ALOS/PALSAR, RADARSAT-1, ERS1 and Landsat data between 1992 and 2015. Glaciers speed are calculated using a speckle and feature tracking algorithm.The results reveals that three large marine-terminating glaciers have accelerated significantly after 2010, while most others have slowed down or retreated to a sill to become similar to land-terminating glaciers. By combining the velocities of these glaciers with ice thickness measurements from NASA's Operation IceBridge, we calculate their ice discharge. The fluxes of these glaciers increased significantly since 2000 with a marked increase after 2011. The comparison of ice discharge with the surface mass balance from RACMO-2, shows that these glaciers came out of balance after 2011, which is also a time period where their discharge almost doubled. The analysis of RACMO-2 reveals an increase in runoff between 1970's and today and a precipitation with no significant trend. We digitalize the calving front positions of the glaciers and show an increasing rate retreat since 1976. We conclude that global pattern of velocity changes shows that the mass losses due to surface mass balance will likely going to raise in the coming years and that ice discharge will have a smaller part in the contribution of the CAA to sea level rise.

  13. Spatial patterns of North Atlantic Oscillation influence on mass balance variability of European glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. Marzeion

    2012-06-01

    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.

  14. Early 21st-Century Mass loss of the North-Atlantic Glaciers and Ice Caps (Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists Lecture)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wouters, Bert; Ligtenberg, Stefan; Moholdt, Geir; Gardner, Alex S.; Noel, Brice; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; van den Broeke, Michiel; Bamber, Jonathan L.

    2016-04-01

    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

  15. The North Water Polynya and Velocity, Calving Front and Mass Change in Surrounding Glaciers in Greenland and Canada Over the Last 30 Years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, L.

    2015-12-01

    Major uncertainties surround future estimates of sea level rise attributable to mass loss from Greenland and the surrounding ice caps in Canada. Understanding changes across these regions is vital as their glaciers have experienced dramatic changes in recent times. Attention has focused on the periphery of these regions where land ice meets the ocean and where ice acceleration, thinning and increased calving have been observed. Polynyas are areas of open water within sea ice which remain unfrozen for much of the year. They vary significantly in size (~3 km2 to > ~85,000 km2 in the Arctic), recurrence rates and duration. Despite their relatively small size, polynyas strongly impact regional oceanography and play a vital role in heat and moisture exchange between the polar oceans and atmosphere. Where polynyas are present adjacent to tidewater glaciers their influence on ocean circulation and water temperatures has the potential to play a major part in controlling subsurface ice melt rates by impacting on the water masses reaching the calving front. They also have the potential to influence air masses reaching nearby glaciers and ice caps by creating a maritime climate which may impact on the glaciers' accumulation and surface melt and hence their thickness and mass balance. Polynya presence and size also have implications for sea ice extent and therefore may influence the buttressing effect on neighbouring tidewater glaciers. The work presented uses remote sensing and mass balance model data to study changes in the North Water polynya (extent, ice concentration, duration) and neighbouring glaciers and ice caps (velocities, calving front positions and mass balance) in Canada and Greenland over a period of approximately 30 years from the mid-1980s through to 2015.

  16. Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis

    2014-01-01

    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.

  17. Holocene glacier fluctuations and climate changes in the southeastern part of the Russian Altai (South Siberia) based on a radiocarbon chronology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agatova, A. R.; Nazarov, A. N.; Nepop, R. K.; Rodnight, H.

    2012-06-01

    This study investigates glacier dynamic and climatic variations in the southeastern part of the Russian Altai (SE Altai) during the last 7000 years. Recent glacier retreats and ice melting in moraines has led to exhumation of organic material allowing the possibility of radiocarbon dating. We report here 57 new radiocarbon dates from wood remains buried by moraines and from proglacial forefields, from peat layers and lacustrine sediments that cover moraines, from dead trees at the upper tree limit, and from rock glaciers on trough slopes from six glacial valleys in the North Chuya Range, SE Altai. Such a numerous dataset for the vast but unified in neotectonic and climatic conditions area is presented for the first time the history of research in the Altai. Together with 62 previously published radiocarbon ages, mainly of fossil soils and peat layers in the foot of the ranges in SE Altai, they form the basis for understanding the relative magnitudes and timing of the most important glacial and climatic events of SE Altai. New data refute the traditional concept of the Russian Altai Holocene glaciations as a consecutive retreat of the late Würm glaciers and argue their complete degradation at the head of trough valleys at least 7000 cal. years BP. Moraine complexes of three Holocene glacial stages are morphologically expressed in trough valleys of the North Chuya range. They correlate with three identified periods of glacial advances: from 4900 to 4200 cal. years BP (Akkem stage), from 2300 to 1700 cal. years BP (Historical stage) and in the 13th-19th centuries (Little Ice Age (LIA) or Aktru stage). The coincident extremes of lowering temperature and increasing precipitation during the Akkem stage led to abrupt glacier advances and forming of the most remote moraine complexes downstream in the valleys. Following glacier advances had distinctly smaller magnitudes. In addition to the radiocarbon data, the time limits of the Historical stage were defined more

  18. The footprint of Asian monsoon dynamics in the mass and energy balance of a Tibetan glacier

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mölg, T.; Maussion, F.; Yang, W.; Scherer, D.

    2012-12-01

    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, once the monsoon is in full swing, regional atmospheric variability prevails on the Tibetan Plateau in summer.

  19. Modelling historical and recent mass loss of McCall Glacier, Alaska, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Delcourt

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available Volume loss of valley glaciers is now considered to be a significant contribution to sea level rise. Understanding and identifying the processes involved in accelerated mass loss are necessary to determine their impact on the global system. Here we present results from a series of model experiments with a higher-order thermomechanically coupled flowline model (Pattyn, 2002. Boundary conditions to the model are parameterizations of surface mass balance, geothermal heating, observed surface and 10 m ice depth temperatures. The time-dependent experiments aim at simulating the glacier retreat from its LIA expansion to present according to different scenarios and model parameters. Model output was validated against measurements of ice velocity, ice surface elevation and terminus position at different stages. Results demonstrate that a key factor in determining the glacier retreat history is the importance of internal accumulation (>50% in the total mass balance. The persistence of a basal temperate zone characteristic for this polythermal glacier depends largely on its contribution. Accelerated glacier retreat since the early nineties seems directly related to the increase in ELA and the sudden reduction in AAR due to the fact that a large lower elevation cirque – previously an important accumulation area – became part of the ablation zone.

  20. Modelling historical and recent mass loss of McCall Glacier, Alaska, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Delcourt

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available Volume loss of valley glaciers is now considered to be a significant contribution to sea level rise. Understanding and identifying the processes involved in accelerated mass loss are necessary to determine their impact on the global system. Here we present results from a series of model experiments with a higher-order thermomechanically coupled flowline model (Pattyn, 2002. Boundary conditions to the model are parameterizations of surface mass balance, geothermal heating, observed surface and 10 m ice depth temperatures. The time-dependent experiments aim at simulating the glacier retreat from its LIA expansion to present according to different scenarios and model parameters. Model output was validated against measurements of ice velocity, ice surface elevation and terminus position at different stages. Results demonstrate that a key factor in determining the glacier retreat history is the importance of internal accumulation (>50% in the total mass balance. The persistence of a basal temperate zone characteristic for this polythermal glacier depends largely on its contribution. Accelerated glacier retreat since the early nineties seems directly related to the increase in ELA and the sudden reduction in AAR due to the fact that a large lower elevation cirque – previously an important accumulation area – became part of the ablation zone.

  1. The footprint of Asian monsoon dynamics in the mass and energy balance of a Tibetan glacier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Mölg

    2012-08-01

    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.

  2. The footprint of Asian monsoon dynamics in the mass and energy balance of a Tibetan glacier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Mölg

    2012-12-01

    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, once the monsoon is in full swing, regional atmospheric variability prevails on the Tibetan Plateau in summer.

  3. Long term mass balance of the Helheim and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers in

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Fitzner, Antje; Kjær, Kurt;

    2013-01-01

    Observations over the past decade show huge ice loss associated with speeding up of glaciers in southeast Greenland in 2003, followed by a deceleration in 2006. These short-term episodic dynamic perturbations have a major impact on the mass balance at decadal scale. However, to improve the projec......Observations over the past decade show huge ice loss associated with speeding up of glaciers in southeast Greenland in 2003, followed by a deceleration in 2006. These short-term episodic dynamic perturbations have a major impact on the mass balance at decadal scale. However, to improve...... the 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...... 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....

  4. Glacier Ice Mass Fluctuations and Fault Instability in Tectonically Active Southern Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    SauberRosenberg, Jeanne M.; Molnia, Bruce F.

    2003-01-01

    Across southern Alaska the northwest directed subduction of the Pacific plate is accompanied by accretion of the Yakutat terrane to continental Alaska. This has led to high tectonic strain rates and dramatic topographic relief of more than 5000 meters within 15 km of the Gulf of Alaska coast. The glaciers of this area are extensive and include large glaciers undergoing wastage (glacier retreat and thinning) and surges. The large glacier ice mass changes perturb the tectonic rate of deformation at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. We estimated surface displacements and stresses associated with ice mass fluctuations and tectonic loading by examining GPS geodetic observations and numerical model predictions. Although the glacial fluctuations perturb the tectonic stress field, especially at shallow depths, the largest contribution to ongoing crustal deformation is horizontal tectonic strain due to plate convergence. Tectonic forces are thus the primary force responsible for major earthquakes. However, for geodetic sites located Glacier s most recent surge cycle are large enough to cause discernible surface displacements. Additionally, ice mass fluctuations associated with the surge cycle can modify the short-term seismicity rates in a local region. For the thrust faulting environment of the study region a large decrease in ice load may cause an increase in seismic rate in a region close to failure whereas ice loading may inhibit thrust faulting.

  5. Peeking Under the Ice… Literally: Records of Arctic Climate Change from Radiocarbon Dating Moss Emerging from Beneath Retreating Glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briner, J. P.; Schweinsberg, A.; Miller, G. H.; Lifton, N. A.; Beel, C. R.; Bennike, O.

    2014-12-01

    Dramatic changes are taking place throughout the Arctic. Many glaciers have already melted away completely, and most others are well on their way as rising snowline elevations promise continued glacier retreat. Emerging from beneath retreating glacier margins is a landscape rich in information about past climate and glacier changes. Within newly exposed bedrock is an inventory of cosmogenic nuclides that archive past ice cover timing and duration. Lake basins re-appearing due to retreating ice preserve sediment archives that tell of cooling climate and advancing ice. And ancient surfaces vegetated with tundra communities that have long been entombed beneath frozen-bedded ice caps are now being revealed for the first time in millennia. This presentation will focus on the climate and glacier record derived from radiocarbon dating of in situ moss recently exhumed from retreating local ice cap margins on western Greenland. Dozens of radiocarbon ages from moss group into several distinct modes, which are interpreted as discrete times of persistent summer cooling and resultant glacier expansion. The data reveal a pattern of glacier expansion beginning ~5000 years ago, followed by periods of glacier growth around 3500 and 1500 years ago. Because these times of glacier expansion are recorded at many sites in western Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic, they are interpreted as times of step-wise summer cooling events during the Holocene. These non-linear climate changes may be a result of feedbacks that amplify linear insolation forcing of Holocene climate. In addition to these insights into the Arctic climate system, the antiquity of many radiocarbon ages of ice-killed moss indicate that many arctic surfaces are being re-exposed for the first time in millennia due to retreating ice, emphasizing the unprecedented nature of current summer warming.

  6. CHANGING OF THE ALTAI GLACIER SYSTEM SINCE THE MID-TWENTIETH CENTURY AND ITS RESPONSE TO THE CLIMATE WARMING IN FUTURE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. M. Kotlyakov

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Characteristics of the Altai glacier system are analyzed on the data from Chinese and Former Soviet Union glacier inventories. Two glacier data sets, recent remote sensing data and the glacier inventories data were compared. It has been found that 208 glaciers disappeared and the glacial area decreased by 12%. Functional models of the glacier system variations have been developed using the equation of relationship between an annual glacier ablation and a mean summer temperature; the glacier system structure and behavior of the equilibrium line altitudes at the steady state were taken into account as well. The models were used to study response of the glacial runoff to a climatic change. The model results show that, under the climate warming scenario of 0.05°С/year, only 3% Altai glaciers inChinaand 9% inRussiawill remain by the end of this century.

  7. 中国冰川系统对气候变化响应的敏感性分析%Sensitivity analysis of glacier systems to climate warming in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王欣; 谢自楚; 李巧媛; 王淑红; 程磊

    2008-01-01

    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.

  8. Glacier Retreat in the Southern Peruvian Andes: Climate Change, Environmental Impacts, Human Perception and Social Response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orlove, B.

    2007-12-01

    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.

  9. Re-analysis of Alaskan benchmark glacier mass-balance data using the index method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Beusekom, Ashely E.; O'Nell, Shad R.; March, Rod S.; Sass, Louis C.; Cox, Leif H.

    2010-01-01

    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.

  10. Future of Himalayan glaciers: Projections from CMIP5 and CORDEX climate models and their uncertainties

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jury, Martin W.; Mendlik, Thomas; Tani, Satyanarayana; Truhetz, Heimo; Ragettli, Silvan; Pellicciotti, Francesca; Immerzeel, Walter

    2016-04-01

    Glaciers are of key importance to the freshwater supply in the Himalayan region. Their growth or melting is influenced by an interaction of temperature near the surface (tas) and precipitation rate (pr). In a changing climate characterized by rising temperatures mountain glaciers are ought to decline. However, recent observations indicate a glacier growth over the Karakoram (western Himalaya) due to a rise in snow accumulation while positive degree days show no change. To further investigate this behavior and to clarify whether this glacier growth is intermediate we use a model ensemble encompassing 34 GCMs of the CMIP5, 5 RCMs of the East-Asia CORDEX, as well as 3 RCMs of the South-Asia CORDEX for 3 different representative concentration pathways. The models' ability to correctly reproduce local weather patterns is accounted for via temporal and spatial correlations to observed tas and pr over the southern ridge of the Himalaya. APHRODITE is used as observational data. The reanalyses ERA-Interim, NCEP/NCAR and JRA-55 are used to further account for observational uncertainty. tas and pr of all climate simulations have been bias corrected (quantile mapping) in order to obtain snow accumulation and positive degree days. Finally, the uncertainty of the projected trends of the climate model ensemble has been quantified. First results indicate a uniform rise of positive degree days over all scenarios leading to a higher melting rate. However, this uniform behavior is in contrast to changes in snow accumulation, for which some models project an increase and others a decrease until the end of the century.

  11. Compositional characteristics of n-alkanes of the glaciers over the Tibetan Plateau and their environmental and climatic significances

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    We report on the concentration and compositional features of n-alkanes of natural and anthropogenic origins in the snow samples collected from the Qiyi glacier in the Qilian Mountains, the Yuzhufeng glacier in eastern Kunlun Mountains, the Xiaodongkemadi glacier in the Tanggula Mountains, and the Gurenhekou glacier in the Nyainqêntanglha Range. The results indicate a decrease in the total n-alkane concentration (T-HCs) from the northeast to the south over the Tibetan Plateau. The T-HCs in these studied areas were close to those in the Belukha and Sofiyskiy glacier, Russian Alati Mountains and the Dasuopu glacier in the Himalaya but were much higher than those in the Greenland ice sheet, suggesting that the mountain glaciers in the Asian continent may receive a higher loading of n-alkanes than the Greenland ice core. Moreover, the compositional characteristics of n-alkanes indicated that the n-alkanes in the studied areas were probably originated from the plant waxes as well as the fossil-fuel combustion exhaust, whereas the contribution from the lower organisms was small. In addition, the plant wax (Cn(wax)) and anthropogenic (non-Cn(wax)) contributions revealed that fast industrialization may have significant effects on the organic pollutant composition in glacier over the Tibetan Plateau and its circumference environment. Particularly, except for the Yuzhufeng glacier, the ΣnC21-/ΣnC22+ and (nC15+nC17+nC19)/(nC27+nC29+nC31) ratio decreased from the Qiyi glacier to the Gurenhekou glacier over the Tibetan Plateau, while the carbon preference index (CPI) values increased. These results indicate a decrease in terrigenous input while an increase in marine input from the northeast to the south over the Tibetan Plateau. These two ratios can be used as the climatic and environmental change indicators.

  12. Climatic records in a firn core from an Alpine temperate glacier on Mt. Yulong, southeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    He Yuanqing; Yao Tandong; Cheng Guodong; Yang Meixue

    2001-01-01

    @@ Mt. Yulong is the southernmost glacier-covered area in Eurasia, including China. There are 19 sub-tropical temperate glaciers on the mountain, controlled by the southwestern monsoon climate. In the summer of 1999,a firn core, 10.10 m long, extending down to glacier ice,was recovered in the accumulation area of the largest glacier, Baishui No. 1. Periodic variations of climatic signals above 7.8 m depth were apparent, and net accumulation off our years was identified by the annual oscillations of isotopic and ionic composition. The boundaries of annual accumulation were confirmed by higher values of electrical conductivity and pH, and by dirty refreezing ice layers at the levels of summer surfaces.

  13. Long term mass balance of the Helheim and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers in southeast Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Fitzner, Antje; Kjær, Kurt; Korsgaard, Niels; Aschwanden, Andy; Bjørk, Anders; Bevan, Suzanne; Kjeldsen, Kristian; Bueler, Edward; Luckman, Adrian; van den Broeke, Michiel

    2013-04-01

    Observations over the past decade show huge ice loss associated with speeding up of glaciers in southeast Greenland in 2003, followed by a deceleration in 2006. These short-term episodic dynamic perturbations have a major impact on the mass balance at decadal scale. However, to improve the 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.

  14. Last glacial maximum climate inferences from cosmogenic dating and glacier modeling of the western Uinta ice field, Uinta Mountains, Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Refsnider, Kurt A.; Laabs, Benjamin J. C.; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Mickelson, David M.; Singer, Bradley S.; Caffee, Marc W.

    2008-01-01

    During the last glacial maximum (LGM), the western Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah were occupied by the Western Uinta Ice Field. Cosmogenic 10Be surface-exposure ages from the terminal moraine in the North Fork Provo Valley and paired 26Al and 10Be ages from striated bedrock at Bald Mountain Pass set limits on the timing of the local LGM. Moraine boulder ages suggest that ice reached its maximum extent by 17.4 ± 0.5 ka (± 2σ). 10Be and 26Al measurements on striated bedrock from Bald Mountain Pass, situated near the former center of the ice field, yield a mean 26Al/ 10Be ratio of 5.7 ± 0.8 and a mean exposure age of 14.0 ± 0.5 ka, which places a minimum-limiting age on when the ice field melted completely. We also applied a mass/energy-balance and ice-flow model to investigate the LGM climate of the western Uinta Mountains. Results suggest that temperatures were likely 5 to 7°C cooler than present and precipitation was 2 to 3.5 times greater than modern, and the western-most glaciers in the range generally received more precipitation when expanding to their maximum extent than glaciers farther east. This scenario is consistent with the hypothesis that precipitation in the western Uintas was enhanced by pluvial Lake Bonneville during the last glaciation.

  15. The Glaciers of HARMONIE

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mottram, Ruth; Gleeson, Emily; Pagh Nielsen, Kristian

    2016-04-01

    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

  16. Modelling glacier change in the Everest region, Nepal Himalaya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shea, J. M.; Immerzeel, W. W.; Wagnon, P.; Vincent, C.; Bajracharya, S.

    2015-05-01

    In this study, we apply a glacier mass balance and ice redistribution model to examine the sensitivity of glaciers in the Everest region of Nepal to climate change. High-resolution temperature and precipitation fields derived from gridded station data, and bias-corrected with independent station observations, 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 Koshi 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. The modelled glacier sensitivity to future climate change is high. Application of temperature and precipitation anomalies from warm/dry and wet/cold end-members of the CMIP5 RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 ensemble results in sustained mass loss from glaciers in the Everest region through the 21st century.

  17. Brief Communication: Contending estimates of 2003-2008 glacier mass balance over the Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kääb, A.; Treichler, D.; Nuth, C.; Berthier, E.

    2015-03-01

    We present glacier thickness changes over the entire Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya arc based on ICESat satellite altimetry data for 2003-2008. We highlight the importance of C-band penetration for studies based on the SRTM elevation model. This penetration seems to be of potentially larger magnitude and variability than previously assumed. The most negative rate of region-wide glacier elevation change (mass-gain anomaly rather than its centre. For the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra basins, the glacier mass change reaches -24 ± 2 Gt yr-1, about 10% of the current glacier contribution to sea-level rise. For selected catchments, we estimate glacier imbalance contributions to river run-off from a few percent to greater than 10%.

  18. Climate change and glacier retreat drive shifts in an Antarctic benthic ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

    2015-11-01

    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.

  19. The complex behavior of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet and mountain glaciers to abrupt climate change during the latest Pleistocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menounos, Brian; Goehring, Brent; Osborn, Gerald; Clarke, Garry K. C.; Ward, Brent; Margold, Martin; Bond, Jeff; Clague, John J.; Lakeman, Tom; Schaefer, Joerg; Koch, Joe; Gosse, John; Stroeven, Arjen P.; Seguinot, Julien; Heyman, Jakob; Fulton, Robert

    2014-05-01

    Surficial mapping and more than 70 radiometric ages 10Be, 14C] constrain the evolution of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet (CIS) and associated mountain glaciers in western Canada during the latest Pleistocene. Our data suggest that: i) there is widespread evidence for the Younger Dryas (YD) throughout the mountains of western Canada; ii) late Pleistocene climate reconstructions based solely on alpine moraines may be misleading in regions with decaying ice sheets; iii) extensive interfluves in some mountain regions were ice-free between 16 ka and 13 ka (kilo calibrated yrs BP). Initial decay of the CIS from its maximum extent around 16 ka was likely due to a combination of climatic (surface melting) and dynamical factors. Climate amelioration during the Bølling-Allerød Warm Period [14.7-12.9 ka], likely the cause for the major phase of CIS decay, resulted in ice sheet equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs) ranging from 2500 m asl in southern BC to around 2000 m asl along the BC-Yukon border. Hence, before the onset of the Younger Dryas (YD) Cold Period [12.9-11.7 ka], the ice sheet shrank and became a labyrinth of individual and coalescing valley glaciers fed by major accumulation zones centered on the Coast Mountains and other high ranges of NW Canada. The response of remnant ice and cirque glaciers to the YD climate deterioration was highly variable. In some cases, small glaciers (0.5-2 km2) built YD moraines that were only hundreds of meters beyond those constructed during the Little Ice Age (LIA) [0.30-0.15 ka]. Our dating also reveals that much larger glaciers persisted in nearby valleys that lie hundreds of meters below the cirques. Hence, we infer that many cirques were completely deglaciated prior the YD, in contrast to low-lying valleys where ice sheet remnants persisted. Glaciers also advanced in north-central British Columbia during the YD, but here glaciers constructed large terminal and lateral moraines. In the Cassiar and northern Coast mountains, for example

  20. Multi-decadal mass loss of glaciers in the Everest area (Nepal Himalaya) derived from stereo imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolch, T.; Pieczonka, T.; Benn, D. I.

    2011-04-01

    Mass loss of Himalayan glaciers has wide-ranging consequences such as changing runoff distribution, sea level rise and an increasing risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). The assessment of the regional and global impact of glacier changes in the Himalaya is, however, hampered by a lack of mass balance data for most of the range. Multi-temporal digital terrain models (DTMs) allow glacier mass balance to be calculated. Here, we present a time series of mass changes for ten glaciers covering an area of about 50 km2 south and west of Mt. Everest, Nepal, using stereo Corona spy imagery (years 1962 and 1970), aerial images and recent high resolution satellite data (Cartosat-1). This is the longest time series of mass changes in the Himalaya. We reveal that the glaciers have been significantly losing mass since at least 1970, despite thick debris cover. The specific mass loss for 1970-2007 is 0.32 ± 0.08 m w.e. a-1, however, not higher than the global average. Comparisons of the recent DTMs with earlier time periods indicate an accelerated mass loss. This is, however, hardly statistically significant due to high uncertainty, especially of the lower resolution ASTER DTM. The characteristics of surface lowering can be explained by spatial variations of glacier velocity, the thickness of the debris-cover, and ice melt due to exposed ice cliffs and ponds.

  1. Multi-decadal mass loss of glaciers in the Everest area (Nepal Himalaya derived from stereo imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Bolch

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Mass loss of Himalayan glaciers has wide-ranging consequences such as changing runoff distribution, sea level rise and an increasing risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs. The assessment of the regional and global impact of glacier changes in the Himalaya is, however, hampered by a lack of mass balance data for most of the range. Multi-temporal digital terrain models (DTMs allow glacier mass balance to be calculated. Here, we present a time series of mass changes for ten glaciers covering an area of about 50 km2 south and west of Mt. Everest, Nepal, using stereo Corona spy imagery (years 1962 and 1970, aerial images and recent high resolution satellite data (Cartosat-1. This is the longest time series of mass changes in the Himalaya. We reveal that the glaciers have been significantly losing mass since at least 1970, despite thick debris cover. The specific mass loss for 1970–2007 is 0.32 ± 0.08 m w.e. a−1, however, not higher than the global average. Comparisons of the recent DTMs with earlier time periods indicate an accelerated mass loss. This is, however, hardly statistically significant due to high uncertainty, especially of the lower resolution ASTER DTM. The characteristics of surface lowering can be explained by spatial variations of glacier velocity, the thickness of the debris-cover, and ice melt due to exposed ice cliffs and ponds.

  2. Study on the glacier variation and its runoff responses in the arid region of Northwest China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    刘潮海; 康尔泗; 刘时银; 陈建明; 刘宗香

    1999-01-01

    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.

  3. Survey of glaciers in the northern Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming; Size response to climatic fluctuations 1950-1996

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chatelain, E.E. [Valdosta State Univ., GA (United States)

    1997-09-01

    An aerial survey of Northern Rocky Mountain glaciers in Montana and Wyoming was conducted in late summer of 1996. The Flathead, Swan, Mission, and Beartooth Mountains of Montana were covered, as well as the Teton and Wind River Ranges of Wyoming. Present extent of glaciers in this study were compared to limits on recent USGS 15 and 7.5 topographic maps, and also from selected personal photos. Large cirque and hanging glaciers of the Flathead and Wind River Ranges did not display significant decrease in size or change in terminus position. Cirque glaciers in the Swan, Mission, Beartooth and Teton Ranges were markedly smaller in size; with separation of the ice body, growth of the terminus lake, or cover of the ice terminus with rockfalls. A study of annual snowfall, snowdepths, precipitation, and mean temperatures for selected stations in the Northern Rocky Mountains indicates no extreme variations in temperature or precipitation between 1950-1996, but several years of low snowfall and warmer temperatures in the 1980`s appear to have been sufficient to diminish many of the smaller cirque glaciers, many to the point of extinction. The disappearance of small cirque glaciers may indicate a greater sensitivity to overall climatic warming than the more dramatic fluctuations of larger glaciers in the same region.

  4. Decrease, Increase or Stability? Glacier Response to Climate Change in the Trans-Himalayas of Ladakh, Northern India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Susanne; Nüsser, Marcus

    2010-05-01

    The eastern and central parts of the Greater Himalayas display a general picture of rapidly melting glaciers, whereas the glaciers in the western Himalayas, Hindu Kush and Karakorum show a more differentiated response to climate change. It includes individual advancing glaciers and relatively stable snout positions. The Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh is possibly located at the interface between shrinking and advancing or stable glaciers. The region is characterized by cold and arid conditions (mean annual air temperature amounts 5.6 °C and precipitation 93 mm in Leh, 3545 m a.s.l.), while the influence of the monsoon is rather limited. Due to low summer precipitation and the variability of winter snow fall, glaciers largely determine the potentials and limitations of irrigated crop cultivation, forming the primary basis of subsistence agriculture and regional food security. The glaciers of Ladakh are located above 5200 m a.s.l. and according to their small size (generally less than 2 km²), their response to climate change is expected to be direct and predictable. To detect and to quantify glacier changes in different aspects of the NNW-SSE oriented Kang Yatze Massif (6401 m a.s.l.), which is sandwiched between the Zanskar and Stok Ranges, multi-temporal and multi-scale remote sensing data were used. In order to map the changes of glacier covered areas two panchromatic Corona images from 1969 were compared to a high resolution panchromatic Worldview image from 2009. The data gap of the 40 years period was filled with Spot images (1991, 2006), and several Landsat and Aster data. To identify and quantify the glacierized areas a semi-automatic thresholding approach was applied for the co-registered multi-spectral datasets. Additionally, the delineation of glaciers was manually digitized on the panchromatic images. First results for the time period between 1969 and 2009 reveal a minor decrease of almost all investigated glaciers in the Kang Yatze Massif. In order to

  5. Recent decadal glacier mass balances over the Western Nyainqentanglha Mountains and the increase in their melting contribution to Nam Co Lake measured by differential bistatic SAR interferometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Gang; Lin, Hui

    2017-02-01

    The Western Nyainqentanglha Mountains locates in the southeastern center of the Inner Tibetan Plateau (ITP). Glaciers in this region are influenced by both the continental climate of Central Asia and the Indian Monsoon system. Their melting on the western slopes feeds the Nam Co Lake, which is the second largest endorheic lake in the ITP. The elevation of Nam Co Lake increased at a rate of 0.25 ± 0.12 m year- 1 from 2003 to 2009. In this study, aimed at quantifying the decadal glacier mass balance in the Western Nyainqentanglha Mountains and their increasing melting contribution to Nam Co Lake; we applied the differential Bistatic SAR interferometry method to five pairs of TanDEM CoSSC datasets observed between 2013 and 2014 and SRTM acquired in 2000. The mean annual mass loss rate was - 0.235 ± 0.127 m w.e. year- 1 for the entire range. The mass loss rate for the northwestern slope (inside the Nam Co Lake drainage basin) and the southeastern slope (outside the Nam Co Lake drainage basin) were - 0.268 ± 0.129 m w.e. year- 1 and ¬ 0.219 ± 0.126 m w.e. year- 1, respectively. Our results agree well with previous fieldwork at the Zhadang and Gurenhekou glaciers located on the northwestern and southeastern slopes. Debris-cover suppressed glacier downwasting to some extent. By presuming that all of the melted ice flows into the lake, the glaciers' melting contribution to Nam Co Lake's increasing water volume was approximately 10.50 ± 9.00% during the period between 2003 and 2009.

  6. Impact of sublimation losses in the mass balance of glaciers in semi-arid mountain regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ayala, Alvaro; Pellicciotti, Francesca; Burlando, Paolo; MacDonell, Shelley; McPhee, James

    2016-04-01

    Glaciers in semiarid mountain regions may lose an important part of their winter snow accumulation through sublimation processes that are enhanced by the high-elevation, intense radiation and dry atmosphere of these environments. As glaciers in these regions secure freshwater resources to lower valleys during summer and drought periods, it is important to advance in a detailed quantification of their sublimation losses. However, logistical concerns and complex meteorological features make the measuring and modelling of glacier mass balances a difficult task. In this study, we estimated the spring-summer mass balances of Tapado and Juncal Norte glaciers in the semiarid Andes of north-central Chile by running a distributed energy balance model that accounts for melt, refreezing and sublimation from the surface and blowing snow. Meteorological input data were available from on-glacier Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) that were installed during the ablation season of years 2005-06, 2008-09, 2013-14 and 2014-15. Snow pits, ablation stakes and a time-lapse camera that provided surface albedo were also available. Distributed air temperature and wind speed were dynamically downscaled from NASA MERRA reanalysis using the software WINDSIM and validated against the data from the AWSs. The rest of the meteorological variables were distributed using statistical relations with air temperature derived from the AWSs data. Initial snow conditions were estimated using satellite images and distributed manual snow depth measurements. Preliminary results show that total ablation diminishes with elevation and that, during the early ablation season (October-November), melt is the main ablation component below 4500 m with sublimation dominating the ablation above this elevation. Above 4500 m an important fraction of meltwater refreezes during night. As the ablation season advances (December-February), melt extends to higher elevations, refreezing plays a smaller role and sublimation is

  7. Application of terrestrial photogrammetry for the mass balance calculation on Montasio Occidentale Glacier (Julian Alps, Italy)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piermattei, Livia; Carturan, Luca; Calligaro, Simone; Blasone, Giacomo; Guarnieri, Alberto; Tarolli, Paolo; Dalla Fontana, Giancarlo; Vettore, Antonio

    2014-05-01

    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

  8. Brief Communication: Contending estimates of early 21st century glacier mass balance over the Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Kääb

    2014-11-01

    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.

  9. HIMALA: Climate Impacts on Glaciers, Snow, and Hydrology in the Himalayan Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Molly Elizabeth; Ouyang, Hua; Habib, Shahid; Shrestha, Basanta; Shrestha, Mandira; Panday, Prajjwal; Tzortziou, Maria; Policelli, Frederick; Artan, Guleid; Giriraj, Amarnath; Bajracharya, Sagar R.; Racoviteanu, Adina

    2010-01-01

    Glaciers are the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth, supporting one third of the world s population. The Himalaya possess one of the largest resources of snow and ice, which act as a freshwater reservoir for more than 1.3 billion people. This article describes a new project called HIMALA, which focuses on utilizing satellite-based products for better understanding of hydrological processes of the river basins of the region. With support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), together with its partners and member countries, has been working on the application of satellite-based rainfall estimates for flood prediction. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partners are working with ICIMOD to incorporate snowmelt and glacier melt into a widely used hydrological model. Thus, through improved modeling of the contribution of snow and ice meltwater to river flow in the region, the HIMALA project will improve the ability of ICIMOD and its partners to understand the impact of weather and climate on floods, droughts, and other water- and climate-induced natural hazards in the Himalayan region in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

  10. HIMALA: climate impacts on glaciers, snow, and hydrology in the Himalayan region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Molly Elizabeth; Ouyang, Hua; Habib, Shahid; Shrestha, Basanta; Shrestha, Mandira; Panday, Prajjwal; Tzortziou, Maria; Policelli, Frederick; Artan, Guleid; Giriraj, Amarnath; Bajracharya, Sagar R.; Racoviteanu, Adina

    2010-01-01

    Glaciers are the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth, supporting one third of the world's population. The Himalaya possess one of the largest resources of snow and ice, which act as a freshwater reservoir for more than 1.3 billion people. This article describes a new project called HIMALA, which focuses on utilizing satellite-based products for better understanding of hydrological processes of the river basins of the region. With support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), together with its partners and member countries, has been working on the application of satellite-based rainfall estimates for flood prediction. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partners are working with ICIMOD to incorporate snowmelt and glacier melt into a widely used hydrological model. Thus, through improved modeling of the contribution of snow and ice meltwater to river flow in the region, the HIMALA project will improve the ability of ICIMOD and its partners to understand the impact of weather and climate on floods, droughts, and other water- and climate-induced natural hazards in the Himalayan region in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

  11. Climatic control on extreme sediment transfer from Dokriani Glacier during monsoon, Garhwal Himalaya (India)

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Amit Kumar; Akshaya Verma; Dwarika Prasad Dobhal; Manish Mehta; Kapil Kesarwani

    2014-02-01

    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.

  12. Global application of a surface mass balance model using gridded climate data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. H. Giesen

    2012-04-01

    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

  13. Contrasting responses of Central Asian rock glaciers to global warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sorg, Annina; Kääb, Andreas; Roesch, Andrea; Bigler, Christof; Stoffel, Markus

    2015-02-06

    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.

  14. Solar mass emission and climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mursula, Kalevi

    2016-07-01

    The properties of the solar wind and the heliospheric magnetic field (HMF) have been directly measured by satellite observations since the early 1960s, thus covering only the declining phase of the Grand modern maximum (GMM) of solar activity. The information on the properties of solar wind and HMF in the earlier decades is based on different indices of geomagnetic activity, based on observations of the geomagnetic field since the 1840s. While the 19th century is covered by a rather small number of observations, there are several independent series of observations from the early 1900s onwards, yielding a fairly reliable view of solar wind and HMF over the whole GMM. Geomagnetic activity is mainly produced by two major solar wind structures: coronal mass ejections (CME) and high-speed solar wind streams (HSS), whose properties and occurrences differ notably. While CMEs cause the most dramatic individual storms, HSSs are the most effective long-term driver of magnetospheric energetic particles, for which homogeneous, long-term databases of fluxes have recently become available. The new long-term information also allows interesting possibilities to more reliably study the long-term evolution of solar effects in the Earth's atmosphere and climate. E.g., there is evidence that processes related to HSSs may modulate regional/hemispheric climate patterns, in particular the NAO/NAM oscillation. Moreover, other, independent climate effects due to the HMF have been suggested. We review the different approaches used to obtain information on the centennial solar wind and HMF, as well as their suggested atmospheric and climatic effects.

  15. Brief Communication: Contending estimates of early 21st century glacier mass balance over the Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kääb, A.; Nuth, C.; Treichler, D.; Berthier, E.

    2014-11-01

    We present glacier thickness changes over the entire Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya arc based on ICESat satellite altimetry data for 2003-2008. The strongest thinning (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.

  16. Integration of glacier databases within the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zemp, M.; Raup, B. H.; Armstrong, R.; Ballagh, L.; Gärtner-Roer, I.; Haeberli, W.; Hoelzle, M.; Kääb, A.; Kargel, J.; Paul, F.

    2009-04-01

    Changes in glaciers and ice caps provide some of the clearest evidence of climate change and have impacts on global sea level fluctuations, regional hydrological cycles and local natural hazard situations. Internationally coordinated collection and distribution of standardized information about glaciers and ice caps was initiated in 1894 and is today coordinated within the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G). A recently established 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 provide an overview of (i) the integration of the various operational databases, (ii) the development of a one-stop web-interface to these databases, and (iii) the available datasets. By joint efforts consistency and interoperability of the different glacier databases is elaborated. Thereby, the lack of a complete worldwide, detailed glacier inventory as well as different historical developments and methodological contexts of the datasets are major challenges for linking individual glaciers throughout the databases. A map-based web-interface, implemented based on OpenLayer 2.0 and Web Map/Feature Services, is elaborated to spatially link the available data and to provide data users a fast overview of all available data. With this new online service, GTN-G provides fast access to information on glacier inventory data from 100,000 glaciers mainly based on aerial photographs and from 80,000 glaciers mainly based on satellite images, length change series from 1,800 glaciers, mass balance series from 230 glaciers, special events (e.g., hazards, surges, calving instabilities) from 130 glaciers, as well as 10,000 photographs from some 470 glaciers.

  17. Repeat Photography of Alaskan Glaciers and Landscapes as Both Art and as a Means of Communicating Climat Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnia, B. F.

    2013-12-01

    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

  18. Studies of the Belukha glacier plexus in the context of global glacio-climatic monitoring (on the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of the Belukha Mountain

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. S. Revyakin

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The Belukha Mountain is the highest peak of the Altai. On July 26 (7th August in the new time scale of 1914 the brothers Boris and Mikhail Tronov discovered the mountain and were the first people to climb it. The Tronov Glacier is named after them. The Belukha glacier plexus is now subject to intensive degradation caused by current climate warming. There are changes in the processes of ice-forming, the temperature regime, and the stratigraphic characteristics. The mountain slope processes have become more active. The glacier length has decreased by 1.5–2.0 km, their area shortened almost by 20%, and the volume – by 10–12%. The snow-coverage of slopes has decreased, and positions of the ice-forming zones have correspondingly changed. Analysis of cores from the borehole drilled by the international expedition of 2003 on the west plateau of the Tronov Glacier has made it possible to better refine the character and seasonality of the glaciers alimentation. It is supposed that 11 thousand years ago no glacier existed here.The glacier plexus of the Belukha Mountain area is a natural reference point to monitor the state of glacierization and to justify predicted glacio-climatic situations. We propose to organize an international project aimed at the monitoring of these glacier areas and then to prepare a joint monograph devoted to its glacio-climatic characteristics. This could be performed in the framework of the Russian-Kazakh international programs with participation of scientists from other countries. Now is the right time to prepare summarizing monographs on glacierization of the main glacier clusters in the Russian mountains, similar to the series of books on representative glacier basins in USSR published in the 1980s. The Belukha glaciers should certainly be included in this series.

  19. Internationally coordinated glacier monitoring: strategy and datasets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoelzle, Martin; Armstrong, Richard; Fetterer, Florence; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Haeberli, Wilfried; Kääb, Andreas; Kargel, Jeff; Nussbaumer, Samuel; Paul, Frank; Raup, Bruce; Zemp, Michael

    2014-05-01

    Internationally coordinated monitoring of long-term glacier changes provide key indicator data about global climate change and began in the year 1894 as an internationally coordinated effort to establish standardized observations. Today, world-wide monitoring of glaciers and ice caps is embedded within the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as an important Essential Climate Variable (ECV). The Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) was established in 1999 with the task of coordinating measurements and to ensure the continuous development and adaptation of the international strategies to the long-term needs of users in science and policy. The basic monitoring principles must be relevant, feasible, comprehensive and understandable to a wider scientific community as well as to policy makers and the general public. Data access has to be free and unrestricted, the quality of the standardized and calibrated data must be high and a combination of detailed process studies at selected field sites with global coverage by satellite remote sensing is envisaged. Recently a GTN-G Steering Committee was established to guide and advise 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. Several online databases containing a wealth of diverse data types having different levels of detail and global coverage provide fast access to continuously updated information on glacier fluctuation and inventory data. For world-wide inventories, data are now available through (a) the World Glacier Inventory containing tabular information of about 130,000 glaciers covering an area of around 240,000 km2, (b) the GLIMS-database containing digital outlines of around 118,000 glaciers with different time stamps and

  20. The future sea-level rise contribution of Greenland’s glaciers and ice caps

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Machguth, H.; Rastner, P.; Bolch, T.

    2013-01-01

    . 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 m resolution digital elevation model yielding a high level of detail and ensuring that important......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...

  1. SAR investigations of glaciers in northwestern North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingle, Craig S.; Harrison, William D.

    1995-01-01

    The objective of this project was to investigate the utility of satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery for measurement of geophysical parameters on Alaskan glaciers relevant to their mass balance and dynamics, including: (1) the positions of firn lines (late-summer snow lines); (2) surface velocities on fast-flowing (surging) glaciers, and also on slower steady-flow glaciers; and (3) the positions and changes in the positions of glacier termini. Preliminary studies of topography and glacier surface velocity with SAR interferometry have also been carried out. This project was motivated by the relationships of multi-year to decadal changes in glacier geometry to changing climate, and the probable significant contribution of Alaskan glaciers to rising sea level.

  2. Exploring uncertainty in glacier mass balance modelling with Monte Carlo simulation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Machguth

    2008-12-01

    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.

  3. Exploring uncertainty in glacier mass balance modelling with Monte Carlo simulation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Machguth

    2008-06-01

    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.

  4. More Data and Better Tools for the GLIMS Glacier Database

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raup, B. H.; Armstrong, R. L.; Cogley, J. G.; Hock, R.

    2015-12-01

    Earth's glaciers are changing rapidly in response to a changing climate, and this has implications for people in numerous ways, such as increased hazards from glacial lake outburst floods, changes to water resources, and increasing sea level. To understand these changes, it is vitally important to monitor glaciers through time, measuring their areal extent, changes in volume, flow velocities, snow lines, elevation distribution, and changes to associated water bodies. The glacier database of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative is the only multi-temporal glacier database capable of tracking all these glacier measurements and providing them to the scientific community and broader public.This contribution presents recent results in 1) expansion of the GLIMS Glacier Database in geographic coverage by drawing on the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) and other new data sets; 2) new tools for visualizing and downloading GLIMS data in a choice of formats and data models; 3) a new data model for handling multiple glacier records through time while avoiding double-counting of glacier number or area; and 4) a new system of collaboration between all members of the glacier mapping community to streamline the process of meeting various community needs. The result of this work promises to be an improved glacier data repository that will be useful for tracking changes in water resources, hazards, and mass budgets of the world's glaciers.

  5. Compositional characteristics of n-alkanes of the glaciers over the Tibetan Plateau and their environmental and climatic significances

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LI QuanLian; WANG NingLian; WU XiaoBo; PU JianChen; HE JianQiao; XIE Jun

    2009-01-01

    State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science,Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Lanzhou 730000,ChinaWe report on the concentration and compositional features of n-alkanes of natural and anthropogenic origins in the snow samples collected from the Qiyi glacier in the Qilian Mountains,the Yuzhufeng glacier in eastern Kunlun Mountains,the Xiaodongkemadi glacier in the Tanggula Mountains,and the concentration (T-HCs) from the northeast to the south over the Tibetan Plateau.The T-HCs in these studied areas were close to those in the Belukha and Sofiyskiy glacier,Russian Alati Mountains and the Dasuopu glacier in the Himalaya but were much higher than those in the Greenland ice sheet,suggesting that the mountain glaciers in the Asian continent may receive a higher loading of n-alkanes than the Greenland ice core.Moreover,the compositional characteristics of n-alkanes indicated that the n-alkanes in the studied areas were probably originated from the plant waxes as well as the fossil-fuel combustion exhaust,whereas the contribution from the lower organisms was small.In addition,the plant wax (C_n(wax)) and anthropogenic (non-C_n(wax)) contributions revealed that fast industrialization may have significant effects on the organic pollutant composition in glacier over the Tibetan Plateau and its circumference environment.Particularly,except for the Yuzhufeng glacier,the ∑nC_(21)~-/∑nC_(22)~+ and (nC_(15) +nC_(17)+nC_(19))/(nC_(27)+nC_(29)+nC_(31)) ratio decreased from the Qiyi glacier to the Gurenhekou glacier over the Tibetan Plateau,while the carbon preference index (CPI) values increased.These results indicate a decrease in terrigenous input while an increase in marine input from the northeast to the south over the Tibetan Plateau.These two ratios can be used as the climatic and environmental change indicators.

  6. Warming and drying of tundra and glacier summer climate in NW Spitsbergen from 1975 to 2014

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Przybylak Rajmund

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Temperature and precipitation conditions in the Kaffiøyra region in the summer season (21 July–31 August for the period from 1975–2014 are described based on data collected during 22 expeditions, in which meteorological measurements were carried out, and complete data series combining both original and reconstructed data. The latter ones were obtained using data from the Ny Ålesund meteorological station, which are strongly correlated with data from the Kaffiøyra region. Seasonal statistics presented for temperature and precipitation based on these two sets of data reveal only slight changes. Summer temperatures in the Kaffiøyra region in the studied period (1975–2014 showed statistically significant strong upward trends, while precipitation totals revealed a downward trend, but not statistically significant. In the studied area, based on 40-years of data, it was demonstrated that the near-surface lapse rates of summer air temperature are slightly lower in glaciated (0.58°C/100 m than in non-glaciated areas (0.67°C/100 m. Anticyclonic/cyclonic circulation types significantly increase/decrease air temperature on the Waldemar Glacier, while their impact on precipitation is markedly smaller. In summer, close correlations were observed between air temperature and such glacier characteristics as the mass balance and the location of the equilibrium line, while precipitation does not have a great influence on them.

  7. Relations between atmospheric circulation and mass balance of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCabe, G.J.; Fountain, A.G.

    1995-01-01

    The yearly net mass balance of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, has decreased since the mid-1970s. Resuls show that the decrease is primarily caused by a significant decrease in the winter mass balance. Changes in atmospheric circulation indicate a decrease in the movement of storms and moisture from the Pacific Ocean into the western contiguous United States. In addition, the increase in winter mean 700-mb heights over western Canada and the northern western contiguous United States indicates an increase in subsidence, which results in a warming and drying of the air that further reduces precipitation and also increases the ratio of rain to snow during the cold season. These factors contribute to below-average winter mass balances. -from Authors

  8. Abundant climatic information in water stable isotope record from a maritime glacier on southeastern Tibetan Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Huabiao; Xu, Baiqing; Li, Zhen; Wang, Mo; Li, Jiule; Zhang, Xiaolong

    2016-04-01

    Climatic significance of ice core stable isotope record in the Himalayas and southern Tibetan Plateau (TP), where the climate is alternately influenced by Indian summer monsoon and mid-latitude westerlies, is still debated. A newly drilled Zuoqiupu ice core from a temperate maritime glacier on the southeastern TP covering 1942-2011 is investigated in terms of the relationships between δ18O and climate parameters. Distinct seasonal variation of δ18O is observed due to high precipitation amount in this area. Thus the monsoon (June to September) and non-monsoon (October to May) δ18O records are reconstructed, respectively. The temperature effect is identified in the annual δ18O record, which is predominantly contributed by temperature control on the non-monsoon precipitation δ18O record. Conversely, the negative correlation between annual δ18O record and precipitation amount over part of Northeast India is mostly contributed by the monsoon precipitation δ18O record. The variation of monsoon δ18O record is greatly impacted by the Indian summer monsoon strength, while that of non-monsoon δ18O record is potentially associated with the mid-latitude westerly activity. The relationship between Zuoqiupu δ18O record and Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is found to be inconsistent before and after the climate shift of 1976/1977. In summer monsoon season, the role of SST in the monsoon δ18O record is more important in eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and tropical Indian Ocean before and after the shift, respectively. In non-monsoon season, however, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation has a negative impact before but positive impact after the climate shift on the non-monsoon δ18O record.

  9. Assessing simulated ecosystem processes for climate variability research at Glacier National Park, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, J.D.; Running, S.W.; Thornton, P.E.; Keane, R.E.; Ryan, K.C.; Fagre, D.B.; Key, C.H.

    1998-01-01

    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

  10. Climate Change, Glacier Retreat and Sediment Waves: Evidences from Fans in the Fox Glacial valley (New Zealand) and Analogical Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez, C. A.; Purdie, H.

    2015-12-01

    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

  11. A mascon approach to assess ice sheet and glacier mass balances and their uncertainties from GRACE data

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schrama, E.J.O.; Wouters, B.; Rietbroek, R.

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to assess the mass changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), Ice Sheets over Antarctica, and Land glaciers and Ice Caps with a global mascon method that yields monthly mass variations at 10,242 mascons. Input for this method are level 2 data from the Gravity Recovery an

  12. Glacier area changes in Northern Eurasia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khromova, Tatiana; Nosenko, Gennady; Kutuzov, Stanislav; Muraviev, Anton; Chernova, Ludmila

    2014-01-01

    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

  13. Three-Dimensional Movements of Siachen Glacier Derived from ERS-1/2 Tandem Datasets with D-InSAR and MAI Techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Daan; Jiang, Liming; Sun, Yongling; Wang, Hansheng

    2016-08-01

    Glacier surface velocity is one of the key para-meters of glacier dynamics and mass balance. Siachen glaciers are adversely affected due to global climate warming as reflected by these glaciers showing continuous retreat in the Karakoram. The InSAR method is a greatly valued technique to monitor the glacier flow velocity. Some previous study of Himalayan glacier velocity has been reported, but it's only the one dimensional (LOS) velocity and rare research has been made to derived the 3D velocity. The study fuse D-InSAR and MAI measurements to obtain three dimensional velocity of mountain glacier. It revealed the characteristic of glacier movement and provided reference for mass balance and climate changes. This preliminary results demonstrate the potential of integration of D-InSAR and MAI methods for estimating 3-D movements of mountain glaciers.

  14. An aerial view of 80 years of climate-related glacier fluctuations in southeast Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bjørk, Anders A.; Kjær, Kurt H.; Korsgaard, Niels J.

    2012-01-01

    Widespread retreat of glaciers has been observed along the southeastern margin of Greenland. This retreat has been associated with increased air and ocean temperatures. However, most observations are from the satellite era; presatellite observations of Greenlandic glaciers are rare. Here we present......-terminating outlet glaciers, as well as local glaciers and ice caps, over the past 80 years. The images reveal a regional response to external forcing regardless of glacier type, terminal environment and size. Furthermore, the recent retreat was matched in its vigour during a period of warming in the 1930s...... with comparable increases in air temperature. We show that many land-terminating glaciers underwent a more rapid retreat in the 1930s than in the 2000s, whereas marine-terminating glaciers retreated more rapidly during the recent warming....

  15. Scale effects impeding palaeoclimate reconstructions from mountain glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prinz, Rainer; Nicholson, Lindsey; Mölg, Thomas; Kaser, Georg

    2016-04-01

    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

  16. Age, origin and evolution of Antarctic debris-covered glaciers: Implications for landscape evolution and long-term climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackay, Sean Leland

    Antarctic debris-covered glaciers are potential archives of long-term climate change. However, the geomorphic response of these systems to climate forcing is not well understood. To address this concern, I conducted a series of field-based and numerical modeling studies in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica (MDV), with a focus on Mullins and Friedman glaciers. I used data and results from geophysical surveys, ice-core collection and analysis, geomorphic mapping, micro-meteorological stations, and numerical-process models to (1) determine the precise origin and distribution of englacial and supraglacial debris within these buried-ice systems, (2) quantify the fundamental processes and feedbacks that govern interactions among englacial and supraglacial debris, (3) establish a process-based model to quantify the inventory of cosmogenic nuclides within englacial and supraglacial debris, and (4) isolate the governing relationships between the evolution of englacial /supraglacial debris and regional climate forcing. Results from 93 field excavations, 21 ice cores, and 24 km of ground-penetrating radar data show that Mullins and Friedman glaciers contain vast areas of clean glacier ice interspersed with inclined layers of concentrated debris. The similarity in the pattern of englacial debris bands across both glaciers, along with model results that call for negligible basal entrainment, is best explained by episodic environmental change at valley headwalls. To constrain better the timing of debris-band formation, I developed a modeling framework that tracks the accumulation of cosmogenic 3He in englacial and supraglacial debris. Results imply that ice within Mullins Glacier increases in age non-linearly from 12 ka to ˜220 ka in areas of active flow (up to >> 1.6 Ma in areas of slow-moving-to-stagnant ice) and that englacial debris bands originate with a periodicity of ˜41 ka. Modeling studies suggest that debris bands originate in synchronicity with changes in

  17. Sharply increased mass loss from glaciers and ice caps in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gardner, Alex S; Moholdt, Geir; Wouters, Bert; Wolken, Gabriel J; Burgess, David O; Sharp, Martin J; Cogley, J Graham; Braun, Carsten; Labine, Claude

    2011-05-19

    Mountain glaciers and ice caps are contributing significantly to present rates of sea level rise and will continue to do so over the next century and beyond. The Canadian Arctic Archipelago, located off the northwestern shore of Greenland, contains one-third of the global volume of land ice outside the ice sheets, but its contribution to sea-level change remains largely unknown. Here we show that the Canadian Arctic Archipelago has recently lost 61 ± 7 gigatonnes per year (Gt yr(-1)) of ice, contributing 0.17 ± 0.02 mm yr(-1) to sea-level rise. Our estimates are of regional mass changes for the ice caps and glaciers of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago referring to the years 2004 to 2009 and are based on three independent approaches: surface mass-budget modelling plus an estimate of ice discharge (SMB+D), repeat satellite laser altimetry (ICESat) and repeat satellite gravimetry (GRACE). All three approaches show consistent and large mass-loss estimates. Between the periods 2004-2006 and 2007-2009, the rate of mass loss sharply increased from 31 ± 8 Gt yr(-1) to 92 ± 12 Gt yr(-1) in direct response to warmer summer temperatures, to which rates of ice loss are highly sensitive (64 ± 14 Gt yr(-1) per 1 K increase). The duration of the study is too short to establish a long-term trend, but for 2007-2009, the increase in the rate of mass loss makes the Canadian Arctic Archipelago the single largest contributor to eustatic sea-level rise outside Greenland and Antarctica.

  18. Disappearance of the glacier on Mama Cotacachi: ethnoecological research and climate change in the Ecuadorian Andes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rhoades, R.

    2008-12-01

    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.

  19. Model based historical runoff contribution from an Alpine glacier

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoccatelli, Davide; Bonato, Paola; Carturan, Luca; Dalla Fontana, Giancarlo; De Blasi, Fabrizio; Borga, Marco

    2016-04-01

    The aim of this work is to analyze how climatic variability and glacier retreat impact the water balance of a small (8.5 km2) glaciarised catchment in the Eastern Italia Alps over a 30 year (1983-2013) period. The analysis is carried out by coupling local high quality data and a glacio-hydrological model able to simulate both the glacier and hydrology dynamics. Runoff contribution from glacier ice is related with trends in climatic variables and with glacier retreat. The area analyzed is the headwater of Noce Bianco river basin, lying in the Ortles-Cevedale group and including the La Mare glacier. During the study period the glacier area decreased from 4.7 km2 (50% basin area) to 3.47 km2 (40% basin area). In this area the following observations are available: 30 years of daily meteorological data at high elevation close to the catchment; three DTMs of the glacier, covering the entire period, which enable the calculation of the volume change and geodetic mass balance; direct glaciological mass balance observations over the period 2003-2013; discharge measurement at the catchment outlet over the period 2007-2013. The data availability and the significant shrinking of the glacier during the analyzed period make this catchment ideal for studying the hydrological impacts of glacier retreat. The semi-distributed conceptual model includes a snow and glacier accumulation and ablation module, based on temperature-radiation index and a glacier retreat model. The glacier retreat model allows to use the annual simulated glacier mass balance to update the glacier area (Huss et al., 2010). The model simulations are carried out from 1983 to 2013. We show that the model is able to capture adequately the measured daily discharge, the observed changes in glacier area and their spatial distribution. The contribution of glacier ice meltwater to annual runoff is below 10% in the first decade of simulation. This variable however showed a clear increasing trend, with peaks for single

  20. Glacier Surface Velocity Measurements from Radar Interferometry and the Principle of Mass Conservation

    OpenAIRE

    Mohr, Johan Jacob; Reeh, Niels

    2002-01-01

    Presents a relation between the three glacier surface velocity components, the surface flux-divergence, glacier thickness and bottom melt and displacement. The relation can be used as an extension to the surface parallel flow assumption often used with interferometric synthetic aperture measurements of glacier velocities. The assumptions for the derivation are described and important limitations high-lighted.

  1. The influence of air temperature inversions on snowmelt and glacier mass-balance simulations, Ammassalik island, SE Greenland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mernild, Sebastian Haugard [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Liston, Glen [COLORADO STATE UNIV.

    2009-01-01

    In many applications, a realistic description of air temperature inversions is essential for accurate snow and glacier ice melt, and glacier mass-balance simulations. A physically based snow-evolution modeling system (SnowModel) was used to simulate eight years (1998/99 to 2005/06) of snow accumulation and snow and glacier ice ablation from numerous small coastal marginal glaciers on the SW-part of Ammassalik Island in SE Greenland. These glaciers are regularly influenced by inversions and sea breezes associated with the adjacent relatively low temperature and frequently ice-choked fjords and ocean. To account for the influence of these inversions on the spatiotemporal variation of air temperature and snow and glacier melt rates, temperature inversion routines were added to MircoMet, the meteorological distribution sub-model used in SnowModel. The inversions were observed and modeled to occur during 84% of the simulation period. Modeled inversions were defined not to occur during days with strong winds and high precipitation rates due to the potential of inversion break-up. Field observations showed inversions to extend from sea level to approximately 300 m a.s.l., and this inversion level was prescribed in the model simulations. Simulations with and without the inversion routines were compared. The inversion model produced air temperature distributions with warmer lower elevation areas and cooler higher elevation areas than without inversion routines due to the use of cold sea-breeze base temperature data from underneath the inversion. This yielded an up to 2 weeks earlier snowmelt in the lower areas and up to 1 to 3 weeks later snowmelt in the higher elevation areas of the simulation domain. Averaged mean annual modeled surface mass-balance for all glaciers (mainly located above the inversion layer) was -720 {+-} 620 mm w.eq. y{sup -1} for inversion simulations, and -880 {+-} 620 mm w.eq. y{sup -1} without the inversion routines, a difference of 160 mm w.eq. y

  2. In-situ glacier monitoring in Zackenberg (NE Greenland): Freya Glacier and A.P. Olsen Ice Cap

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hynek, Bernhard; Hillerup Larsen, Signe; Binder, Daniel; Weyss, Gernot; Citterio, Michele; Schöner, Wolfgang; Ahlstrøm, Andreas Peter

    2015-04-01

    Due to the scarceness of glacier mass balance measurements from glaciers and local ice caps in East Greenland and the strong impact that local glaciers and ice caps outside the Ice Sheet are expected to exert on sea level rise in the present century, in 2007 and 2008 two glaciological monitoring programmes of peripheral Greenlandic glaciers started to operate near the Zackenberg Research Station in NE Greenland (74° N, 21° W). Freya (Fröya) Glacier is a 6 km long valley glacier situated on Clavering Island 10 km southeast of the Zackenberg research station with a surface area of 5.3 km2 (2013), reaching from 1305 m to 273 m a.s.l. The glacier is mainly oriented to NW and surrounded by high mountain ridges on both sides. A.P. Olsen Ice Cap is a 295 km2 peripheral ice cap located 35 km northeast of Zackenberg. The mass balance monitoring network is situated on the SE outlet glacier reaching from 1425 m to 525 m which drains into the hydrological basin of Zackenberg. This outlet glacier dams a lake which caused several glacial outburst floods within the period of investigation. The two studied glaciers are very close to each other (35 km), but they are complementary in many ways. Apart from the difference in size, which requires different monitoring strategies, Freya Glacier is nearer to the coast and therefore exposed to a more maritime climate with higher winter accumulation. The different area-altitude distribution of both glaciers is one of the main reason for the significantly more positive mean specific mass balance of A.P. Olsen Ice Cap compared to Freya Glacier. In this talk we present the glaciological monitoring on both glaciers and the main results of the first seven years of data.

  3. Recent changes in area and thickness of Torngat Mountain glaciers (northern Labrador, Canada)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrand, Nicholas E.; Way, Robert G.; Bell, Trevor; Sharp, Martin J.

    2017-01-01

    The Torngat Mountains National Park, northern Labrador, Canada, contains more than 120 small glaciers: the only remaining glaciers in continental northeast North America. These small cirque glaciers exist in a unique topo-climatic setting, experiencing temperate maritime summer conditions yet very cold and dry winters, and may provide insights into the deglaciation dynamics of similar small glaciers in temperate mountain settings. Due to their size and remote location, very little information exists regarding the health of these glaciers. Just a single study has been published on the contemporary glaciology of the Torngat Mountains, focusing on net mass balances from 1981 to 1984. This paper addresses the extent to which glaciologically relevant climate variables have changed in northern Labrador in concert with 20th-century Arctic warming, and how these changes have affected Torngat Mountain glaciers. Field surveys and remote-sensing analyses were used to measure regional glacier area loss of 27 % from 1950 to 2005, substantial rates of ice surface thinning (up to 6 m yr-1) and volume losses at Abraham, Hidden, and Minaret glaciers, between 2005 and 2011. Glacier mass balances appear to be controlled by variations in winter precipitation and, increasingly, by strong summer and autumn atmospheric warming since the early 1990s, though further observations are required to fully understand mass balance sensitivities. This study provides the first comprehensive contemporary assessment of Labrador glaciers and will inform both regional impact assessments and syntheses of global glacier mass balance.

  4. Internationally coordinated glacier monitoring - a timeline since 1894

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nussbaumer, Samuel U.; Armstrong, Richard; Fetterer, Florence; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Hoelzle, Martin; Machguth, Horst; Mölg, Nico; Paul, Frank; Raup, Bruce H.; Zemp, Michael

    2016-04-01

    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

  5. Modelling glacier change in the Everest region, Nepal Himalaya

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Shea

    2014-10-01

    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%.

  6. Modeling and hazard mapping of complex cascading mass movement processes: the case of glacier lake 513, Carhuaz, Peru

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, Demian; Huggel, Christian; García, Javier; Ludeña, Sebastian; Cochachin, Alejo

    2013-04-01

    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

  7. Modelling the hydrological response of debris-free and debris-covered glaciers to present climatic conditions in the semiarid Andes of central Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ayala, Alvaro; Pellicciotti, Francesca; MacDonell, Shelley; McPhee, James; Vivero, Sebastián; Campos, Cristián; Egli, Pascal

    2016-04-01

    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

  8. Climate Reconstructions for the Younger Dryas in Graubünden, Swiss Alps: Using Glacier Geometry and Hypsometry to Estimate Equilibrium Line Altitude

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keeler, D. G.; Rupper, S.; Schaefer, J. M.; Finkel, R. C.

    2014-12-01

    Mountain glaciers serve as important paleoclimate records due to the direct physical link between glacier extent and climate. The high sensitivity of mountain glaciers to even small perturbations in the climate has the potential to provide very detailed records of regional glacier and climate histories. Recent progress in age determination techniques such as surface exposure dating has greatly improved the temporal precision of glacial records. The conversion of changes in glacier geometries to a climate signal, however, remains a significant challenge. A particular need exists for a versatile method easily applicable to diverse regions and conditions around the globe. Because the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) provides a more explicit comparison of climate than properties such as glacier length or area, ELA methods lend themselves well to such a need, and allow for a more direct investigation of the primary drivers of mountain glaciations during specific events. Here we present a new, robust ELA model for quantifying changes in climate directly from glacier geometry. The model derives from a linear flow model based on Glen's Flow law while fully accounting for glacier hypsometry. As a preliminary application, we combined our modeled ELA reconstructions with a new 10Be chronology of late glacial culminations in Graubünden in the Swiss Alps. These glacier culminations occurred during the Egesen Stadial, which has been correlated to the Younger Dryas (YD) interval. Results for two related glacier systems in Graubünden reveal an ELA depression of 365-401 m (depending on the moraines chosen) during the Egesen stage/YD compared to the modern ELA. This agrees well both with established estimates for ELA depressions in the region and an additional application performed using our model and previously determined ages on the nearby Lagrev Glacier (a 370 m ELA depression). We then reconstruct the temperature and precipitation changes required to explain the ELA changes for

  9. Ice flow dynamics and mass balance of Vatnajökull outlet glaciers observed by X-band SAR Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagler, T.; Rott, H.; Magnússon, E.; Floricioiu, D.; Mueller, F.; Scharrer, K.

    2012-04-01

    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

  10. An aerial view of 80 years of climate-related glacier fluctuations in southeast Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bjørk, Anders A.; Kjær, Kurt H.; Korsgaard, Niels J.; Khan, Shfaqat A.; Kjeldsen, Kristian K.; Andresen, Camilla S.; Box, Jason E.; Larsen, Nicolaj K.; Funder, Svend

    2012-06-01

    Widespread retreat of glaciers has been observed along the southeastern margin of Greenland. This retreat has been associated with increased air and ocean temperatures. However, most observations are from the satellite era; presatellite observations of Greenlandic glaciers are rare. Here we present a unique record that documents the frontal positions for 132 southeast Greenlandic glaciers from rediscovered historical aerial imagery beginning in the early 1930s. We combine the historical aerial images with both early and modern satellite imagery to extract frontal variations of marine- and land-terminating outlet glaciers, as well as local glaciers and ice caps, over the past 80 years. The images reveal a regional response to external forcing regardless of glacier type, terminal environment and size. Furthermore, the recent retreat was matched in its vigour during a period of warming in the 1930s with comparable increases in air temperature. We show that many land-terminating glaciers underwent a more rapid retreat in the 1930s than in the 2000s, whereas marine-terminating glaciers retreated more rapidly during the recent warming.

  11. Mass budgets of the Lambert, Mellor and Fisher Glaciers and basal fluxes beneath their flowbands on Amery Ice Shelf

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WEN; JiaHong

    2007-01-01

    .Ann Glaciol,2002,34:269―276[14]Joughin I,Tulaczyk S.Positive mass balance of the Ross ice streams,West Antarctica,Science,2002,295:476―480[15]Rignot E.East Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves mass balance from satellite data.Ann Glaciol,2002,34:228―234[16]Liu H,Jezek K C,Li B.Development of an Antarctic digital elevation model by integrating cartographic and remotely sensed data:A geographic information system based approach,J Geophys Res,1999,104(B10):23199―23214[17]Zwally H J,Schutz B,Abdalati W,et al.ICESat's laser measurements of polar ice,atmosphere,ocean,and land.J Geodyn,2002,34 (3-4):405―445[18]Herzfeld U C,ed.Atlas of Antarctica:Topographic Maps From Geostatistical Analysis of Satellite Radar Altimeter Data.New York·Tokyo:Springer Verlag Heidelberg,2004.1―65[19]Joughin I,Padman L.Melting and freezing beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf,Antarctica.Geophys Res Lett,2003,30(9):1477[20]Vaughan D G,Bamber J L,Giovinetto M B,et al.Cooper reassessment of net surface mass balance in Antarctica.J Climate,1999,12(4):933―946[21]Giovinetto M B,Zwally H J.Spatial distribution of net surface accumulation on the Antarctic ice sheet.Ann Glaciol,2000,31:171― 178[22]Lythe M B,Vaughan D G.The BEDMAP Consortium.BEDMAP:A new ice thickness and subglacial topographic model of Antarctica.J Geophys Res,2001,106(B6):11335―11351[23]Fricker H A,Hyland G,Coleman R,et al.Digital elevation models for the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system,East Antarctica,from ERS-1 satellite radar altimetry.J Glaciol,2000,46(155):553―560[24]Fricker H A,Warner R C,Allison I.Mass balance of the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system,East Antarctica:a comparison of computed balance fluxes and measured fluxes.J Glaciol,2000,46(155):561―570[25]Jezek K C.Glaciological properties of the Antarctic ice sheet from RADARSAT-1 synthetic aperture radar imagery.Ann Glaciol,1999,29:286―290[26]Allison I.The mass budget of the Lambert Glacier drainage basin,Antarctica.J Glaciol,1979,22(87):223―235

  12. Mass changes of glaciers over the Central Karakoram derived from TanDEM-X and SRTM/X-SAR Digital Elevation Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rankl, Melanie; Braun, Matthias

    2015-04-01

    Snow cover and glaciers in the Karakoram region are important freshwater resources for many downriver communities as they provide water for irrigation and hydro power. A better understanding of current glacier changes is hence an important baseline information. Glaciers in the Karakoram have shown stable and positive glacier mass balances during recent years as well as stable and advancing termini positions. The Karakoram is also known for a large number of surge-type glaciers. Here, we present geodetic glacier elevation and mass changes using TanDEM-X and SRTM/X-SAR Digital Elevation Models between 2000 and 2012. Based on previous glacier inventories for the Karakoram, we show elevation changes and glacier mass balances for glaciers with advancing and stable termini between 2000 and 2012 as well as surge-type glaciers separately. In order to convert volume changes to mass changes, we applied different density scenarios (i.e., constant densities for ice and snow or zonally variable densities). Our findings show average glacier thickening of +0.01 ± 0.02 m a-1 or mass gain of +0.0099 ± 2.8x10-5 Gt a-1(using a density of 850 kg m-3) between 2000 and 2012 for parts of the Central Karakoram. Surge-type glaciers and advancing glaciers indicated slight surface lowering, while the majority of the studied glaciers showed stable termini and surface thickening. Our measurements are independent from varying penetration depths of the radar signal or temporal decorrelation between image acquisitions. Both datasets were acquired in the X-band frequency under assumed similar surface conditions. The bistatic TanDEM-X mission is highly suitable for interferometric processing due to high spatial resolutions and only 3 sec time lag between TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X overpasses. We want to stress the enormous potential of the TanDEM-X mission to estimate geodetic glacier mass balances, in particular when compared to elevation data sets acquired in a similar frequency and comparable

  13. Response of Modern Monsoon Temperate Glacier to Climate Change in Yulong Mountain%玉龙雪山现代季风温冰川对气候变化的响应

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    杜建括; 辛惠娟; 何元庆; 牛贺文; 蒲焘; 曹伟宏; 张涛

    2013-01-01

    Sensitive responding to climate change is the most remarkable feature of monsoon temperate glaciers,as the most direct and brightest indicator of climate change it would substantially go forward or backward by a weak change of temperature.This article selects Yulong Mountain as research region,which is the southernmost temperate glacier region at present in China and Eurasian continent.Based on field observation data and remote sensing data,combining previous research results,the response process of Yulong Mountain to climatic change is emphatically analyzed.Additionally,this article especially studies the area,shape,temperature,width,and terminus etc variation of Baishui No.1 glacier,and discusses the main causes of glacial changes.The result was as follows:1) Glaciers retreat was continuous and obvious in Yulong Mountain.Compared with 19 glaciers with total area of 11.6 km2 in 1957,6 glaciers had disappeared completely,and only 13 glaciers exist at present,with a total area of 5.30 km2 in 2001 and 4.42 km2 in 2009.The changing rate of glacier area was-1.19% in 1957-2009,which was much faster than that of other typical glacier region in China.2)Compared with 1982,the quantity of the Baishui No.lglacier crevasses increased and their scales also extend in the context of global climate change,the body of glacier had ruptured on the firn basin.A series of massive crevasses had formed on the glacier surface since 2011.Meanwhile,the.ice river/lake had appeared since 2008,glacial ablation was much intense.3) The glacier terminus elevation displayed rising state overall in 1982-2011,and the rising amplitude had increased since 1999.The retreat speed of Baishui No.1 glacier was 8.8 m/a in 1982-2011,and increased to 13.8 m/a in 1999-2011.4) The lowest temperature from glacier surface to 8 m depth at the ablation area was-0.8℃ in 1982,and rising to-0.39℃ in 2009.Rising glacier temperature caused melt speed of the ice accelerate and mass balance loss intensifying.5) The

  14. Region-wide glacier mass budgets and area changes for the Central Tien Shan between ~ 1975 and 1999 using Hexagon KH-9 imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pieczonka, Tino; Bolch, Tobias

    2015-05-01

    The meltwater released by the glaciers in the Central Tien Shan feeds in particular the Tarim River which is the main artery for the oases at the northern margin of the Taklamakan desert. The correct assessment of the contribution of the glaciers' meltwater to the total runoff is hampered by the lack of long-term measurements of glacier mass budgets. Digital terrain models (DTMs) for the different regions in the Central Tien Shan were generated based on ~ 1975 KH-9 Hexagon imagery and compared to the SRTM3 DTM acquired in February 2000. Moreover, glacier area changes for the period ~ 1975-2008 have been measured by means of multi-temporal optical satellite imagery. The geodetic mass budget estimates for a glacierized area of 5000 km2 revealed increasing mass loss east to west and from the inner to the outer ranges. Highest mass loss accompanied by the most pronounced glacier retreat was found for the Ak-Shirak massif with a region-wide mass balance of - 0.51 ± 0.36 m w.e. a- 1 and a rate of area change of - 0.27 ± 0.15% a- 1, whilst moderate mass loss was observed for the Inylchek (0.20 ± 0.44 m w.e. a- 1) and Tomur area (0.33 ± 0.30 m w.e. a- 1) despite partly debris cover. These latter regions also revealed the lowest glacier shrinkage within the entire Central Tien Shan. The total glacier mass loss of 0.35 ± 0.34 m w.e. a- 1 is, however, within the global average whilst the glacier area shrinkage is comparatively low. On average, the investigated glacierized area of ~ 6600 km2 shrank by 0.11 ± 0.15% a- 1 only. We could also identify several surge-type glaciers. The results are consistent with in-situ mass balance measurements for Karabatkak Glacier and previously published results of the Ak-Shirak range proving the suitability of declassified imagery for glacier change investigations. The contribution to the runoff of Aksu River, the largest tributary of the Tarim River, due to glacier imbalance has been determined at ~ 20% for the 1975-2000 period.

  15. Runoff, precipitation, mass balance, and ice velocity measurements at South Cascade Glacier, Washington, 1993 balance year

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krimmel, R.M.

    1994-01-01

    Winter snow accumulation and summer snow, firn, and ice ablation were measured at South Cascade Glacier, Wash., to determine the winter and net balance for the 1993 balance year. The 1993 winter balance, averaged over the glacier, was 1.98 meters, and the net balance was -1.23 meters. This negative valance continued a trend of negative balance years beginning in 1977. Air temperature, barometric pressure, and runoff from this glacier basin and an adjacent non-glacierized basin were also continuously measured. Surface ice velocity was measured over an annual period. This report makes all these data available to users throughout the glaciological and climato1ogical community.

  16. The impact of Saharan dust and black carbon on albedo and long-term mass balance of an Alpine glacier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Gabbi

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Light-absorbing impurities in snow and ice control glacier melt as shortwave radiation represents the main component of the surface energy balance. Here, we investigate the long-term effect of snow impurities, i.e., mineral dust and black carbon (BC, on albedo and glacier mass balance. The analysis was performed over the period 1914–2014 for two sites on Claridenfirn, Swiss Alps, where an outstanding 100-year record of seasonal mass balance measurements is available. Information on atmospheric deposition of mineral dust and BC over the last century was retrieved from two firn/ice cores of high-alpine sites. A combined mass balance and snow/firn layer model was employed to assess the effects of melt and accumulation processes on the impurity concentration at the surface and thus on albedo and glacier mass balance. Compared to pure snow conditions, the presence of Saharan dust and BC lowered the mean annual albedo by 0.04–0.06 depending on the location on the glacier. Consequently, annual melt was increased by 15–19 %, and the mean annual mass balance was reduced by about 280–490 mm w.e. BC clearly dominated absorption which is about 3 times higher than that of mineral dust. The upper site has experienced mainly positive mass balances and impurity layers were continuously buried whereas at the lower site, surface albedo was more strongly influenced by re-exposure of dust and BC-enriched layers due to frequent years with negative mass balances.

  17. The impact of Saharan dust and black carbon on albedo and long-term mass balance of an Alpine glacier

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabbi, J.; Huss, M.; Bauder, A.; Cao, F.; Schwikowski, M.

    2015-07-01

    Light-absorbing impurities in snow and ice control glacier melt as shortwave radiation represents the main component of the surface energy balance. Here, we investigate the long-term effect of snow impurities, i.e., mineral dust and black carbon (BC), on albedo and glacier mass balance. The analysis was performed over the period 1914-2014 for two sites on Claridenfirn, Swiss Alps, where an outstanding 100-year record of seasonal mass balance measurements is available. Information on atmospheric deposition of mineral dust and BC over the last century was retrieved from two firn/ice cores of high-alpine sites. A combined mass balance and snow/firn layer model was employed to assess the effects of melt and accumulation processes on the impurity concentration at the surface and thus on albedo and glacier mass balance. Compared to pure snow conditions, the presence of Saharan dust and BC lowered the mean annual albedo by 0.04-0.06 depending on the location on the glacier. Consequently, annual melt was increased by 15-19 %, and the mean annual mass balance was reduced by about 280-490 mm w.e. BC clearly dominated absorption which is about 3 times higher than that of mineral dust. The upper site has experienced mainly positive mass balances and impurity layers were continuously buried whereas at the lower site, surface albedo was more strongly influenced by re-exposure of dust and BC-enriched layers due to frequent years with negative mass balances.

  18. The impact of Saharan dust and black carbon on albedo and long-term glacier mass balance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Gabbi

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Light-absorbing impurities in snow and ice control glacier melt as shortwave radiation represents the main component of the surface energy balance. Here, we investigate the long-term effect of snow impurities, i.e. Saharan dust and black carbon (BC, on albedo and glacier mass balance. The analysis was performed over the period 1914–2014 for two sites on Claridenfirn, Swiss Alps, where an outstanding 100 year record of seasonal mass balance measurements is available. Information on atmospheric deposition of mineral dust and BC over the last century was retrieved from two firn/ice cores of high-alpine sites. A combined mass balance and snow/firn layer model was employed to assess the dust/BC-albedo feedback. Compared to pure snow conditions, the presence of Saharan dust and BC lowered the mean annual albedo by 0.04–0.06 and increased melt by 15–19% on average depending on the location on the glacier. BC clearly dominated absorption which is about three times higher than that of mineral dust. The upper site has experienced mainly positive mass balances and impurity layers were continuously buried whereas at the lower site, surface albedo was more strongly influenced by re-exposure of dust-enriched layers due to frequent years with negative mass balances.

  19. Present dynamics and future prognosis of a slowly surging glacier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. E. Flowers

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Glacier surges are a well-known example of an internal dynamic oscillation whose occurrence is not a direct response to the external climate forcing, but whose character (e.g. period, mechanism may depend on the glacier's environmental or climate setting. We examine the dynamics of a small (~5 km2 valley glacier in the Yukon Territory of Canada, where two previous surges have been photographically documented and an unusually slow surge is currently underway. To characterize the dynamics of the present surge, and to speculate on the future of this glacier, we employ a higher-order flowband model of ice dynamics with a Coulomb-friction sliding law in both diagnostic and prognostic simulations. Diagnostic (force balance calculations capture the measured ice-surface velocity profile only when high basal water pressures (55–90% of flotation are prescribed over the central region of the glacier, consistent with where evidence of the surge has been identified. This leads to sliding accounting for 50–100% of the total surface motion. Prognostic simulations, where the glacier geometry evolves in response to a prescribed surface mass balance, reveal a significant role played by a large bedrock bump beneath the current equilibrium line of the glacier. This bump provides resistance to ice flow sufficient to cause the formation of a bulge in the ice-surface profile. We suggest that the bedrock bump contributes to the propensity for surges in this glacier, such that conditions suppressing ice-bulge formation over the bump may also inhibit surges. In our calculations such a situation arises for sufficiently negative values of mass balance. Collectively, these results corroborate our interpretation of the current glacier flow regime as indicative of a "slow surge", and confirm a relationship between surge incidence or character and the net mass balance. Our results also highlight the importance of glacier bed topography in controlling ice

  20. Present dynamics and future prognosis of a slowly surging glacier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. E. Flowers

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Glacier surges are a well-known example of an internal dynamic oscillation whose occurrence is not a direct response to the external climate forcing, but whose character (i.e. period, amplitude, mechanism may depend on the glacier's environmental or climate setting. We examine the dynamics of a small (∼5 km2 valley glacier in Yukon, Canada, where two previous surges have been photographically documented and an unusually slow surge is currently underway. To characterize the dynamics of the present surge, and to speculate on the future of this glacier, we employ a higher-order flowband model of ice dynamics with a regularized Coulomb-friction sliding law in both diagnostic and prognostic simulations. Diagnostic (force balance calculations capture the measured ice-surface velocity profile only when non-zero basal water pressures are prescribed over the central region of the glacier, coincident with where evidence of the surge has been identified. This leads to sliding accounting for 50–100% of the total surface motion in this region. Prognostic simulations, where the glacier geometry evolves in response to a prescribed surface mass balance, reveal a significant role played by a bedrock ridge beneath the current equilibrium line of the glacier. Ice thickening occurs above the ridge in our simulations, until the net mass balance reaches sufficiently negative values. We suggest that the bedrock ridge may contribute to the propensity for surges in this glacier by promoting the development of the reservoir area during quiescence, and may permit surges to occur under more negative balance conditions than would otherwise be possible. Collectively, these results corroborate our interpretation of the current glacier flow regime as indicative of a slow surge that has been ongoing for some time, and support a relationship between surge incidence or character and the net mass balance. Our results also highlight the importance of glacier bed

  1. Glacier Surface Velocity Measurements from Radar Interferometry and the Principle of Mass Conservation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mohr, Johan Jacob; Reeh, Niels

    2002-01-01

    Presents a relation between the three glacier surface velocity components, the surface flux-divergence, glacier thickness and bottom melt and displacement. The relation can be used as an extension to the surface parallel flow assumption often used with interferometric synthetic aperture...

  2. Mass budgets of the Lambert, Mellor and Fisher Glaciers and basal fluxes beneath their flowbands on Amery Ice Shelf

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    We used in situ measurements and remote-sensing data sets to evaluate the mass budgets of the Lambert,Mellor and Fisher Glaciers and the basal melting and freezing rates beneath their flowbands on the Amery Ice Shelf.Our findings show the Lambert and Mellor Glaciers upstream of the ANARE Lambert Glacier Basin (LGB) traverse may have positive imbalances of 3.9±2.1 Gt a-1 and 2.1±2.4 Gt a-1,respectively,while the Fisher Glacier is approximately in balance.The upstream region as a whole has a positive imbalance of 5.9±4.9 Gt a-1.The three same glaciers downstream of the ANARE LGB traverse line are in negative imbalance,where the whole downstream region has a negative imbalance of -8.5±5.8 Gt a-1.Overall the mass budgets of the Lambert,Mellor,and Fisher Glaciers are close to balance,and the collective three-glacier system is also nearly in balance with a mass budget of -2.6±6.5 Gt a-1.The significant positive imbalances for the interior basin upstream of the ice-movement stations established in the early 1970s (GL line) reported previously are possibly due to an overestimate of the total accumulation and an underestimate of the ice flux through the GL line.The mean melting rate is -23.0±3.5 m ice a-1 near the southern grounding line,which decreases rapidly downstream,and transitions to refreezing at around 300 km from the southern extremity of the Amery Ice Shelf.Freezing rates along the flowbands are around 0.5±0.1 to 1.5±0.2 m ice a-1.The percentage of ice lost from the interior by basal melting beneath the flowbands is about 80%±5%.The total basal melting and refreezing beneath the three flowbands is 50.3±7.5 Gt ice a-1 and 7.0±1.1 Gt ice a-1,respectively.We find a much larger total basal melting and net melting than the results for the whole Amery Ice Shelf derived from previous modeling and oceanographic measurements.

  3. Glaciers of North America - Glaciers of Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnia, Bruce F.

    2008-01-01

    Glaciers cover about 75,000 km2 of Alaska, about 5 percent of the State. The glaciers are situated on 11 mountain ranges, 1 large island, an island chain, and 1 archipelago and range in elevation from more than 6,000 m to below sea level. Alaska's glaciers extend geographically from the far southeast at lat 55 deg 19'N., long 130 deg 05'W., about 100 kilometers east of Ketchikan, to the far southwest at Kiska Island at lat 52 deg 05'N., long 177 deg 35'E., in the Aleutian Islands, and as far north as lat 69 deg 20'N., long 143 deg 45'W., in the Brooks Range. During the 'Little Ice Age', Alaska's glaciers expanded significantly. The total area and volume of glaciers in Alaska continue to decrease, as they have been doing since the 18th century. Of the 153 1:250,000-scale topographic maps that cover the State of Alaska, 63 sheets show glaciers. Although the number of extant glaciers has never been systematically counted and is thus unknown, the total probably is greater than 100,000. Only about 600 glaciers (about 1 percent) have been officially named by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). There are about 60 active and former tidewater glaciers in Alaska. Within the glacierized mountain ranges of southeastern Alaska and western Canada, 205 glaciers (75 percent in Alaska) have a history of surging. In the same region, at least 53 present and 7 former large ice-dammed lakes have produced jokulhlaups (glacier-outburst floods). Ice-capped volcanoes on mainland Alaska and in the Aleutian Islands have a potential for jokulhlaups caused by subglacier volcanic and geothermal activity. Because of the size of the area covered by glaciers and the lack of large-scale maps of the glacierized areas, satellite imagery and other satellite remote-sensing data are the only practical means of monitoring regional changes in the area and volume of Alaska's glaciers in response to short- and long-term changes in the maritime and continental climates of the State. A review of the

  4. Glaciers and ice caps outside Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharp, Marin; Wolken, G.; Burgess, D.; Cogley, J.G.; Copland, L.; Thomson, L.; Arendt, A.; Wouters, B.; Kohler, J.; Andreassen, L.M.; O'Neel, Shad; Pelto, M.

    2015-01-01

    Mountain glaciers and ice caps cover an area of over 400 000 km2 in the Arctic, and are a major influence on global sea level (Gardner et al. 2011, 2013; Jacob et al. 2012). They gain mass by snow accumulation and lose mass by meltwater runoff. Where they terminate in water (ocean or lake), they also lose mass by iceberg calving. The climatic mass balance (Bclim, the difference between annual snow accumulation and annual meltwater runoff) is a widely used index of how glaciers respond to climate variability and change. The total mass balance (ΔM) is defined as the difference between annual snow accumulation and annual mass losses (by iceberg calving plus runoff).

  5. The Holocene Sedimentary Record of Climate Change from Gualas Glacier, Golfo Elefantes, Northern Patagonia (46.5°S)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandez-Vasquez, R. A.; Anderson, J. B.; Bertrand, S.; Wellner, J. S.

    2010-12-01

    Gualas Glacier is an outlet glacier of the Northern Patagonian Icefield (NPI), one of the largest temperate ice bodies on Earth. NPI is nourished by moisture from the Pacific Ocean, which is transported by the southern hemisphere Westerlies and results in year-round precipitation. This system also creates a strong West to East gradient due to the rain shadow effect of the Andes (Warren, 1993). Most glaciers of the NPI, including Gualas Glacier, are currently receding from their historical maximum position, which was reached during the northern hemisphere Little Ice Age (LIA) (Harrison and Winchester, 2000). However, virtually nothing is known about the Holocene behavior of NPI outlet glaciers prior to the LIA, although it is generally assumed that they followed the pattern of Neoglacial advances described for the Southern Patagonian Icefield (SPI) by Mercer (1965, 1968, 1976). The lack of data in this sensitive area of the Patagonian Andes, the only continental cordillera in the Southern Hemisphere that intersects the entire Westerly Wind Belt, limits our understanding of climate processes that relate mid-latitude circulation patterns with low and high latitudes as well as the inter-hemispheric coupling of climate changes. We present the results of a marine geological survey at Golfo Elefantes, the depositional basin of Gualas Glacier. The dataset includes swath bathymetry, single channel seismic data and sediment cores analyses. The studied sedimentary record spans, with some hiatuses, at least the last 10.5 Ka. No evidences of ice proximal or till deposits were found in the area, and seismic records show no evidence of basin-wide erosional hiatuses. This implies that the arcuate terminal moraines that occur along the edges of Golfo Elefantes, which have been suggested to represent Neoglacial advances of Gualas Glacier, were instead formed during the waning stages of the local LGM (Late Pleistocene) after ~12.6 ka according to paleogeographical reconstructions

  6. Changes in the Surface Area of Glaciers in Northern Eurasia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khromova, T.; Nosenko, G.

    2012-12-01

    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 the landscape changes in the glacial zone, origin of new lakes and activation of natural disaster processes, catastrophic mudflows, ice avalanches, outburst floods, and etc. The presence of glaciers in itself threats to human life, economic activity and growing infrastructure. Economical and recreational human activity in mountain regions requires relevant information on snow and ice objects. 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, their volume and changes The first estimation of glaciers state and glaciers distribution in the big part of Northern Eurasia has been done in the USSR Glacier Inventory published in 1966 -1980 as a part of IHD activity. The Inventory is based on topographic maps and air photos and reflects the status of the glaciers in 1957-1970y. There is information about 23796 glaciers with area of 78222.3 km2 in the Inventory. It covers 23 glacier systems on Northern Eurasia. In the 80th the USSR Glacier Inventory has been transformed in the digital form as a part of the World Glacier Inventory. 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 XX century. In the paper we report about 15 000 glaciers outlines for Caucasus, Pamir, Tien-Shan, Altai, Syntar-Khayata, Cherskogo Range, Kamchatka and Russian Arctic which have been derived from ASTER and Landsat imagery and could be used for glacier changes evaluation. The results show that glaciers are retreating in all these regions. There is, however

  7. Investigating ice cliff evolution and contribution to glacier mass-balance using a physically-based dynamic model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buri, Pascal; Miles, Evan; Ragettli, Silvan; Brun, Fanny; Steiner, Jakob; Pellicciotti, Francesca

    2016-04-01

    Supraglacial cliffs are a surface feature typical of debris-covered glaciers, affecting surface evolution, glacier downwasting and mass balance by providing a direct ice-atmosphere interface. As a result, melt rates can be very high and ice cliffs may account for a significant portion of the total glacier mass loss. However, their contribution to glacier mass balance has rarely been quantified through physically-based models. Most cliff energy balance models are point scale models which calculate energy fluxes at individual cliff locations. Results from the only grid based model to date accurately reflect energy fluxes and cliff melt, but modelled backwasting patterns are in some cases unrealistic, as the distribution of melt rates would lead to progressive shallowing and disappearance of cliffs. Based on a unique multitemporal dataset of cliff topography and backwasting obtained from high-resolution terrestrial and aerial Structure-from-Motion analysis on Lirung Glacier in Nepal, it is apparent that cliffs exhibit a range of behaviours but most do not rapidly disappear. The patterns of evolution cannot be explained satisfactorily by atmospheric melt alone, and are moderated by the presence of supraglacial ponds at the base of cliffs and by cliff reburial with debris. Here, we document the distinct patterns of evolution including disappearance, growth and stability. We then use these observations to improve the grid-based energy balance model, implementing periodic updates of the cliff geometry resulting from modelled melt perpendicular to the ice surface. Based on a slope threshold, pixels can be reburied by debris or become debris-free. The effect of ponds are taken into account through enhanced melt rates in horizontal direction on pixels selected based on an algorithm considering distance to the water surface, slope and lake level. We use the dynamic model to first study the evolution of selected cliffs for which accurate, high resolution DEMs are available

  8. A new glacier monitoring site in West Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abermann, J.; van As, D.; Petersen, D.; Nauta, M.

    2014-12-01

    Greenland's mountain glaciers and ice caps have recently been shown to significantly contribute to current and future sea-level rise. Despite their importance in this respect they are heavily undersampled with only about 5 currently monitored glaciers out of more than 20000 distributed over complexly varying climatic regions. In 2012, Asiaq, Greenland Survey initiated therefore a glacier mass balance program at Qassinnguit glacier (64°9'N, 51°17'W), approx. 18 km East of Nuuk, Greenland's capital. The glacier is a representative example for mountain glaciers in South-West Greenland both in terms of size (ca 1 km2) and orientation (N). A dense stake network gives the basis for the determination of the surface mass balance with the glaciological method as well as flow velocity measurements and the first two complete years are presented. An automated camera is used to monitor ablation patterns and the evolution of the snow line. In early 2014, a ground-penetrating radar campaign was performed to determine the glacier volume. Ice thicknesses up to 50 m were measured with a 100 MHz antenna and the glacier was found to be largely cold-based with some minor temperate parts. In addition to direct glaciological measurements at the site, the monitoring program complements a 7 year long time series of runoff, which allows for quantifying Qassinnguit glacier's cryospheric contribution to the total catchment. In summer 2014 an on-glacier automated weather station was installed that measures parameters to determine the surface energy balance. Preliminary results will be presented and put into a larger spatial context by relating them to measurements with the same setup at an outlet glacier of the Greenland ice sheet approximately 100 km further East. Climate between these sites differs considerably with a marked negative West - East precipitation gradient.

  9. Glacier Area and Mass Changes in the Eastern Pamir Plateau, China, Since the Early 1960s as Derived from Remote Sensing Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Shiyin; Zhang, Zhen; Jiang, Zongli; Wei, Junfeng; Shangguan, Donghui; Xu, Junli; Guo, Wanqin; Bao, Weijia

    2016-08-01

    The assessment of glacier area and mass change is crucial for assessing water reserves stored in glaciers. By comparing both the first (1963) and second Chinese glacier inventories (2009), our results indicated that glaciers in the region have been retreating by 10.8±1.1%. Glaciers in the eastern Pamir Plateau have experienced spatially heterogeneous change: slight shrinkage of glaciers was found in Muztag Ata and Kongur Tagh. However, the glaciers in Muztag Ata and Kongur Tagh have seen an overall loss of -6.99 ± 0.80 km3 in ice volume or -0.15±0.12 m water equivalent (w.e.) a-1 from 1971/76 to 2013/14 based on DEMs from ASTER, Cartosat-1, SRTM and topographic maps. In addition, the western tributary of Karayaylak Glacier surged in May 2015 was monitored with the changes of surface elevation and velocity by ASTER and Landsat images. The surge may be controlled by thermal condition.

  10. Variability in glacier hazards across the Himalayan range

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quincey, D. J.

    2011-12-01

    The dynamic response of Himalayan glaciers to recent (decadal) climatic changes varies across the range, reflecting local precipitation and temperature patterns. Glaciers in the eastern (Nepal) Himalaya are widely in recession, with mass loss dominated by surface lowering rather than terminus retreat. The formation of large glacial lakes, either behind morainic sediments or remnant glacier ice, is an ongoing concern. Topographic and surface velocity data suggest that the largest glacial lakes are situated on stagnant glacier ice, at relatively low-elevation and on glaciers with a large elevation range, reflecting the greater climatic sensitivity of low-elevation termini. In the western (Karakoram) Himalaya, an increasing number of glaciers have been reported to be advancing and thickening. Here, breaching from ice-dammed lakes, formed as glacier tongues advance across trunk valleys, is potentially the most destructive hazard. Surface velocity data reveal ice movement of 'block flow' type that is likely to influence dam formation and breaching, and also reveal local changes in ablation that regulate ice dynamics once a lake has formed. Multi-temporal satellite data show that many of the glaciers historically responsible for ice-dammed lake formation are advancing, and two that are of particular concern, are highlighted.

  11. Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers: Databases and Web interfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raup, B.; Armstrong, R.; Fetterer, F.; Gartner-Roer, I.; Haeberli, W.; Hoelzle, M.; Khalsa, S. J. S.; Nussbaumer, S.; Weaver, R.; Zemp, M.

    2012-04-01

    The Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) is an umbrella organization with links to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), and UNESCO (all organizations under the United Nations), for the curation of several glacier-related databases. It is composed of the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative. The glacier databases include the World Glacier Inventory (WGI), the GLIMS Glacier Database, the Glacier Photograph Collection at NSIDC, and the Fluctuations of Glaciers (FoG) and Mass Balance databases at WGMS. We are working toward increased interoperability between these related databases. For example, the Web interface to the GLIMS Glacier Database has also included queryable layers for the WGI and FoG databases since 2008. To improve this further, we have produced a new GTN-G web portal (http://www.gtn-g.org/), which includes a glacier metadata browsing application. This web application allows the browsing of the metadata behind the main GTN-G databases, as well as querying the metadata in order to get to the source, no matter which database holds the data in question. A new glacier inventory, called the Randolph Glacier Inventory 1.0, has recently been compiled. This compilation, which includes glacier outlines that do not have the attributes or IDs or links to other data like the GLIMS data do, was motivated by the tight deadline schedule of the sea level chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Now served from the GLIMS website (http://glims.org/), it is designed to serve that narrowly focused research goal in the near term, and in the longer term will be incorporated into the multi-temporal glacier database of GLIMS. For the required merging of large sets of glacier outlines and association of proper IDs that tie together outlines

  12. Modeling Glacier Mass Balance and Runoff in the Koxkar River Basin on the South Slope of the Tianshan Mountains, China, from 1959 to 2009

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Min Xu

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Water resources provided by alpine glaciers are an important pillar for people in the arid regions of west China. In this study, the Hydrologiska Byrans Vattenavdelning (HBV light model was applied to simulate glacier mass balance (GMB and runoff in the Koxkar River Basin (KRB on the south slope of Mount Tumur, in the western Tianshan Mountains. Daily temperature and precipitation were calculated by multiple linear regressions and gradient-inverse distance weighting, respectively, based on in-situ observed data by automatic weather stations (AWSs in the Koxkar River Basin (KRB; 2007–2009 and four meteorological stations neighboring the basin (1959–2009. Observed daily air temperature and precipitation were input into HBV model. The runoff data in 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 were used to calibrate and validate the model in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011. Generally, the model simulated runoff very well. The annual glacier mass balance and runoff were calculated by the HBV model and were driven by interpolated meteorological data between 1959 and 2009. The calculated glacier mass balances were reasonable, and were compared with nearby glaciers. The results indicate the decreasing trend of mass balance in the Koxkar Glacier, with an average value of ablation of −370.4 mm·a−1 between 1959 and 2009. The annual runoff showed an increasing trend (5.51 mm·a−1. Further analysis showed that the runoff is more sensitive to temperature than precipitation in KRB.

  13. Mass budget of the glaciers and ice caps of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Canada, from 1991 to 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millan, Romain; Mouginot, Jeremie; Rignot, Eric

    2017-02-01

    Recent studies indicate that the glaciers and ice caps in Queen Elizabeth Islands (QEI), Canada have experienced an increase in ice mass loss during the last two decades, but the contribution of ice dynamics to this loss is not well known. We present a comprehensive mapping of ice velocity using a suite of satellite data from year 1991 to 2015, combined with ice thickness data from NASA Operation IceBridge, to calculate ice discharge. We find that ice discharge increased significantly after 2011 in Prince of Wales Icefield, maintained or decreased in other sectors, whereas glacier surges have little impact on long-term trends in ice discharge. During 1991–2005, the QEI mass loss averaged 6.3 ± 1.1 Gt yr‑1, 52% from ice discharge and the rest from surface mass balance (SMB). During 2005–2014, the mass loss from ice discharge averaged 3.5 ± 0.2 Gt yr‑1 (10%) versus 29.6 ± 3.0 Gt yr‑1 (90%) from SMB. SMB processes therefore dominate the QEI mass balance, with ice dynamics playing a significant role only in a few basins.

  14. The retreat of the world's mountain glaciers during recent decades; Le retrait des glaciers de montagne dans le monde au cours des dernieres decennies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Francou, B. [Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD), Mission de Quito, Equateur - LTHE, 38 - Grenoble (France); Vincent, Ch. [Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), UJF, LGGE, 38 - Grenoble (France)

    2009-08-15

    Glaciers have become essential tools for measuring changes in the global environment. Here, we analyze glacier evolution during the last few decades and we wonder whether the observed retreat remains in the range of glacier fluctuations since the mid-Holocene. The main fluctuations experienced by glaciers during the last millenniums, and particularly during the Little Ice Age (-1300 A.D. to {approx}1860 A.D.), are presented succinctly. The recent 1960-2005 period, well documented both by ground and remote sensing observations, shows important disparities between different massifs concerning the timing and the magnitude of glacier fluctuations, which depend on regional climatic conditions. The links between glacier mass balance evolution and climate is clear when approached from an energy balance but the variables commonly considered are only temperature and precipitation. The strong correlation existing between these variables and the mass balance evolution makes it possible to simulate glaciers in the future in function of distinct climatic scenarios. Modeling glacier retreat for the 21. century is an important goal because it will allow the impacts on water resource and sea level to be assessed. (authors)

  15. Mass changes of Southern and Northern Inylchek Glacier, Central Tian Shan, Kyrgyzstan, during ∼1975 and 2007 derived from remote sensing data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shangguan, D. H.; Bolch, T.; Ding, Y. J.; Kröhnert, M.; Pieczonka, T.; Wetzel, H. U.; Liu, S. Y.

    2015-04-01

    Glacier melt is an essential source of freshwater for the arid regions surrounding the Tian Shan. However, the knowledge about glacier volume and mass changes over the last decades is limited. In the present study, glacier area, glacier dynamics and mass changes are investigated for the period ~1975-2007 for Southern Inylchek Glacier (SIG) and Northern Inylchek Glacier (NIG), the largest glacier system in Central Tian Shan separated by the regularly draining Lake Merzbacher. The area of NIG increased by 2.0 ± 0.1 km2 (~1.3%) in the period ~1975-2007. In contrast, SIG has shrunk continuously in all investigated periods since ~1975. Velocities of SIG in the central part of the ablation region reached ~100-120 m a-1 in 2002/2003, which was slightly higher than the average velocity in 2010/2011. The central part of SIG flows mainly towards Lake Merzbacher rather than towards its terminus. The measured velocities at the distal part of the terminus downstream of Lake Merzbacher were below the uncertainty, indicating very low flow with even stagnant parts. Geodetic glacier mass balances have been calculated using multi-temporal digital elevation models from KH-9 Hexagon (representing the year 1975), SRTM3 (1999), ALOS PRISM (2006) and SPOT-5 high-resolution geometrical (HRG) data (2007). In general, a continuous mass loss for both SIG and NIG could be observed between ~1975 and 2007. SIG lost mass at a rate of 0.43 ± 0.10 m w.e. a-1 and NIG at a rate of 0.25 ± 0.10 m w.e. a-1 within the period ~1975-1999. For the period 1999-2007, the highest mass loss of 0.57 ± 0.46 m w.e. a-1 was found for NIG, whilst SIG showed a potential moderate mass loss of 0.28 ± 0.46 m w.e. a-1. Both glaciers showed a small retreat during this period. Between ~1975 and 1999, we identified a thickening at the front of NIG with a maximum surface elevation increase of about 150 m as a consequence of a surge event. In contrast significant thinning (>0.5 m a-1) and comparatively high velocities

  16. Glaciers dominate eustatic sea-level rise in the 21st century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meier, Mark Frederick; Dyurgerov, M.B.; Rick, Ursula K.; Pfeffer, William Tad; Anderson, Suzanne P.; Glazovsky, Andrey F.

    2007-01-01

    Ice loss to the sea currently accounts for virtually all of the sea-level rise that is not attributable to ocean warming, and about 60% of the ice loss is from glaciers and ice caps rather than from the two ice sheets. The contribution of these smaller glaciers has accelerated over the past decade, in part due to marked thinning and retreat of marine-terminating glaciers associated with a dynamic instability that is generally not considered in mass-balance and climate modeling. This acceleration of glacier melt may cause 0.1 to 0.25 meter of additional sea-level rise by 2100.

  17. Recent Glacier Recession – a New Source of Postglacial Treeline and Climate History in the Swedish Scandes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa Öberg

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Climate warming during the past century has imposed recession of glaciers and perennial snow/ice patches along the entire Swedish Scandes. On the newly exposed forefields, subfossil wood remnants are being outwashed from beneath ice and snow bodies. In Scandinavia, this kind of detrital wood is a previously unused source of postglacial vegetation and climate history. The present study reports radiocarbon dates of a set of 78 wood samples, retrieved from three main sites, high above modern treelines and stretching along the Swedish Scandes. In accord with previous studies, pine (Pinus sylvestris colonized early emerging nunataks already during the Late Glacial. Around 9600-9500 cal. yr BP a first massive wave of tree establishment, birch and pine, took place in “empty” glacier cirques. Both species grew 400-600 m above their present-ay treeline position and the summer temperatures may have been 3.5 °C warmer than present. In respons to Neoglacial cooling, treelines of both birch and pine descended until their final disappearance from the record 4400 and 5900 cal. yr BP, respectively. During the entire interval 9600 to 4400 cal. yr BP, birch prospered in a 100-150 broad belt above the uppermost pines. The recent emergence of tree remnants in the current habitats relates to the contemporary episode of climate warming, possibly unprecedented for several past millennia. It is inferred, by an anology with the past, that in a future scenario with summers 3.5 ° warmer than present, the birch treeline may rise by 600 m or so.

  18. Water, Ice, and Meteorological Measurements at Xiao Dongkemadi Glacier, Central Tibetan Plateau, Balance Years from 2008 to 2011

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiaobo, He; Baisheng, Ye; Yongjian, Ding; Jian, Zhang

    2013-04-01

    The glaciers on Tibetan Plateau play an important role in the catchment hydrology and climatology of this region. However, our knowledge with respect to water circulation in this remote area is scarce. Xiao Dongkemadi Glacier (XDG) is located near Tanggula Pass (the highest point on the Lanzhou-Lhasa road 5231ma.s.l.), central Tibetan Plateau (33°04'N, 92°04'E). Here, glacier mass balance and runoff directly reflects the glacier's response to local climate change, and glacier changes on the Tibetan Plateau strongly influence human welfare since water supplies in this arid/semi-arid region are predominantly from glacier melt. Due to its remote location, the mass balance of XDG has been monitored discontinuously since 1988 by the direct glaciological method. Recently, a more complete and fine-grained glacier monitoring system has been established on the cap of XDG, and is expected to make further contributions to research on the change of the cryospheric and climatic environment in the area. Winter snow accumulation and summer snow and ice ablation were measured at XDG, to estimate glacier mass-balance quantities for balance years from 2008 to 2011. Runoff from the basin containing the glacier and from an adjacent nonglacierized basin was gaged during all or parts of water years from 2008 and 2011. Air temperature, wind speed, precipitation, and incoming solar radiation were measured at selected locations on and near the glacier.

  19. Modeling sensitivity study of the possible impact of snow and glaciers developing over Tibetan Plateau on Holocene African-Asian summer monsoon climate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Jin

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available The impacts of various scenarios of snow and glaciers developing over the Tibetan Plateau on climate change in Afro-Asian monsoon region and other regions during the Holocene (9 kyr BP–0 kyr BP are studied by using the coupled climate model of intermediate complexity, CLIMBER-2. The simulations show that the imposed snow and glaciers over the Tibetan Plateau in the mid-Holocene induce global summer temperature decreases, especially in the northern parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. At the same time, with the imposed snow and glaciers, summer precipitation decreases strongly in North Africa and South Asia as well as northeastern China, while it increases in Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean. For the whole period of Holocene (9 kyr BP–0 kyr BP, the response of vegetation cover to the imposed snow and glaciers cover over the Tibetan Plateau is not synchronous in South Asia and in North Africa, showing an earlier and a more rapid decrease in vegetation cover in North Africa from 9 to 6 kyr BP while it has only minor influence on that in South Asia until 5 kyr BP. Imposed gradually increased snow and glacier cover over the Tibetan Plateau causes temperature increases in South Asia and it decreases in North Africa and Southeast Asia during 6 kyr BP to 0 kyr BP. The precipitation decreases rapidly in North Africa and South Asia while it decreases slowly or unchanged during 6 kyr BP to 0 kyr BP with imposed snow and glacier cover over the Tibetan Plateau. The different scenarios of snow and glacier developing over the Tibetan Plateau would result in differences in variation of temperature, precipitation and vegetation cover in North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. The model results show that the response of climate change in African-Asian monsoon region to snow and glacier cover over the Tibetan Plateau is in the way that the snow and glaciers amplify the effect of vegetation feedback and, hence, further amplify orbital forcing.

  20. Towards a process-based understanding of Holocene polar climate change. Using glacier-fed lake sediments from Arctic Svalbard and Antarctic South Georgia

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    Earth`s polar regions are undergoing dramatic changes due to ongoing climate change as demonstrated by increasing temperatures, collapsing ice shelves, Arctic sea ice loss and rapid glacier retreat. Driving an accelerating rise in global sea level, this amplified regional response may have devastating global socio-economic consequences in the foreseeable future. Yet the causes and range of polar climate variability remain poorly understood as observational records are short and fragmentary, w...

  1. 100 Years of Glacier Photographs: Available Online at the National Snow and Ice Data Center

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballagh, L. M.; Wolfe, J.; Wang, I.; Casey, A.; Fetterer, F.

    2004-12-01

    Historic glacier photographs can be used to study fluctuations in glacier extent over time in response to climate change. Researchers can also use the photographs to approximate changes in glacier terminus location and mass balance. The "Glacier Photograph Collection" at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) contains approximately 5,000 photographs, including both aerial and terrestrial images. NSIDC received funding from the NOAA Climate Database Modernization Program (CDMP) to digitize a portion of the photographs and make an Online Glacier Photograph Database available. The CDMP's primary objective is to preserve climate data and facilitate access to the data. Although digitizing images is expensive, long-term data preservation is a major benefit. When historic photographs are stored on film, images can easily be scratched or damaged. Scanning the images and having them online makes browsing images easier for users. At present, there are 1,313 glacier photographs available online. Additional photos and metadata are being added. The Online Glacier Photograph Database will date from 1883 to 1995, totaling nearly 3,000 photographs available as high resolution TIFF images and lower resolution reference images and thumbnails by the end of 2004. Maintaining accurate metadata records for each photograph is very important. The database is searchable by various fields, including photographer name, photograph date, glacier name, glacier coordinates, state/province, and keyword.

  2. Studies of the Belukha glacier plexus in the context of global glacio-climatic monitoring (on the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of the Belukha Mountain)

    OpenAIRE

    V. S. Revyakin

    2014-01-01

    The Belukha Mountain is the highest peak of the Altai. On July 26 (7th August in the new time scale) of 1914 the brothers Boris and Mikhail Tronov discovered the mountain and were the first people to climb it. The Tronov Glacier is named after them. The Belukha glacier plexus is now subject to intensive degradation caused by current climate warming. There are changes in the processes of ice-forming, the temperature regime, and the stratigraphic characteristics. The mountain slope processes ha...

  3. Contribution of snow and glacier melt to discharge for highly glacierised catchments in Norway

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engelhardt, M.; Schuler, T. V.; Andreassen, L. M.

    2014-02-01

    Glacierised catchments show a discharge regime that is strongly influenced by snow and glacier meltwaters. In this study, we modelled the mass balance and discharge rates for three highly glacierised catchments (>50% glacier cover) in western Norway over the period 1961-2012. The spatial pattern of the catchments follows a gradient in climate continentality from west to east. The model input were gridded temperature and precipitation values from seNorge (http://senorge.no) which are available at daily resolution. The model accounted for accumulation of snow, transformation of snow to firn and ice, evaporation and melt. Calibration and validation were performed for each catchment based on measurements of seasonal glacier mass balances and daily discharge rates, as additional validation data served daily melt rates from sonic rangers located in the ablation zones of two of the glaciers. The discharge sources snowmelt, glacier melt and rain were analysed with respect to spatial variations and temporal evolution. Model simulations reveal an increase in the relative contribution from glacier melt to total discharge for the three catchments from less than 10% in the early 1990s to 15-30% in the late 2000s. The decline in precipitation by 10-20% in the same period was therefore overcompensated, resulting in an increase in annual discharge by 5-20%. Annual discharge sums and annual glacier melt are most strongly correlated with annual and winter precipitation at the most maritime glacier and, with increased climate continentality, variations in both glacier melt contribution and annual discharge are becoming more strongly correlated with variations in summer temperatures. Therefore, glaciers in more continental climates are especially vulnerable to decrease in both annual and summer discharge with continued rise in summer temperatures and subsequent decrease in glacier extent. This may lead to significant changes to the discharge regime, with increase during spring but

  4. Glacial lakes amplify glacier recession in the central Himalaya

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Owen; Quincey, Duncan; Carrivick, Jonathan; Rowan, Ann

    2016-04-01

    The high altitude and high latitude regions of the world are amongst those which react most intensely to climatic change. Across the Himalaya glacier mass balance is predominantly negative. The spatial and temporal complexity associated with this ice loss across different glacier clusters is poorly documented however, and our understanding of the processes driving change is limited. Here, we look at the spatial variability of glacier hypsometry and glacial mass loss from three catchments in the central Himalaya; the Dudh Koshi basin, Tama Koshi basin and an adjoining section of the Tibetan Plateau. ASTER and SETSM digital elevation models (2014/15), corrected for elevation dependant biases, co-registration errors and along or cross track tilts, are differenced from Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) data (2000) to yield surface lowering estimates. Landsat data and a hypsometric index (HI), a classification scheme used to group glaciers of similar hypsometry, are used to examine the distribution of glacier area with altitude in each catchment. Surface lowering rates of >3 m/yr can be detected on some glaciers, generally around the clean-ice/debris-cover boundary, where dark but thin surface deposits are likely to enhance ablation. More generally, surface lowering rates of around 1 m/yr are more pervasive, except around the terminus areas of most glaciers, emphasising the influence of a thick debris cover on ice melt. Surface lowering is only concentrated at glacier termini where glacial lakes have developed, where surface lowering rates are commonly greater than 2.5 m/yr. The three catchments show contrasting hypsometric distributions, which is likely to impact their future response to climatic changes. Glaciers of the Dudh Koshi basin store large volumes of ice at low elevation (HI > 1.5) in long, debris covered tongues, although their altitudinal range is greatest given the height of mountain peaks in the catchment. In contrast, glaciers of the Tama Koshi

  5. Contrasting responses of Central Asian rock glaciers to global warming

    OpenAIRE

    Annina Sorg; Andreas Kääb; Andrea Roesch; Christof Bigler; Markus Stoffel

    2015-01-01

    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 photograph...

  6. Response of Glacier Flash Flood to Climate Warming in the Tarim River Basin%塔里木河流域冰川洪水对气候变暖的响应

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    沈永平; 王国亚; 邵春

    2007-01-01

    In past 50 years, the air temperature fluctuation was raising trend in Tarim River Basin. The annual mean temperature has increased by 0.3℃ in the whole Tarim River Basin, and by 0.6℃ in the mountain areas. With global warming, the frequency of unstable and extreme climatic events increased, glaciers retreating accelerated and snow meltwater increased have resulted in the more frequency of snow-ice disasters such as glacier debrisflow and glacier flash flood etc. Since 1980s, in the process of intense climate warming, glaciers melting intensified, ice temperature rose and glaciers flows accelerated, and lead to more glacial lakes and extending water storage capacity and stronger glacial lake outburst floods occurrence. It is proposed that the monitoring and evaluating of the impact of climate change on water resources and floods should be enhanced.

  7. Balanced conditions or slight mass gain of glaciers in the Lahaul and Spiti region (northern India, Himalaya during the nineties preceded recent mass loss

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Vincent

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available The volume change of the Chhota Shigri Glacier (India, 32° 20 N, 77° 30' E between 1988 and 2010 has been determined using in situ geodetic measurements. This glacier has experienced only a slight mass loss between 1988 and 2010 (−3.8 ± 2.0 m w.e. (water equivalent corresponding to −0.17 ± 0.09 m w.e. yr−1. Using satellite digital elevation models (DEM differencing and field measurements, we measure a negative mass balance (MB between 1999 and 2010 (−4.8 ± 1.8 m w.e. corresponding to −0.44 ± 0.16 m w.e. yr−1. Thus, we deduce a slightly positive or near-zero MB between 1988 and 1999 (+1.0 ± 2.7 m w.e. corresponding to +0.09 ± 0.24 m w.e. yr−1. Furthermore, satellite DEM differencing reveals that the MB of the Chhota Shigri Glacier (−0.39 ± 0.15 m w.e. yr−1 has been only slightly less negative than the MB of a 2110 km2 glaciarized area in the Lahaul and Spiti region (−0.44 ± 0.09 m w.e. yr−1 during 1999−2011. Hence, we conclude that the ice wastage is probably moderate in this region over the last 22 yr, with near equilibrium conditions during the nineties, and an ice mass loss after. The turning point from balanced to negative mass budget is not known but lies probably in the late nineties and at the latest in 1999. This positive or near-zero MB for Chhota Shigri Glacier (and probably for the surrounding glaciers of the Lahaul and Spiti region during at least part of the 1990s contrasts with a recent compilation of MB data in the Himalayan range that indicated ice wastage since 1975. However, in agreement with this compilation, we confirm more negative balances since the beginning of the 21st century.

  8. Glacier Mass Loss during the 1960s and 1970s in the Ak-Shirak Range (Kyrgyzstan from Multiple Stereoscopic Corona and Hexagon Imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Franz Goerlich

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Comprehensive research on glacier changes in the Tian Shan is available for the current decade; however, there is limited information about glacier investigations of previous decades and especially before the mid 1970s. The earliest stereo images from the Corona missions were acquired in the 1960s but existing studies dealing with these images focus on single glaciers or small areas only. We developed a workflow to generate digital terrain models (DTMs and orthophotos from 1964 Corona KH-4 for an entire mountain range (Ak-Shirak located in the Central Tian Shan. From these DTMs and orthoimages, we calculated geodetic mass balances and length changes in comparison to 1973 and 1980 Hexagon KH-9 data. We found mass budgets between −0.4 ± 0.1 m·w.e.a−1 (1964–1980 and −0.9 ± 0.4 m·w.e.a−1 (1973–1980 for the whole region and individual glaciers. The length changes, on the other hand, vary heterogeneously between +624 ± 18 m (+39.0 ± 1.1 m·a−1 and −923 ± 18 m (−57.7 ± 1.1 m·a−1 for 1964–1980. An automation of the processing line can successively lead to region-wide Corona data processing allowing the analysis and interpretation of glacier changes on a larger scale and supporting a refinement of glacier modelling.

  9. Rapid Late Holocene glacier fluctuations reconstructed from South Georgia lake sediments using novel analytical and numerical techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Bilt, Willem; Bakke, Jostein; Werner, Johannes; Paasche, Øyvind; Rosqvist, Gunhild

    2016-04-01

    The collapse of ice shelves, rapidly retreating glaciers and a dramatic recent temperature increase show that Southern Ocean climate is rapidly shifting. Also, instrumental and modelling data demonstrate transient interactions between oceanic and atmospheric forcings as well as climatic teleconnections with lower-latitude regions. Yet beyond the instrumental period, a lack of proxy climate timeseries impedes our understanding of Southern Ocean climate. Also, available records often lack the resolution and chronological control required to resolve rapid climate shifts like those observed at present. Alpine glaciers are found on most Southern Ocean islands and quickly respond to shifts in climate through changes in mass balance. Attendant changes in glacier size drive variations in the production of rock flour, the suspended product of glacial erosion. This climate response may be captured by downstream distal glacier-fed lakes, continuously recording glacier history. Sediment records from such lakes are considered prime sources for paleoclimate reconstructions. Here, we present the first reconstruction of Late Holocene glacier variability from the island of South Georgia. Using a toolbox of advanced physical, geochemical (XRF) and magnetic proxies, in combination with state-of-the-art numerical techniques, we fingerprinted a glacier signal from glacier-fed lake sediments. This lacustrine sediment signal was subsequently calibrated against mapped glacier extent with the help of geomorphological moraine evidence and remote sensing techniques. The outlined approach enabled us to robustly resolve variations of a complex glacier at sub-centennial timescales, while constraining the sedimentological imprint of other geomorphic catchment processes. From a paleoclimate perspective, our reconstruction reveals a dynamic Late Holocene climate, modulated by long-term shifts in regional circulation patterns. We also find evidence for rapid medieval glacier retreat as well as a

  10. Forecasting temperate alpine glacier survival from accumulation zone observations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. S. Pelto

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Temperate alpine glacier survival is dependent on the consistent presence of an accumulation zone. Frequent low accumulation area ratio values, below 30%, indicate the lack of a consistent accumulation zone, which leads to substantial thinning of the glacier in the accumulation zone. This thinning is often evident from substantial marginal recession, emergence of new rock outcrops and surface elevation decline in the accumulation zone. In the North Cascades 9 of the 12 examined glaciers exhibit characteristics of substantial accumulation zone thinning; marginal recession or emergent bedrock areas in the accumulation zone. The longitudinal profile thinning factor, f, which is a measure of the ratio of thinning in the accumulation zone to that at the terminus, is above 0.6 for all glaciers exhibiting accumulation zone thinning characteristics. The ratio of accumulation zone thinning to cumulative mass balance is above 0.5 for glacier experiencing substantial accumulation zone thinning. Without a consistent accumulation zone these glaciers are forecast not to survive the current climate or future additional warming. The results vary considerably with adjacent glaciers having a different survival forecast. This emphasizes the danger of extrapolating survival from one glacier to the next.

  11. Estimating permafrost distribution in the maritime Southern Alps, New Zealand, based on climatic conditions at rock glacier sites

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katrin eSattler

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available 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 variables a mean annual air temperature and b potential incoming solar radiation in snow free months. The statistical relationships were subsequently employed to calculate the spatially-distributed probability of permafrost occurrence, using a probability of ≥ 0.6 to delineate the potential permafrost extent. Our results suggest that topoclimatic conditions are favorable for permafrost occurrence in debris-mantled slopes above ~ 2000 m in the central Southern Alps and above ~ 2150 m in the more northern Kaikoura ranges. Considering the well-recognized latitudinal influence on global permafrost occurrences, these altitudinal limits are lower than the limits observed in other mountain regions. We argue that the Southern Alps’ lower distribution limits may exemplify an oceanic influence on global permafrost distribution. Reduced ice-loss due to moderate maritime summer temperature extremes may facilitate the existence of permafrost at lower altitudes than in continental regions at similar latitude. Empirical permafrost distribution models derived in continental climates may consequently be of limited applicability in maritime settings.

  12. Glacier calving, dynamics, and sea-level rise. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Meier, M.F.; Pfeffer, W.T.; Amadei, B.

    1998-08-01

    The present-day calving flux from Greenland and Antarctica is poorly known, and this accounts for a significant portion of the uncertainty in the current mass balance of these ice sheets. Similarly, the lack of knowledge about the role of calving in glacier dynamics constitutes a major uncertainty in predicting the response of glaciers and ice sheets to changes in climate and thus sea level. Another fundamental problem has to do with incomplete knowledge of glacier areas and volumes, needed for analyses of sea-level change due to changing climate. The authors proposed to develop an improved ability to predict the future contributions of glaciers to sea level by combining work from four research areas: remote sensing observations of calving activity and iceberg flux, numerical modeling of glacier dynamics, theoretical analysis of the calving process, and numerical techniques for modeling flow with large deformations and fracture. These four areas have never been combined into a single research effort on this subject; in particular, calving dynamics have never before been included explicitly in a model of glacier dynamics. A crucial issue that they proposed to address was the general question of how calving dynamics and glacier flow dynamics interact.

  13. Glaciers of Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Ferrigno, Jane G.

    2010-01-01

    systems of the world including the Himalaya, Karakorum, Tien Shan and Altay mountain ranges. The glaciers are widely scattered and cover an area of about 59,425 km2. The mountain glaciers may be classified as maritime, subcontinental or extreme continental. In Afghanistan, more than 3,000 small glaciers occur in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountains. Most glaciers occur on north-facing slopes shaded by mountain peaks and on east and southeast slopes that are shaded by monsoon clouds. The glaciers provide vital water resources to the region and cover an area of about 2,700 km2. Glaciers of northern Pakistan are some of the largest and longest mid-latitude glaciers on Earth. They are located in the Hindu Kush, Himalaya, and Karakoram mountains and cover an area of about 15,000 km2. Glaciers here are important for their role in providing water resources and their hazard potential. The glaciers in India are located in the Himalaya and cover about 8,500 km2. The Himalaya contains one of the largest reservoirs of snow and ice outside the polar regions. The glaciers are a major source of fresh water and supply meltwater to all the rivers in northern India, thereby affecting the quality of life of millions of people. In Nepal, the glaciers are located in the Himalaya as individual glaciers; the glacierized area covers about 5,324 km2. The region is the highest mountainous region on Earth and includes the Mt. Everest region. Glaciers in the Bhutan Himalaya have a total area of about 1,317 km2. Many recent glacier studies are focused on glacier lakes that have the potential of generating dangerous glacier lake outburst floods. Research on the glaciers of the middle-latitude, high-mountain glaciers of Asia has also focused on the information contained in the ice cores from the glaciers. This information helps in the reconstruction of paleoclimatic records, and the computer modeling of global climate change.

  14. Ice thickness profile surveying with ground penetrating radar at Artesonraju Glacier, Peru

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chisolm, Rachel; Rabatel, Antoine; McKinney, Daene; Condom, Thomas; Cochacin, Alejo; Davila Roller, Luzmilla

    2014-05-01

    Tropical glaciers are an essential component of the water resource systems in the mountainous regions where they are located, and a warming climate has resulted in the accelerated retreat of Andean glaciers in recent decades. The shrinkage of Andean glaciers influences the flood risk for communities living downstream as new glacial lakes have begun to form at the termini of some glaciers. As these lakes continue to grow in area and volume, they pose an increasing risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Ice thickness measurements have been a key missing link in studying the tropical glaciers in Peru and how climate change is likely to impact glacial melt and the growth of glacial lakes. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) has rarely been applied to glaciers in Peru to measure ice thickness, and these measurements can tell us a lot about how a warming climate will affect glaciers in terms of thickness changes. In the upper Paron Valley (Cordillera Blanca, Peru), an emerging lake has begun to form at the terminus of the Artesonraju Glacier, and this lake has key features, including overhanging ice and loose rock likely to create slides, that could trigger a catastrophic GLOF if the lake continues to grow. Because the glacier mass balance and lake mass balance are closely linked, ice thickness measurements and measurements of the bed slope of the Artesonraju Glacier and underlying bedrock can give us an idea of how the lake is likely to evolve in the coming decades. This study presents GPR data taken in July 2013 at the Artesonraju Glacier as part of a collaboration between the Unidad de Glaciologia y Recursos Hidricos (UGRH) of Peru, the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) of France and the University of Texas at Austin (UT) of the United States of America. Two different GPR units belonging to UGRH and UT were used for subsurface imaging to create ice thickness profiles and to characterize the total volume of ice in the glacier. A common midpoint

  15. Response of Glacier and Lake Dynamics in Four Inland Basins to Climate Change at the Transition Zone between the Karakorum And Himalayas.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhiguo Li

    Full Text Available Inland glacier and lake dynamics on the Tibetan Plateau (TP and its surroundings over recent decades are good indicators of climate change and have a significant impact on the local water supply and ecosystem. The glacier and lake changes in Karakoram are quite different from those of the Himalayas. The mechanisms of the complex and regionally heterogeneous behavior of the glacier and lake changes between the Karakorum and Himalayas are poorly understood. Based on satellite images and meteorological data of Shiquanhe, Hetian, and Yutian stations, we demonstrate that the overall retreat of glaciers and increase of lake area at the transition zone between the Karakoram and Himalayas (TKH have occurred since 1968 in response to a significant global climate change. Glacial areas in the Songmuxi Co basin, Zepu Co basin, Mang Co basin and Unnamed Co decreased by -1.98 ± 0.02 km2, -5.39 ± 0.02 km2, -0.01 ± 0.02 km2, and -0.12 ± 0.02 km2 during the study period, corresponding to losses of -1.42%, -2.86%, -1.54%, and -1.57%, respectively. The lake area of the Songmuxi Co, Zepu Co, Mang Co and Unnamed Co increased by 7.57 ± 0.02 km2, 8.53 ± 0.02 km2, 1.35 ± 0.02 km2, and 0.53 ± 0.02 km2, corresponding to growths of 30.22%, 7.55%, 11.39%, and 8.05%, respectively. Increases in temperature was the main reason for glacier retreat, whereas decreases in potential evapotranspiration of lakes, increases in precipitation, and increases in melt water from glaciers and frozen soil all contributed to lake area expansion.

  16. A 14.000-year History of the Helheim Glacier - a record of Long-term Ice Dynamics in Relation to Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bjørk, Anders; Kjær, Kurt; Larsen, Nicolaj; Olsen, Jesper; Khan, Shfaqat; Goldsack, Anne; Andersen, Thorbjørn; Schreiber, Norman; Andresen, Camilla; Korsgaard, Niels; Kjeldsen, Kristian; Stearns, Leigh

    2013-04-01

    Situated on the southeast coast of Greenland, the Helheim glacier is a major contributor of ice discharge and a milestone glacier in regards to understanding ice sheet dynamics to climate forcing. Within the last decade, the glacier has responded rapidly with retreat and increased calving to rising temperatures and inflow of warm oceanic water. Evidence from marine cores show that this has also occurred in warming periods during the last century. In this study we present lake core data revealing a 14.000 yr record of the dynamic behavior of the Helheim glacier. By targeting threshold lakes at the ice sheet margin upstream of the glacier, we receive a signal of glacial advance and retreat. The threshold lakes only receive glacial sediment when the ice margin is at an advanced position, similar to that of the present. As our cores penetrate into the deglaciation we have dated the onset of lake formation to ca 13.5 kyr bp - this suggests a much earlier deglaciation than what has previously been presented. Furthermore, our results reveal that the lakes have received glacial sediment several times throughout the Holocene.

  17. Application of a minimal glacier model to Hansbreen, Svalbard

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    J. Oerlemans

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Hansbreen is a well studied tidewater glacier in the southwestern part of Svalbard, currently about 16 km long. Since the end of the 19th century it has been retreating over a distance of 2.7 km. In this paper the global dynamics of Hansbreen are studied with a minimal glacier model, in which the ice mechanics are strongly parameterised and a simple law for iceberg calving is used. The model is calibrated by reconstructing a climate history in such a way that observed and simulated glacier length match. In addition, the calving law is tuned to reproduce the observed mean calving flux for the period 2000–2008.

    Equilibrium states are studied for a wide range of values of the equilibrium line altitude. The dynamics of the glacier are strongly nonlinear. The height-mass balance feedback and the water depth-calving flux feedback give rise to cusp catastrophes in the system.

    For the present climatic conditions Hansbreen cannot survive. Depending on the imposed climate change scenario, in AD 2100 Hansbreen is predicted to have a length between 10 and 12 km. The corresponding decrease in ice volume (relative to the volume in AD 2000 is 45 to 65%.

    Finally the late-Holocene history of Hansbreen is considered. We quote evidence from dated peat samples that Hansbreen did not exist during the Holocene Climatic Optimum. We speculate that at the end of the mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum Hansbreen could advance because the glacier bed was at least 50 m higher than today, and because the tributary glaciers on the western side may have supplied a significant amount of mass to the main stream. The excavation of the overdeepening and the formation of the shoal at the glacier terminus probably took place during the Little Ice Age.

  18. Regional glacier mass loss estimated by ICESat-GLAS data and SRTM digital elevation model in the West Kunlun Mountains, Tibetan Plateau, 2003-2009

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Hongbo; Wang, Ninglian; Guo, Zhongming; Wu, Yuwei

    2014-01-01

    The Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) altimetry and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) digital elevation model (DEM) data are used to estimate glacier mass loss changes in the West Kunlun Mountains, Tibetan Plateau (TP), 2003 to 2009. We integrated Landsat thematic mapper (TM)/enhanced TM images and GIS spatial analysis to map glacier surface elevation changes during 2003 to 2009. The ICESat-GLAS data can be used as baselines for surface elevation changes in altimetry as well as for TM imagery changes for depicting glacier area. Least-squares regression of an ICESat-derived thickness series shows the regional glacier mass decreased at an average rate of 1.41±0.23 km3/year water equivalent from 2003 to 2009, during the period of 2003 to 2009, the trend in thickness change became weaker. The ICESat-GLAS and SRTM DEM elevation differences between February 2003 and October 2009 show that the glacier surface elevations were decreasing below 5800 m but increased by 1.1±0.7 m above 6000 m a.s.l. region over that period. Thickness changes in the lower reaches of the glaciers indicate that the glacier ice ablation was mainly due to the summer temperature increases of 0.23°C and the summer precipitation decreases of 47.8 mm as measured at four stations, as well as the effects of sand and dust sources from the Tarim Basin. Meanwhile, in the upper parts of the glaciers (above 5800 m a.s.l.), ice surface elevation was increasing even though the Hetian station summer temperature at the 500 hPa level showed an obvious decrease of 0.78°C compared to 2003. In the upper part of the glacier-covered region, firn compaction and surface density should be taken into account. The glacier surges and bedrock movement may also lead to an underestimate of the volume loss due to the reduced mass conversion.

  19. Mass gain of glaciers in Lahaul and Spiti region (North India during the nineties revealed by in-situ and satellite geodetic measurements

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Vincent

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The volume change of Chhota Shigri Glacier (India, 32° N between 1988 and 2010 has been determined using in-situ geodetic measurements. This glacier has experienced only a slight mass loss over the last 22 yr (–3.8 ± 1.8 m w.e.. Using satellite digital elevation models (DEM differencing and field measurements, we measure a negative mass balance (MB between 1999 and 2011 (–4.7 ± 1.8 m w.e.. Thus, we deduce a positive MB between 1988 and 1999 (+1.0 ± 2.5 m w.e.. Furthermore, satellite DEM differencing reveals a good correspondence between the MB of Chhota Shigri Glacier and the MB of an over 2000 km2 glaciarized area in the Lahaul and Spiti region during 1999–2011. We conclude that there has been no large ice wastage in this region over the last 22 yr, ice mass loss being limited to the last decade. This contrasts to the most recent compilation of MB data in the Himalayan range that indicates ice wastage since 1975, accelerating after 1990. For the rest of western Himalaya, available observations of glacier MBs are too sparse and discontinuous to provide a clear and relevant regional pattern of glacier volume change over the last two decades.

  20. Application and validation of long-range terrestrial laser scanning to monitor the mass balance of very small glaciers in the Swiss Alps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Mauro; Huss, Matthias; Kummert, Mario; Hoelzle, Martin

    2016-06-01

    Due to the relative lack of empirical field data, the response of very small glaciers (here defined as being smaller than 0.5 km2) to current atmospheric warming is not fully understood yet. Investigating their mass balance, e.g. using the direct glaciological method, is a prerequisite to fill this knowledge gap. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) techniques operating in the near infrared range can be applied for the creation of repeated high-resolution digital elevation models and consecutive derivation of annual geodetic mass balances of very small glaciers. This method is promising, as laborious and potentially dangerous field measurements as well as the inter- and extrapolation of point measurements can be circumvented. However, it still needs to be validated. Here, we present TLS-derived annual surface elevation and geodetic mass changes for five very small glaciers in Switzerland (Glacier de Prapio, Glacier du Sex Rouge, St. Annafirn, Schwarzbachfirn, and Pizolgletscher) and two consecutive years (2013/14-2014/15). The scans were acquired with a long-range Riegl -6000 especially designed for surveying snow- and ice-covered terrain. Zonally variable conversion factors for firn and bare ice surfaces were applied to convert geodetic volume to mass changes. We compare the geodetic results to direct glaciological mass balance measurements coinciding with the TLS surveys and assess the uncertainties and errors included in both methods. Average glacier-wide mass balances were negative in both years, showing stronger mass losses in 2014/15 (-1.65 m w.e.) compared to 2013/14 (-0.59 m w.e.). Geodetic mass balances were slightly less negative but in close agreement with the direct glaciological ones (R2 = 0.91). Due to the dense in situ measurements, the uncertainties in the direct glaciological mass balances were small compared to the majority of measured glaciers worldwide (±0.09 m w.e. yr-1 on average), and similar to uncertainties in the TLS-derived geodetic mass

  1. Spatial-Temporal Characteristics of a Temperate-Glacier's Active-Layer Temperature and Its Responses to Climate Change:A Case Study of Baishui Glacier No. 1, Southeastern Tibetan Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Shijin Wang; Jiankuo Du; Yuanqing He

    2014-01-01

    Based on the historical documents and measured data from the active-layer temperature (ALT) at A, B and C locations (4 670, 4 720 and 4 770 m a.s.l.) on Baishui Glacier No. 1, southeastern Tibetan Plateau, this paper analyzed spatial-temporal characteristics of ALT and its relationship with air temperature, and revealed the response of the active layer ice temperature towards climate change in the monitoring period. The results showed that the influence of air temperature on the active-layer ice temperature had a hysteresis characteristic on the upper of ablation zone and the lag period in-creased gradually with the altitude elevating. The decrease amplitude of ALT in the accumulation pe-riod was far below its increase magnitude in the ablation period. At the same time, the mean glacier ice temperatures at 10 m depth (T10) in A, B and C profile were obviously higher than most of glaciers pre-viously studied. Measured data also showed that the mean ALT increased by 0.24 °C in 0.5-8.5 m depth of the C profile during 28 years from July 11, 1982 to July 10, 2009.

  2. Geodetic mass balance of surge-type Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, 1980-2001-2010, including role of rockslide deposition and earthquake displacement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kienholz, C.; Hock, R.; Truffer, M.; Arendt, A. A.; Arko, S.

    2016-12-01

    We determine the geodetic mass balance of surge-type Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, for the time periods 1980-2001 and 2001-2010 by combining modern interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)-derived digital elevation models (DEMs), DEMs derived from archival aerial imagery, laser altimetry data, and in situ surface elevation measurements. Our analysis accounts for both the large rockslides and terrain displacements caused by the 2002 M7.9 earthquake on the Denali fault, which runs through Black Rapids Glacier. To estimate uncertainties, we apply Monte Carlo simulations. For the earthquake-triggered rockslides we find a volume of 56.62 ± 2.86 × 106 m3, equivalent to an average debris thickness of 4.44 ± 0.24 m across the 11.7 km2 deposit area on the glacier. Terrain displacement due to the earthquake corresponds to an apparent glacier volume change of -53.1 × 106 m3, which would cause an apparent specific mass balance of -0.19 meter water equivalent (mwe) if not taken into account. The geodetic mass balance of Black Rapids Glacier is -0.48 ± 0.07 mwe a-1 for the entire 30 year period, but more negative for the period 2001-2010 (-0.64 ± 0.11 mwe a-1) than the period 1980-2001 (-0.42 ± 0.11 mwe a-1), in agreement with trends indicated by in situ mass balance measurements. Elevation data indicate no net thickening of the surge reservoir between 1980 and 2010, in contrast to what is expected during the quiescent phase. A surge of Black Rapids Glacier in the near future is thus considered unlikely.

  3. Dynamics of rock glaciers and debris-covered glaciers in the Central Chilean Andes over the last 50 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bodin, Xavier; Brenning, Alexander; Rojas Marchini, Fernanda

    2010-05-01

    In the semiarid Central Andes of Chile at 33.5°S., mountain permafrost is widely present above 3500-4000 m asl, especially in the form of rock glaciers, which often coexist with glaciers and debris-covered glaciers. This peculiar configuration of the cryosphere involves complex and poorly known responses of its components to climate change. Our study area in the Laguna Negra catchment is part of a watershed that provides up to two-thirds of the drinking water supplies to Chile's capital Santiago (5.5 million inhabitants) during the dry summer months. The 35 km² watershed contains 2.3 km² of uncovered glaciers, 0.9 km² of debris-covered glacier area and 4.3 km² of rock glaciers, and hosts the longest series of glacier mass balance measurement in Chile (Echaurren Norte glacier). Using orthorectified aerial photographs of 1956 and 1996 and a high resolution satellite image of 2008, we mapped the geometric changes that affected the glacier and the debris-covered glacier of the Punta Negra sub-catchment during the last 50 years. Surface displacements and volume changes were estimated based on 1956 and 1996 digital elevation models (DEMs), and the total loss of water equivalent in the catchment was quantified. At a shorter time scale, rock glaciers and a debris-covered glacier are being monitored since 2004, providing insights into their kinematics and near-surface thermal regime. The orthophotos reveal a 44.7% reduction of the uncovered glacier area between 1955 and 1996, and only small surface changes between 1996 and 2008. The volume reduction of both uncovered and debris-covered glaciers is estimated at at least 3.9 million m3 water equivalent between 1955 and 1996. The second noticeable change is the growth of the thermokarst areas on the debris-covered glacier, with the formation of new and the widening and deepening of existing melt-out depressions between 1955 and 2008. The thermal monitoring revealed that, in 2003/04, the mean annual ground surface

  4. The Little Ice Age climate of New Zealand reconstructed from Southern Alps cirque glaciers: a synoptic type approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lorrey, Andrew; Fauchereau, Nicolas; Stanton, Craig; Chappell, Petra; Phipps, Steven; Mackintosh, Andrew; Renwick, James; Goodwin, Ian; Fowler, Anthony

    2014-06-01

    Little Ice Age (LIA) austral summer temperature anomalies were derived from palaeoequilibrium line altitudes at 22 cirque glacier sites across the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Modern analog seasons with temperature anomalies akin to the LIA reconstructions were selected, and then applied in a sampling of high-resolution gridded New Zealand climate data and global reanalysis data to generate LIA climate composites at local, regional and hemispheric scales. The composite anomaly patterns assist in improving our understanding of atmospheric circulation contributions to the LIA climate state, allow an interrogation of synoptic type frequency changes for the LIA relative to present, and provide a hemispheric context of the past conditions in New Zealand. An LIA summer temperature anomaly of -0.56 °C (±0.29 °C) for the Southern Alps based on palaeo-equilibrium lines compares well with local tree-ring reconstructions of austral summer temperature. Reconstructed geopotential height at 1,000 hPa (z1000) suggests enhanced southwesterly flow across New Zealand occurred during the LIA to generate the terrestrial temperature anomalies. The mean atmospheric circulation pattern for summer resulted from a crucial reduction of the `HSE'-blocking synoptic type (highs over and to the west of NZ; largely settled conditions) and increases in both the `T'- and `SW'-trough synoptic types (lows passing over NZ; enhanced southerly and southwesterly flow) relative to normal. Associated land-based temperature and precipitation anomalies suggest both colder- and wetter-than-normal conditions were a pervasive component of the base climate state across New Zealand during the LIA, as were colder-than-normal Tasman Sea surface temperatures. Proxy temperature and circulation evidence were used to corroborate the spatially heterogeneous Southern Hemisphere composite z1000 and sea surface temperature patterns generated in this study. A comparison of the composites to climate mode archetypes

  5. Glacier shrinkage and water resources in the Andes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Francou, Bernard; Coudrain, Anne

    For more than a century glaciers around the world have been melting as air temperatures rise due to a combination of natural processes and human activity. The disappearance of these glaciers can have wide-ranging effects, such as the creation of new natural hazards or changes in stream flow that could threaten water suppliesSome of the most dramatic melting has occurred in the Andes mountain range in South America. To highlight the climatic and glacial change in the Andes and to encourage the scientific community to strengthen the glacier observation network that stretches from Colombia to the Patagonian ice fields, the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA), Perú, and the Institute of Research and Development (IRD), France, recently organized the second Symposium on Mass Balance of Andean Glaciers in Huaráz,Perú.

  6. Response of the snowmelt and glacier runoff to the climate warming-up in the last 40 years in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    叶佰生; 丁永建; 康尔泗; 李纲; 韩添丁

    1999-01-01

    Some analytical results of the measured runoff during 1950s to 1980s at outlet hydrological stations of 33 main rivers and climatic data collected from 84 meteorological stations in Xinjiang Autonomous Region are presented.Comparison of hydrological and climatic parameters before and after 1980 shows that the spring runoff for most rivers after 1980s increased obviously at a rate of about 10%, though the spring air temperature did not rise very much. Especially,an increment by 20% for alpine runoff is observed during May when intensive snow melting occurred in the alpine region. To the contrary, the runoff in June decreased about 5%. When the summer or annual runoff is taken into account,direct relationship can be found between the change in runoff and the ratio of glacier-coverage, except the runoff in August when the glacier melting is strong, indicating that climatic warming has an obvious effect on the contribution of glacier melting to the runoff increase.

  7. Glacier area variation and climate change in the Chinese Tianshan Mountains since 1960%1960年以来中国天山冰川面积及气候变化

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王圣杰; 张明军; 李忠勤; 王飞腾; 李慧林; 李亚举; 黄小燕

    2011-01-01

    Based on the statistics of glacier area variation measured in the Chinese Tianshan Mountains since 1960, the response of glacier area variation to climate change is discussed systematically. As a result, the total area of the glaciers has been reduced by 11.5% in the past 50 years, which is a weighted percentage according to the glacier area variations of 10 drainage basins separated by the Glacier Inventory of China (GIC). The annual percentage of area changes (APAC) of glaciers in the Chinese Tianshan Mountains is 0.31% after the standardization of the study period. The APAC varies widely for different drainage basins, but the glaciers are in a state of rapid retreat, generally. According to the 14 meteorological stations in the Chinese Tianshan Mountains, both the temperature and precipitation display a marked increasing tendency from 1960 to 2009 at a rate of 0.34℃·(10a)-1 and 11 mm·(10a)-1,respectively. The temperature in the dry seasons (from November to March) increases rapidly at a rate of 0.46℃·(10a)-1, but the precipitation grows slowly at 2.3 mm·(10a)-1. While the temperature in the wet seasons (from April to October) grows at a rate of 0.25℃·(10a)-1, but the precipitation increases at 8.7 mm·(10a)-1. The annual and seasonal climatic trends accelerate the retreat of glaciers.

  8. Satellite Observations of Glacier Advances and Retreat in the Western Karakoram

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haritashya, U. K.; Bishop, M. P.; Shroder, J. F.; Bulley, H. N.

    2007-12-01

    Debris-covered alpine glaciers around the world have been retreating and downwasting. This suggests glacier response to atmospheric warming. Recent studies in the eastern Himalaya have shown systematic retreat for many glaciers. In the western Himalaya, however, systematic and quantitative data are not yet available to determine glacier sensitivity and mass balance trend. Given the paucity of bench-mark glaciers in the Himalaya, remote-sensing-based studies are required to obtain baseline information and produce estimates of advance and retreat rates. Consequently, our objectives were to assess glacier fluctuations in the western Karakoram of Pakistan as a part of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project. Specifically, we used multi- temporal satellite data (ASTER 09/13/2004, Landsat TM 10/15/1992, and Landsat MSS 07/15/1992) to quantitatively assess terminus fluctuations. Results indicate that more than 50 percent of the sampled large and large-medium sized glaciers are advancing, and/or exhibit similar terminus positions to past positions. For example, Bualtar Glacier is advancing at the rate of 11 m/yr. On the other hand, most of the small-medium to small glaciers, such as Mani Glacier are retreating (15 m/yr). Some of these glaciers have also shown strong downwasting characteristics in the form of increased frequency and size of supraglacial lakes. Collectively, our results indicate that these glaciers may be responding differently to the current climatic conditions than in the eastern Himalaya (east of the Karakoram) and Wakhan Pamir region (northwest of the Karakoram). These quantitative results from remote-sensing studies also indicate that glacier fluctuations in this region are spatially and temporally complex. These complexities may be governed by multi-scaled topographic effects, as well as by variations in winter precipitation and decreases in summer temperature from increased cloudiness, as suggested by others.

  9. Regional cooling caused recent New Zealand glacier advances in a period of global warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackintosh, Andrew N.; Anderson, Brian M.; Lorrey, Andrew M.; Renwick, James A.; Frei, Prisco; Dean, Sam M.

    2017-01-01

    Glaciers experienced worldwide retreat during the twentieth and early twenty first centuries, and the negative trend in global glacier mass balance since the early 1990s is predominantly a response to anthropogenic climate warming. The exceptional terminus advance of some glaciers during recent global warming is thought to relate to locally specific climate conditions, such as increased precipitation. In New Zealand, at least 58 glaciers advanced between 1983 and 2008, and Franz Josef and Fox glaciers advanced nearly continuously during this time. Here we show that the glacier advance phase resulted predominantly from discrete periods of reduced air temperature, rather than increased precipitation. The lower temperatures were associated with anomalous southerly winds and low sea surface temperature in the Tasman Sea region. These conditions result from variability in the structure of the extratropical atmospheric circulation over the South Pacific. While this sequence of climate variability and its effect on New Zealand glaciers is unusual on a global scale, it remains consistent with a climate system that is being modified by humans. PMID:28195582

  10. Regional cooling caused recent New Zealand glacier advances in a period of global warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackintosh, Andrew N.; Anderson, Brian M.; Lorrey, Andrew M.; Renwick, James A.; Frei, Prisco; Dean, Sam M.

    2017-02-01

    Glaciers experienced worldwide retreat during the twentieth and early twenty first centuries, and the negative trend in global glacier mass balance since the early 1990s is predominantly a response to anthropogenic climate warming. The exceptional terminus advance of some glaciers during recent global warming is thought to relate to locally specific climate conditions, such as increased precipitation. In New Zealand, at least 58 glaciers advanced between 1983 and 2008, and Franz Josef and Fox glaciers advanced nearly continuously during this time. Here we show that the glacier advance phase resulted predominantly from discrete periods of reduced air temperature, rather than increased precipitation. The lower temperatures were associated with anomalous southerly winds and low sea surface temperature in the Tasman Sea region. These conditions result from variability in the structure of the extratropical atmospheric circulation over the South Pacific. While this sequence of climate variability and its effect on New Zealand glaciers is unusual on a global scale, it remains consistent with a climate system that is being modified by humans.

  11. Emerging Glacial Lakes in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru: A Case Study at Arteson Glacier

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chisolm, R. E.; Mckinney, D. C.; Gomez, J.; Voss, K.

    2012-12-01

    Tropical glaciers are an essential component of the water resources systems in the mountainous regions where they are located, and a warming climate has resulted in the accelerated retreat of Andean glaciers in recent decades. The shrinkage of Andean glaciers influences the flood risk for communities living downstream as new glacial lakes have begun to form at the termini of some glaciers. As these lakes continue to grow in area and volume, they pose an increasing risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Ice thickness measurements have been a key missing link in studying the tropical glaciers in Peru and how climate change is likely to impact glacial melt and the growth of glacial lakes. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) has rarely been applied to glaciers in Peru to measure ice thickness, and these measurements can tell us a lot about how a warming climate will affect glacier mass balance. This study presents GPR data taken in July 2012 at the Arteson glacier in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. A new lake has begun to form at the terminus of the Arteson glacier, and this lake has key features, including overhanging ice and loose rock likely to create landslides, that could trigger a catastrophic GLOF if the lake continues to grow. This new lake is part of a series of three lakes that have formed below the Arteson glacier. The two lower lakes, Artesonraju and Paron, are much larger so that if there were an avalanche or landslide into the new lake below Arteson glacier, the impact could potentially be more catastrophic than a GLOF from one single lake. Estimates of how the lake mass balance is likely to evolve due to the retreating glacier are key to assessing the flood risk from this dynamic three-lake system. Because the glacier mass balance and lake mass balance are closely linked, the ice thickness measurements and measurements of the bed slope of the Arteson glacier and underlying bedrock give us a clue to how the lake is likely to evolve. GPR measurements of

  12. Glacier length, area and volume changes in the Himalaya: an overview and specific examples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolch, T.; Bhambri, R.; Kamp, U.; Pieczonka, T.

    2011-12-01

    advancing glaciers. This is consistent with existing studies of the Karakoram glaciers. However, area and length changes show indirect signals only while the mass balance is most directly linked to climate. Debris cover on glaciers which is common throughout the Himalaya further influences glacier melt. Existing studies show that area and length changes are reduced in comparison to debris-free glaciers. Currently no long-term in-situ glacier mass balance measurements exist. Remote sensed derived geodetic mass balance estimations are a suitable tool to improve the knowledge on the reaction of glaciers to climate change. Detailed investigations on the debris-covered glaciers in Khumbu Himalaya based on stereo Corona, ASTER and Cartosat-1 data revealed a specific mass balance of -0.32 ± 0.08 m w.e. a-1 between 1972 and 2007 which is within the global mean. The surface lowering is significant for all glaciers despite thick debris-cover. Consistently, preliminary results of the large debris-covered Zemu Glacier in Sikkim/Eastern Indian Himalaya indicate significant mass loss but only a slight reduction in length. Further analyses are under way and also climatic considerations will be addressed.

  13. Present and Future Surface Mass Budget of Small Arctic Ice Caps in a High Resolution Regional Climate Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mottram, Ruth; Langen, Peter; Koldtoft, Iben; Midefelt, Linnea; Hesselbjerg Christensen, Jens

    2016-04-01

    Globally, small ice caps and glaciers make a substantial contribution to sea level rise; this is also true in the Arctic. Around Greenland small ice caps are surprisingly important to the total mass balance from the island as their marginal coastal position means they receive a large amount of precipitation and also experience high surface melt rates. Since small ice caps and glaciers have had a disproportionate number of long-term monitoring and observational schemes in the Arctic, likely due to their relative accessibility, they can also be a valuable source of data. However, in climate models the surface mass balance contributions are often not distinguished from the main ice sheet and the presence of high relief topography is difficult to capture in coarse resolution climate models. At the same time, the diminutive size of marginal ice masses in comparison to the ice sheet makes modelling their ice dynamics difficult. Using observational data from the Devon Ice Cap in Arctic Canada and the Renland Ice Cap in Eastern Greenland, we assess the success of a very high resolution (~5km) regional climate model, HIRHAM5 in capturing the surface mass balance (SMB) of these small ice caps. The model is forced with ERA-Interim and we compare observed mean SMB and the interannual variability to assess model performance. The steep gradient in topography around Renland is challenging for climate models and additional statistical corrections are required to fit the calculated surface mass balance to the high relief topography. Results from a modelling experiment at Renland Ice Cap shows that this technique produces a better fit between modelled and observed surface topography. We apply this statistical relationship to modelled SMB on the Devon Ice Cap and use the long time series of observations from this glacier to evaluate the model and the smoothed SMB. Measured SMB values from a number of other small ice caps including Mittivakkat and A.P. Olsen ice cap are also compared

  14. Assessing the uncertainty of glacier mass-balance simulations in the European Arctic based on variance decomposition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sauter, T.; Obleitner, F.

    2015-12-01

    State-of-the-art numerical snowpack models essentially rely on observational data for initialization, forcing, parametrization, and validation. Such data are available in increasing amounts, but the propagation of related uncertainties in simulation results has received rather limited attention so far. Depending on their complexity, even small errors can have a profound effect on simulations, which dilutes our confidence in the results. This paper aims at quantification of the overall and fractional contributions of some archetypical measurement uncertainties on snowpack simulations in arctic environments. The sensitivity pattern is studied at two sites representing the accumulation and ablation area of the Kongsvegen glacier (Svalbard), using the snowpack scheme Crocus. The contribution of measurement errors on model output variance, either alone or by interaction, is decomposed using global sensitivity analysis. This allows one to investigate the temporal evolution of the fractional contribution of different factors on key model output metrics, which provides a more detailed understanding of the model's sensitivity pattern. The analysis demonstrates that the specified uncertainties in precipitation and long-wave radiation forcings had a strong influence on the calculated surface-height changes and surface-energy balance components. The model output sensitivity patterns also revealed some characteristic seasonal imprints. For example, uncertainties in long-wave radiation affect the calculated surface-energy balance throughout the year at both study sites, while precipitation exerted the most influence during the winter and at the upper site. Such findings are valuable for identifying critical parameters and improving their measurement; correspondingly, updated simulations may shed new light on the confidence of results from snow or glacier mass- and energy-balance models. This is relevant for many applications, for example in the fields of avalanche and

  15. Changing in glacier and snow cover of Karakorum and Western Himalaya and impacts on hydrologic regimes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yinsheng

    2015-04-01

    Glacierized river basins with insufficient summer precipitation (rain) but abundant in snow- and glacier-melt water, are highly suspected by reduction and seasonal alteration in the annual stream-flows owing to climate change. However, the glacio-hydrological observations and investigations to address the linkage between stream-flow fluctuations and glacier storage changes are still very weak, which also a consequent of controversies like 'Karakorum Anomaly' among the scientists concerning the behavior of glaciers in the changing climate. Therefore an investigation to determine the implications of climatic variability over the hydrological regimes of Karakorum and Western Himalayan basins is carried out by employing long term in-situ hydro-meteorological and as well as Remote sensing data. The study reveals that both the basins receives significant winter precipitation therefore the snow cover area reaches to 85% and 58% in Astore and Hunza basins respectively. The predominant contribution from snow and glacier melt to runoff was also estimated as 73% and 83% in Astore and Hunza basin respectively. Similarly, the observed persistent summer cooling and increased precipitation resulted in slightly positive glacier mass storage change of ~8.4-9.5mmyr-1 during the period of 1966-2010 in Hunza basin (Karakoram), whereas stability was observed in Astore basin's (Western Himalaya) glacier storage area at least since 1995. Although previous projections on the feedback of global climate change over glacierized basins suggested short-term increases followed by a sharp decrease in the stream-flows due to the persistent shrinkage of glacier cover area, however, our overall analysis revealed that phenomenon is yet to occurred in both the studied catchments from Karakoram and Western Himalaya, and the current behavior of climatic indicators seems to prolonged its occurrence at least for upcoming few decades particularly in these hydrological regimes.

  16. Glaciological and hydrological sensitivities to climate change in the Hindu-Kush Himalayas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shea, J. M.; Immerzeel, W.

    2014-12-01

    The impact of climate change on glaciers will affect the timing and magnitude of water availability from high-altitude catchments in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya (HKH) region. In this study, we quantify the current sensitivity of glacier systems to climatic change and the associated sub-basin hydrological sensitivity throughout the HKH region using glacier inventory data and high-resolution dynamically downscaled climate fields. We first estimate the glaciological sensitivity, or change in glacierized area with change in equilibrium line altitude (ELA), for each sub-basin using a glacier inventory and SRTM DEM. We assign a climatic sensitivity of the ELA to temperature changes (dELA/dT) based on published values for tropical and sub-tropical glaciers and a high-resolution annual precipitation field. To assess the change in glacier meltwater contribution as a result of warming, we first estimate baseline glacier meltwater contributions using a mass balance gradient and estimated current ELA. Future climate warming scenarios of +1K and +2K are then used to examine the change in glacier meltwater contributions based on the increased ELA and ablation area. Finally, we calculate a glacier significance index that examines the relative importance of melt within each sub-basin, and discuss regional variations in glacier sensitivity and significance.

  17. Increasing mass loss from Greenland's Mittivakkat Gletscher

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mernild, S.H.; Knudsen, N.T.; Lipscomb, W.H.

    2011-01-01

    Warming in the Arctic during the past several decades has caused glaciers to thin and retreat, and recent mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet is well documented. Local glaciers peripheral to the ice sheet are also retreating, but few mass-balance observations are available to quantify...... that retreat and determine the extent to which these glaciers are out of equilibrium with present-day climate. Here, we document record mass loss in 2009/10 for the Mittivakkat Gletscher (henceforth MG), the only local glacier in Greenland for which there exist long-term observations of both the surface mass...... balance and glacier front fluctuations. We attribute this mass loss primarily to record high mean summer (June–August) temperatures in combination with lower-than-average winter precipitation. Also, we use the 15-yr mass-balance record to estimate present-day and equilibrium accumulation-area ratios...

  18. Numerical simulations of Gurenhekou Glacier on the Tibetan Plateau using a full-Stokes ice dynamical model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Zhao

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available We investigate the impact of climate change on a small Tibetan glacier that is representative of the tens of thousands of mountain glaciers in the region. We apply a three-dimensional, thermo-mechanically coupled full-Stokes model to Gurenhekou Glacier located in the southern Tibetan Plateau. The steep and rugged geometry requires use of such a flow model to simulate the dynamical evolution of the glacier. We parameterize the temperature and mass balance using nearby automatic weather stations and an energy balance model for another glacier in the same mountain range. Summer air temperature increased at 0.02 K a−1 over the past 50 yr, and the glacier has retreated at an average rate of 8.3 m a−1. Prognostic simulations suggest an accelerated retreating rate up to 14 m a−1 for the next 50 yr under continued steady warming, which is consistent with observed increased retreat in the last decade. However, regional climate models suggest a marked increase in warming rate over Tibet during the 21st century, and this rate causes about a 1% per year loss of glaciated area and glacier volume. These changes imply that this small glacier will probably disappear in a century. Although Tibetan glaciers are not particularly sensitive to climate warming, the rather high warming rates predicted by regional climate models combined with the small sizes of most Tibetan glaciers suggest that significant numbers of glaciers will be lost in the region during the 21st century.

  19. Glaciers, ice sheets, and sea level: effect of a CO/sub 2/-induced climatic change

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None

    1985-09-01

    The workshop examined the basic questions of how much water has been exchanged between land ice and ocean during the last century, what is happening now, and, given existing climate-modeling prediction, how much exchange can be expected in the next century. In addition, the evidence for exchange was examined and gaps in that evidence were identified. The report includes the 23 presentations made at the workshop, summarizes the workshop discussion, and presents the Committee's findings and recommendations. Separate abstracts have been prepared for the 23 presentations.

  20. Variations in debris distribution and thickness on Himalayan debris-covered glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, Morgan; Rowan, Ann; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram; Quincey, Duncan; Glasser, Neil

    2016-04-01

    to 2 m. Temporal variability was a result of differential surface lowering, spatial variability in glacier surface velocities and intermittent input of debris to the glacier surface through mass movement. Most debris thickening is seen in initially thin areas of debris (glacier terminus. Surface energy balance modelling is currently underway to determine the effect of these variations in debris thickness, and other parameters mentioned previously. Future work will be to calculate debris transport flux on the surface of Khumbu Glacier using the time series of debris thickness maps. Debris flux and refined energy balance calculations will then be incorporated into a 3-D ice flow model to determine the response of Khumbu Glacier to debris transport and climatic changes.

  1. Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation to Flow of Swat River and Glaciers in Hindu Kush Ranges, Swat District, Pakistan (2003-2013

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saifullah Khan

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available This work aims at the climate change impacts and adaptation to surface flow of Swat river and glacier resources in Swat river catchments area, Hindu Kush ranges, Northwest Pakistan. The data about temperature and precipitation have been collected from the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Karachi, whereas the Swat River flow data from the Irrigation Department, Peshawar, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. Two types of climate that is humid and undifferentiated highlands prevail over the area. The total precipitation recorded has been 41.8inches (1061.7 millimeters with mean monthly precipitation of 3.5 inches (88.9 millimeters having a decrease of -0.1 inch (-2.8 millimeters. The area has been humid during 2004 and currently at the threshold of the sub-humid climates (20-40 inches. Kalam valley experiences cold long winters (7 months and short warm summers (5 months. The mean temperature reveals an increase of 0.90C, maximum temperature 0.40C and mean minimum temperature 0.50Celsius. This increase in the temperature of the area has caused water stress and retreat of glaciers and affected the permafrost condition at higher altitudes in the area. The annual flow of the Swat river is 192.2 cubic meter/seconds with a decline of -0.03 cubic m/sec from 2003 to 2013. The annual trend of water flow is directly proportional to precipitation and contrary to maximum temperature during 2003 to 2012 and shows converse condition till 2013. The decrease in the flow of Swat river seems both in winter and summer season. The glaciers and snow covered area of the Kalam valley decreases with passage of time and required mitigation. The vulnerability of the study area to climate change can be minimized by the construction of small reservoirs, river embankments, improvement in sewerage and sanitation, planning for flood water, and revision of the water management policy, implementation, and establishment of research and development funds.

  2. Changes of the Hailuogou Glacier, Mt. Gongga,China, against the Background of Global Warming in the Last Several Decades

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    He Yuanqing; Li Zongxing; Yang Xiaomei; Jia Wenxiong; He Xianzhong; Song Bo; Zhang Ningning; Liu Qiao

    2008-01-01

    Great change, associated with global warming, has occurred at the Hailuogou (海螺沟)has retreated 1 822 m in the past 106 years, with an annual mean retreat of 17.2 m, and the front elevation has risen by 300 m since 1823. Comparison of glacier variations and temperature fluctuations in China and the Northern Hemisphere, over the last 100 years, indicates that glacier retreat stages occurred during the warm phase, and vice versa. Mass balance records during 1959/60--2003/04 have shown that the glacier has suffered a constant mass loss of snow and ice. The accumulated mass balance, -10.83 m water equivalent, indicates an annual mean value of -0.24 m water equivalent. The correlation between the mass balance and temperature is significant, which also indicates that climate warming is the crucial cause of glacier loss.Local hydrological and climatic data demonstrate that runoff from the glacier has been increasing both seasonally and annually.The correlation analysis and trend analysis indicate that ice and snow melted water is the main cause of an increase in the runoff. As the climate has become warmer, changes in the glacier surface morphology have obviously occurred. These include a decrease in glacier thickness, enlargement of glacial caves, and reduction of the size of clefts on the glacier surface. The ablation period has lengthened and the ablation area has expanded. A variety of factors thus provide evidence that the Hailuogou glacier has suffered a rapid loss of snow and ice as a result of climatic warming.

  3. A model study of Abrahamsenbreen, a surging glacier in northern Spitsbergen

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Oerlemans

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available 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 reconstruction back to AD 1300, based on ice-core data from Lomonosovfonna and climate records from Longyearbyen, is used to drive the model. The model is calibrated by requesting that it produces the correct Little Ice Age maximum glacier length and simulates the observed magnitude of the 1978-surge. Abrahamsenbreen is strongly out of balance with the current climate. If climatic conditions will remain as they were for the period 1989–2010, the glacier will ultimately shrink to a length of about 4 km (but this will take hundreds of years. For a climate change scenario involving a 2 m yr−1 rise of the equilibrium line from now onwards, we predict that in the year 2100 Abrahamsenbreen will be about 12 km long. The main effect of a surge is to lower the mean surface elevation and to increase the ablation area, thereby causing a negative perturbation of the mass budget. We found that the occurrence of surges leads to a somewhat stronger retreat of the glacier in a warming climate. Because of the very small bed slope, Abrahamsenbreen is sensitive to small perturbations in the equilibrium-line altitude E. For a decrease of E of only 160 m, the glacier would steadily grow into the Woodfjorddalen until after 2000 years it would reach the Woodfjord and calving could slow down the advance.

  4. Response of regional climate and glacier ice proxies to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO in the subtropical Andes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Dietze

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO is an important element of earth's ocean-climate system. To further understand its past variability, proxy records from climate archives need to be studied. Ice cores from high alpine glaciers may contain high resolution ENSO proxy information, given the glacier site is climatologically sensitive to ENSO. We investigated signals of ENSO in the climate of the subtropical Andes in the proximity of Cerro Tapado glacier (30°08' S, 69°55' W, 5550 m a.s.l., where a 36 m long ice core was drilled in 1999 (Ginot, 2001. We used annual and semi-annual precipitation and temperature time series from regional meteorological stations and interpolated grids for correlation analyses with ENSO indices and ice core-derived proxies (net accumulation, stable isotope ratio δ18O, major ion concentrations. The total time period investigated here comprises 1900 to 2000, but varies with data sets. Only in the western, i.e. Mediterranean Andes precipitation is higher (lower during El Niño (La Niña events, especially at higher altitudes, due to the latitudinal shift of frontal activity during austral winters. However, the temperature response to ENSO is more stable in space and time, being higher (lower during El Niño (La Niña events in most of the subtropical Andes all year long. From a northwest to southeast teleconnection gradient, we suggest a regional water vapour feedback triggers temperature anomalies as a function of ENSO-related changes in regional pressure systems, Pacific sea surface temperature and tropical moisture input. Tapado glacier ice proxies are found to be predominantly connected to eastern Andean summer rain climate, which contradicts previous studies and the modern mean spatial boundary between subtropical summer and winter rain climate derived from the grid data. The only ice core proxy showing a response to ENSO is the major ion concentrations, via local temperature indicating

  5. Deriving glacier surface velocities from repeat optical images

    OpenAIRE

    Heid, Torborg

    2011-01-01

    The velocity of glaciers is important for many aspects in glaciology. Mass accumulated in the accumulation area is transported down to the ablation area by deformation and sliding due to the gravitational force, and hence gla­cier velocity is connected to the mass balance of glaciers. It also contributes directly to the mass balance of calving glaciers because it is an important control of the ice discharge rate for such glaciers. Changing glacier velocities is an indicator of instable glacie...

  6. Changes of Monsoonal Temperate Glaciers in China during the Past Several Decades under the Background of Global Warming

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Wilfred; H.Theakstone

    2008-01-01

    Based on various data,it can be concluded that eight monsoonal temperate glaciers in China were in stationary or ad-vancing between 1900s~1930s and 1960s~1980s,and were in retreating during 1930s~1960s and 1980s~present under the background of climate warming.The total glacier area has reduced by 3.11 km2 with a mean front altitude rise of 3.2 m/yr and 4 glaciers have disappeared in Mt.Yulong during 1957~1999.Mass balance records indicated that glaciers had suf-fered a constant mass loss of snow and ice during the last several decades,and the accumulated mass balance in Hailuogou basin in Mt.Gongga was 10.83 m water equivalent in the past 45 years with a annual mean value of-0.24 m,and the value at Baishui glacier No.1 was-11.38 m water equivalent in the past 52 years with-0.22 m/yr.The inverse variation between mass balance and temperature in China and the Northern Hemisphere reflected that climate warming is mainly corresponding to constant ice and snow mass loss in the past 50 years.The change of the glaciers’ surface mor-phology has occurred since the 1980s,such as enlargement of glacier-lake and ice falls,resulted from the accelrative cli-mate warming.

  7. Environmental controls on the thermal structure of alpine glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. J. Wilson

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Water entrapped in glacier accumulation zones represents a significant latent heat contribution to the development of thermal structure. It also provides a direct link between glacier environments and thermal regimes. We apply a two-dimensional mechanically-coupled model of heat flow to synthetic glacier geometries in order to explore the environmental controls on flowband thermal structure. We use this model to test the sensitivity of thermal structure to physical and environmental variables and to explore glacier response to potential environmental changes. In different conditions consistent with a warming climate, mean glacier temperature and the volume of temperate ice may either increase or decrease, depending on the competing effects of elevated meltwater production, reduced accumulation zone extent, and thinning firn. For two model reference states that exhibit commonly-observed thermal structures, the volume of temperate ice is shown to decline with warming air temperatures. Mass balance sensitivity plays an important role in determining how the englacial thermal regimes of alpine glaciers will adjust in the future.

  8. Environmental controls on the thermal structure of alpine glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. J. Wilson

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Water entrapped in glacier accumulation zones represents a significant latent heat contribution to the development of thermal structure. It also provides a direct link between glacier environments and thermal regimes. We apply a two-dimensional mechanically-coupled model of heat flow to synthetic glacier geometries in order to explore the environmental controls on flowband thermal structure. We use this model to test the sensitivity of thermal structure to physical and environmental variables and to explore glacier thermal response to environmental changes. In different conditions consistent with a warming climate, mean glacier temperature and the volume of temperate ice may either increase or decrease, depending on the competing effects of elevated meltwater production, reduced accumulation zone extent and thinning firn. For two model reference states that exhibit commonly-observed thermal structures, the fraction of temperate ice is shown to decline with warming air temperatures. Mass balance and aquifer sensitivities play an important role in determining how the englacial thermal regimes of alpine glaciers will adjust in the future.

  9. The influence of snow cover thickness on the thermal regime of Tete Rousse Glacier (Mont Blanc range, 3200 m a.s.l.) : consequences for outburst flood hazards and glacier response to climate change

    OpenAIRE

    Gilbert, A.; Vincent, C; Wagnon, Patrick; Thibert, E; Rabatel, A.

    2012-01-01

    Tete Rousse Glacier (French Alps) was responsible for an outburst flood in 1892 that devastated the village of St Gervais-Le Fayet close to Chamonix, causing 175 fatalities. Changes in the hydrothermal configuration of the glacier are suspected to be the cause of this catastrophic outburst flood. In 2010, geophysical surveys of this glacier revealed a subglacial lake that was subsequently drained artificially. The processes controlling the thermal regime of the glacier have been investigated ...

  10. Modelled glacier equilibrium line altitudes during the mid-Holocene in the southern mid-latitudes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Bravo

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Glacier behaviour during the mid-Holocene (MH, 6000 year BP in the Southern Hemisphere provides observational data to constrain our understanding of the origin and propagation of palaeo-climatic signals. We examine the climatic forcing of glacier expansion in the MH by evaluating modelled glacier equilibrium line altitude (ELA and climate conditions during the MH compared with pre-industrial time (PI, year 1750 in the mid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, specifically in Patagonia and the South Island of New Zealand. Climate conditions for the MH are obtained from PMIP2 models simulations, which in turn force a simple glacier mass balance model to simulate changes in equilibrium-line altitude during this period. Climate conditions during the MH show significantly (p ≤ 0.05 colder temperatures in summer, autumn and winter, and significantly (p ≤ 0.05 warmer temperatures in spring. These changes are a consequence of insolation differences between the two periods. Precipitation does not show significant changes, but exhibits a temporal pattern with less precipitation from August to September and more precipitation from October to April during the MH. In response to these climatic changes, glaciers in both analysed regions have an ELA that is 15–33 m lower than PI during the MH. The main causes of this difference are the colder temperature during the MH, reinforcing previous results that mid-latitude glaciers are more sensitive to temperature change compared to precipitation changes. Differences in temperature have a dual effect on mass balance. First, during summer and early autumn less energy is available for melting. Second in late autumn and winter, lower temperatures cause more precipitation to fall as snow rather than rain, resulting in more accumulation and higher surface albedo. For these reasons, we postulate that the modelled ELA changes, although small, may help to explain larger glacier extents observed in the mid Holocene in

  11. Get Close to Glaciers with Satellite Imagery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, Dorothy K.

    1986-01-01

    Discusses the use of remote sensing from satellites to monitor glaciers. Discusses efforts to use remote sensing satellites of the Landsat series for examining the global distribution, mass, balance, movements, and dynamics of the world's glaciers. Includes several Landsat images of various glaciers. (TW)

  12. 50 years of mass balance observations at Vernagtferner, Eastern Alps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braun, Ludwig; Mayer, Christoph

    2016-04-01

    The determination and monitoring of the seasonal and annual glacier mass balances of Vernagtferner, Austria, started in 1964 by the Commission of Glaciology, Bavarian Academy of Sciences. Detailed and continuous climate- and runoff measurements complement this mass balance series since 1974. Vernagtferner attracted the attention of scientists since the beginning of the 17th century due to its rapid advances and the resulting glacier lake outburst floods in the Ötztal valley. This is one reason for the first photogrammetric survey in 1889, which was followed by frequent topographic surveys, adding up to more than ten digital elevation models of the glacier until today. By including the known maximum glacier extent at the end of the Little Ice Age in 1845, the geodetic glacier volume balances cover a time span of almost 170 years. The 50 years of glacier mass balance and 40 years of water balance in the drainage basin are therefore embedded in a considerably longer period of glacier evolution, allowing an interpretation within an extended frame of climatology and ice dynamics. The direct mass balance observations cover not only the period of alpine-wide strong glacier mass loss since the beginning of the 1990s. The data also contain the last period of glacier advances between 1970 and 1990. The combination of the observed surface mass exchange and the determined periodic volumetric changes allows a detailed analysis of the dynamic reaction of the glacier over the period of half a century. The accompanying meteorological observations are the basis for relating these reactions to the climatic changes during this period. Vernagtferner is therefore one of the few glaciers in the world, where a very detailed glacier-climate reaction was observed for many decades and can be realistically reconstructed back to the end of the Little Ice Age.

  13. Cryosphere water balance in the HKH-system: case study Batura Glacier (Upper Hunza, Karakoram)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winiger, M.; Boerst, U.

    2012-12-01

    Investigations on climate dynamics and related responses of the cryosphere in the Hindukush-Karakoram-Himalaya (HKH) increasingly result in regional different functional patterns. A predominant loss of ice and snow is documented for most of the region. Nevertheless, in the northwestern part, mainly in the Karakoram, several studies identified exemptions from the general HKH-pattern, either for individual glaciers or altitudinal ranges. Coordinated comparative studies, based on comparable methodological approaches and data bases might help to provide a better understanding of climate-cryosphere-runoff-systems. 'Third Pole Environment' (TEP), as well as the 'Upper Indus Basin' Initiative (UIB) of the 'International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development' (ICIMOD) promote and develop coordinated campaigns for the assessment of high altitude water balances in the HKH mountain ranges. As a first step, inventories of glaciers and snow-cover for HKH, the Tibetan Plateau, as well as its neighboring mountain ranges have been carried out. Glacier typology, climate related spatial and temporal dynamics, the impact of black carbon, dust and other influencing factors will further differentiate general inventories. In a next phase, case studies at selected sites, based on comparable approaches, thorough quality assessments of existing data series have been initiated by several research groups - up to now with only little coordination. Identification of case study sites should take advantage of previous studies. Although proper long-term monitoring is almost completely lacking, several glaciers in the Karakoram have repeatedly been investigated. Among them Raikot Glacier (Nanga Parbat), Biafo-Hispar glacier system, Baltoro Glacier (K2), and Batura Glacier (Gojal, Upper Hunza) are comparatively well documented examples. As part of the UIB-initiative, Batura, Passu and Baltoro Glaciers are in the process of repeat investigations of mass-balance. Selected first results of

  14. Ice cores from Arctic sub-polar glaciers : Chronology and post-depositional processes deduced from radioactivity measurements

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pinglot, J.F.; Vaikmae, R.A.; Kamiyama, K.; Igarashi, M.; Fritsche, D.; Wilhalms, F.; Koerner, R.; Henderson, L.; Isaksson, E.; Winther, J.G.; van de Wal, R.S.W.; Fournier, M; Bouisset, P.; Meijer, H.A.J.

    2003-01-01

    The response of Arctic ice masses to climate change is studied using ice cores containing information on past climatic and environmental features. Interpretation of this information requires accurate chronological data. Absolute dating of ice cores from sub-polar Arctic glaciers is possible using we

  15. Glaciers and small ice caps in the macro-scale hydrological cycle - an assessment of present conditions and future changes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lammers, Richard; Hock, Regine; Prusevich, Alexander; Bliss, Andrew; Radic, Valentina; Glidden, Stanley; Grogan, Danielle; Frolking, Steve

    2014-05-01

    Glacier and small ice cap melt water contributions to the global hydrologic cycle are an important component of human water supply and for sea level rise. This melt water is used in many arid and semi-arid parts of the world for direct human consumption as well as indirect consumption by irrigation for crops, serving as frozen reservoirs of water that supplement runoff during warm and dry periods of summer when it is needed the most. Additionally, this melt water reaching the oceans represents a direct input to sea level rise and therefore accurate estimates of this contribution have profound economic and geopolitical implications. It has been demonstrated that, on the scale of glacierized river catchments, land surface hydrological models can successfully simulate glacier contribution to streamflow. However, at global scales, the implementation of glacier melt in hydrological models has been rudimentary or non-existent. In this study, a global glacier mass balance model is coupled with the University of New Hampshire Water Balance/Transport Model (WBM) to assess recent and projected future glacier contributions to the hydrological cycle over the global land surface (excluding the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica). For instance, results of WBM simulations indicate that seasonal glacier melt water in many arid climate watersheds comprises 40 % or more of their discharge. Implicitly coupled glacier and WBM models compute monthly glacier mass changes and resulting runoff at the glacier terminus for each individual glacier from the globally complete Randolph Glacier Inventory including over 200 000 glaciers. The time series of glacier runoff is aggregated over each hydrological modeling unit and delivered to the hydrological model for routing downstream and mixing with non-glacial contribution of runoff to each drainage basin outlet. WBM tracks and uses glacial and non-glacial components of the in-stream water for filling reservoirs, transfers of water between

  16. Decadal region-wide and glacier-wide mass balances derived from multi-temporal ASTER satellite digital elevation models. Validation over the Mont-Blanc area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berthier, Etienne; Cabot, Vincent; Vincent, Christian; Six, Delphine

    2016-06-01

    Since 2000, a vast archive of stereo-images has been built by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection (ASTER) satellite. Several studies already extracted glacier mass balances from multi-temporal ASTER digital elevation models (DEMs) but they lacked accurate independent data for validation. Here, we apply a linear regression to a time series of 3D-coregistered ASTER DEMs to estimate the rate of surface elevation changes (dh/dtASTER) and geodetic mass balances of Mont-Blanc glaciers (155 km²) between 2000 and 2014. Validation using field and spaceborne geodetic measurements reveals large errors at the individual pixel level (> 1 m a-1) and an accuracy of 0.2-0.3 m a-1 for dh/dtASTER averaged over areas larger than 1 km². For all Mont-Blanc glaciers, the ASTER region-wide mass balance (-1.05±0.37 m water equivalent (w.e.) a-1) agrees remarkably with the one measured using Spot5 and Pléiades DEMs (-1.06±0.23 m w.e. a-1) over their common 2003-2012 period. This multi-temporal ASTER DEM strategy leads to smaller errors than the simple differencing of two ASTER DEMs. By extrapolating dh/dtASTER to mid-February 2000, we infer a mean penetration depth of about 9±3 m for the C-band Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) radar signal, with a strong altitudinal dependency (range 0-12 m). This methodology thus reveals the regional pattern of glacier surface elevation changes and improves our knowledge of the penetration of the radar signal into snow and ice.

  17. Spatiotemporal variations in the surface velocities of Antarctic Peninsula glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Chen

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Velocity is an important parameter for the estimation of glacier mass balance, which directly signals the response of glaciers to climate change. Antarctic ice sheet movement and the associated spatiotemporal velocity variations are of great significance to global sea level rise. In this study, we estimate Antarctic Peninsula glacier velocities using the co-registration of optically sensed images and correlation (hereafter referred to as COSI-Corr based on moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer Level 1B data (hereafter referred to as MODIS L1B. The results show that the glaciers of Graham Land and the Larsen Ice Shelf have substantially different velocity features. The Graham Land glaciers primarily flow from the peninsula ridge towards the Weddell Sea and Bellingshausen Sea on the east and west sides, respectively. There are very large velocity variations among the different ice streams, with a minimum of −1 and a maximum of 1500 m a−1 (with an average of 100–150 m a−1. Over the period 2000–2012, the glaciers of Graham Land accelerated in the south but slowed down in the north. In contrast, the Larsen Ice Shelf flows in a relatively uniform direction, mainly towards the northeast into the Weddell Sea. Its average velocity is 750–800 m a−1 and the maximum is > 1500 m a−1. During the period 2000–2012, the Larsen Ice Shelf experienced significant acceleration. The use of COSI-Corr based on MODIS L1B data is suitable for glacier velocity monitoring on the Antarctic Peninsula over long time series and large spatial scales. This method is clearly advantageous for analysing macro-scale spatiotemporal variations in glacier movement.

  18. The Photographic History of Greenland's Glaciers - and how the historical data plays an important role in today's glacier research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bjork, A. A.; Kjeldsen, K. K.; Korsgaard, N. J.; Aagaard, S.; Andresen, C. S.; Bamber, J. L.; van den Broeke, M.; Colgan, W. T.; Funder, S.; Khan, S. A.; Larsen, N. K.; Machguth, H.; Nuth, C.; Schomacker, A.; Kjaer, K. H.

    2015-12-01

    As the Greenland Ice Sheet and Greenland's glaciers are continuing to loss mass at high rates, knowledge of their past response to climatic changes is ever important. By harvesting the archives for images, both terrestrial and airborne, we are able to expand the record of glacier observation by several decades, thus supplying crucial knowledge on glacier behavior to important climatic transitions such as the end of the Little Ice Age and the early 20th Century warming. Here we show how a large collection of historical aerial images portray the glacial response to the Little Ice Age deglaciation in Greenland and document frontal change throughout the 20th Century. A detailed story of the LIA-deglaciation is told by supplementing with terrestrial photos that capture the onset of retreat and high resolution aerial images that portray geomorphological evidence of the Little Ice Age maximum extent. This work is the result of several generations of Greenland researches and their efforts to portray and document the state of the glaciers, and highlights that while interpretations and conclusions may be challenged and changed through time, the raw observations remain extremely valuable. Finally, we also show how archival data besides photos may play an important role in future glacier research in Greenland.

  19. Glacial lake outburst floods from Kyagar Glacier, Karakoram, P. R. China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haemmig, Christoph; Huss, Matthias; Keusen, Hansrudolf; Hess, Josef; Wegmüller, Urs; Ao, Zhigang; Kulubayi, Wubuli

    2013-04-01

    Kyagar Glacier is located in the Karakoram Mountains in the southwest of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, P.R. China. The glacier tongue entirely blocks the riverbed of the upper Shaksgam Valley and impounds a glacial lake at 4750 m a.s.l., which was the source of several violent and disastrous Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) over the past decades. The spontaneous floods are a threat to over 1 mio. inhabitants in the floodplains of the Yarkant River. A GLOF early warning system, combining satellite remote sensing and two terrestrial observation and warning stations at Kyagar Lake and 200 km downstream, was implemented in 2011 and 2012. The stations provide daily images based on automatic cameras, water level measurements, and are equipped with weather sensors to monitor local climate. We discuss the GLOF early warning system and present first measurement series of melt-water runoff and meteorological conditions from one of the remotest regions of the Karakoram mountains. The ongoing project also elaborates scenario-based forecasts of future glacier lake developments, considering the ice-flow dynamics of Kyagar Glacier as well as surface mass-balance response to climate change. Comparison of two high-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) for the ice dam show surface lowering rates of more than 4 m a-1 between 2002 and 2011 leading to a significant reduction in lake volume and hence, a decreasing GLOF hazard potential. Glacier melt modelling using climate scenarios indicates a rapid retreat of the glacier tongue over the next decades. However, two DEMs covering the entire glacier for 2000-2008 show small elevation changes in the accumulation area and even a slight mass gain in the central part. This is supported by the observation of a moderate ice-flow speed-up in this region. This pattern is typical for surge-type glaciers and is consistent with the numerous documented glacier surges in the Karakoram. Furthermore, the displacement rate of the glacier

  20. Contribution of snow and glacier melt to discharge for highly glacierised catchments in Norway

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Engelhardt

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Glacierised catchments significantly alter the streamflow regime due to snow and glacier meltwater contribution to discharge. In this study, we modelled the mass balance and discharge rates for three highly glacierised catchments (>50% glacier cover in western Norway over the period 1961–2012. The spatial pattern of the catchments follows a gradient in climate continentality from west to east. The model uses gridded temperature and precipitation values from seNorge (http://senorge.no as input which are available at a daily resolution. It accounts for accumulation of snow, transformation of snow to firn and ice, evaporation and melt. The model was calibrated for each catchment based on measurements of seasonal glacier mass-balances and daily discharge rates. For validation, daily melt rates were compared with measurements from sonic rangers located in the ablation zones of two of the glaciers and an uncertainty analysis was performed for the third catchment. The discharge contributions from snowmelt, glacier melt and rain were analysed with respect to spatial variations and temporal evolution. The model simulations reveal an increase of the relative contribution from glacier melt for the three catchments from less than 10% in the early 1990s to 15–30% in the late 2000s. The decline in precipitation by 10–20% in the same period was therefore overcompensated resulting in an increase of the annual discharge by 5–20%. Annual discharge sums and annual glacier melt are strongest correlated with annual and winter precipitation at the most maritime glacier and, with increased climate continentality, variations in both glacier melt contribution and annual discharge are becoming stronger correlated with variations in summer temperatures.

  1. A model study of Abrahamsenbreen, a surging glacier in northern Spitsbergen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oerlemans, J.; van Pelt, W. J. J.

    2015-04-01

    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 reconstruction back to AD 1300, based on ice-core data from Lomonosovfonna and climate records from Longyearbyen, is used to drive the model. The model is calibrated by requesting that it produce the correct Little Ice Age maximum glacier length and simulate the observed magnitude of the 1978 surge. Abrahamsenbreen is strongly out of balance with the current climate. If climatic conditions remain as they were for the period 1989-2010, the glacier will ultimately shrink to a length of about 4 km (but this will take hundreds of years). For a climate change scenario involving a 2 m year-1 rise of the equilibrium line from now onwards, we predict that in the year 2100 Abrahamsenbreen will be about 12 km long. The main effect of a surge is to lower the mean surface elevation and thereby to increase the ablation area, causing a negative perturbation of the mass budget. We found that the occurrence of surges leads to a faster retreat of the glacier in a warming climate. Because of the very small bed slope, Abrahamsenbreen is sensitive to small perturbations in the equilibrium-line altitude. If the equilibrium line were lowered by only 160 m, the glacier would steadily grow into Woodfjorddalen until, after 2000 years, it would reach Woodfjord and calving would slow down the advance. The bed topography of Abrahamsenbreen is not known and was therefore inferred from the slope and length of the glacier. The value of the plasticity parameter needed to do this was varied by +20 and -20%. After recalibration the same climate change experiments were performed, showing that a thinner glacier (higher bedrock in this case) in a warming climate retreats somewhat faster.

  2. Revealing glacier flow and surge dynamics from animated satellite image sequences: examples from the Karakoram

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, F.

    2015-11-01

    Although animated images are very popular on the internet, they have so far found only limited use for glaciological applications. With long time series of satellite images becoming increasingly available and glaciers being well recognized for their rapid changes and variable flow dynamics, animated sequences of multiple satellite images reveal glacier dynamics in a time-lapse mode, making the otherwise slow changes of glacier movement visible and understandable to the wider public. For this study, animated image sequences were created for four regions in the central Karakoram mountain range over a 25-year time period (1990-2015) from freely available image quick-looks of orthorectified Landsat scenes. The animations play automatically in a web browser and reveal highly complex patterns of glacier flow and surge dynamics that are difficult to obtain by other methods. In contrast to other regions, surging glaciers in the Karakoram are often small (10 km2 or less), steep, debris-free, and advance for several years to decades at relatively low annual rates (about 100 m a-1). These characteristics overlap with those of non-surge-type glaciers, making a clear identification difficult. However, as in other regions, the surging glaciers in the central Karakoram also show sudden increases of flow velocity and mass waves travelling down glacier. The surges of individual glaciers are generally out of phase, indicating a limited climatic control on their dynamics. On the other hand, nearly all other glaciers in the region are either stable or slightly advancing, indicating balanced or even positive mass budgets over the past few decades.

  3. A field and glacier modelling based approach to determine the timing and extent of glaciation in southern Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mills, Stephanie C.; Rowan, Ann V.; Barrow, Timothy T.; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Smith, Michael; Grab, Stefan W.; Carr, Simon J.; Fifield, L. Keith

    2014-05-01

    Moraines identified at high-altitude sites in southern Africa and dated to the last glacial maximum (LGM) indicate that the climate in this region was cold enough to support glaciers. Small glaciers are very sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation and the identification of LGM moraines in southern Africa has important palaeoclimatic implications concerning the magnitude of temperature change and the seasonality of precipitation during the last glacial cycle. This paper presents a refined time-frame for likely glaciations based on surface exposure dating using Cl-36 at sites in Lesotho and reports results of a 2D glacier energy balance and ice flow modelling approach (Plummer and Phillips, 2003) to evaluate the most likely climatic scenarios associated with mapped moraine limits. Samples for surface exposure dating were collected from glacially eroded bedrock at several locations and yield ages within the timescale of the LGM. Scatter in the ages may be due to insufficient erosion of the bedrock surface due to the small and relatively thin nature of the glaciers. To determine the most likely climatic conditions that may have caused the glaciers to reach their mapped extent, we use a glacier-climate model, driven by data from local weather stations and a 30m (ASTER) DEM (sub-sampled to 10m) representation of the topographic surface. The model is forced using modern climate data for primary climatic controls (temperature and precipitation) and for secondary climatic parameters (relative humidity, cloudiness, wind speed). Various sensitivity tests were run by dropping temperature by small increments and by varying the amount of precipitation and its seasonality relative to present-day values. Results suggest that glaciers could have existed in the Lesotho highlands with a temperature depression of ~5-6 ºC and that the glaciers were highly sensitive to small changes in temperature. The additional accumulation of mass through wind redistribution appears to

  4. Climate change impacts on mass movements--case studies from the European Alps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoffel, M; Tiranti, D; Huggel, C

    2014-09-15

    This paper addresses the current knowledge on climate change impacts on mass movement activity in mountain environments by illustrating characteristic cases of debris flows, rock slope failures and landslides from the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. It is expected that events are likely to occur less frequently during summer, whereas the anticipated increase of rainfall in spring and fall could likely alter debris-flow activity during the shoulder seasons (March, April, November, and December). The magnitude of debris flows could become larger due to larger amounts of sediment delivered to the channels and as a result of the predicted increase in heavy precipitation events. At the same time, however, debris-flow volumes in high-mountain areas will depend chiefly on the stability and/or movement rates of permafrost bodies, and destabilized rock glaciers could lead to debris flows without historic precedents in the future. The frequency of rock slope failures is likely to increase, as excessively warm air temperatures, glacier shrinkage, as well as permafrost warming and thawing will affect and reduce rock slope stability in the direction that adversely affects rock slope stability. Changes in landslide activity in the French and Western Italian Alps will likely depend on differences in elevation. Above 1500 m asl, the projected decrease in snow season duration in future winters and springs will likely affect the frequency, number and seasonality of landslide reactivations. In Piemonte, for instance, 21st century landslides have been demonstrated to occur more frequently in early spring and to be triggered by moderate rainfalls, but also to occur in smaller numbers. On the contrary, and in line with recent observations, events in autumn, characterized by a large spatial density of landslide occurrences might become more scarce in the Piemonte region.

  5. Changes in the Mass Balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet in a Warming Climate During 2003-2009

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Luthcke, Scott

    2010-01-01

    Mass changes of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) derived from ICESat and GRACE data both show that the net mass loss from GIS during 2003-2009 is about 175 Gt/year, which contributes 0.5mm/yr global sea-level rise. The rate of mass loss has increased significantly since the 1990's when the GIS was close to mass balance. Even though the GIS was close to mass balance during the 1990's, it was already showing characteristics of responding to8 warmer climate, specifically thinning at the margins and thickening inland at higher elevations. During 2003-2009, increased ice thinning due to increases in melting and acceleration of outlet glaciers began to strongly exceed the inland thickening from increases in accumulation. Over the entire GIS, the mass loss between the two periods, from increased melting and ice dynamics, increased by about 190 Gt/year while the mass gain, from increased precipitation and accumulation, increased by only about 15Gt/year. These ice changes occurred during a time when the temperature on GIS changed at rate of about 2K/decade. The distribution of elevation and mass changes derived from ICESat have high spatial resolution showing details over outlet glaciers, by drainage systems, and by elevation. However, information on the seasonal cycle of changes from ICESat data is limited, because the ICESat lasers were only operated during two to three campaigns per year of about 35 days duration each. In contrast, the temporal resolution of GRACE data, provided by the continuous data collection, is much better showing details of the seasonal cycle and the inter-annual variability. The differing sensitivity of the ICESat altimetry and the GRACE gravity methods to motion of the underlying bedrock from glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) is used to evaluate the GIA corrections provided by models. The two data types are also combined to make estimates of the partitioning of the mass gains and losses among accumulation, melting, and ice discharge from outlet

  6. The impact of a seasonally ice free Arctic Ocean on the climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. J. Day

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available General circulation models (GCMs predict a rapid decrease in Arctic sea ice extent in the 21st century. The decline of September sea ice is expected to continue until the Arctic Ocean is seasonally ice free, leading to a much perturbed Arctic climate with large changes in surface energy flux. Svalbard, located on the present day sea ice edge, contains many low lying ice caps and glaciers which are extremely sensitive to changes in climate. Records of past accumulation indicate that the surface mass balance (SMB of Svalbard is also sensitive to changes in the position of the sea ice edge.

    To investigate the impact of 21st Century sea ice decline on the climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard a high resolution (25 km regional climate model (RCM was forced with a repeating cycle of sea surface temperatures (SSTs and sea ice conditions for the periods 1961–1990 and 2061–2090. By prescribing 20th Century SSTs and 21st Century sea ice for one simulation, the impact of sea ice decline is isolated. This study shows that the coupled impact of sea ice decline and SST increase results in a decrease in SMB, whereas the impact of sea ice decline alone causes an increase in SMB of similar magnitude.

  7. GLACIERS IN THE MEYNYPILGYNSKY RANGE: CURRENT STATE AND DEVELOPMENT FORECAST OF GLACIER SYSTEMS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. D. Ananicheva

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available SummaryPaper presents the results of interpretation of space images (from Landsat and World View-2, which made possible to estimate the areal extent of glaciers ofMeynypilgynskyRange, North-East of Koryak Upland, in the early 2000's. Assessments of glaciers were analyzed in comparison with the Glacier Inventory of the region, compiled by R.V. Sedov (2001, as a whole and for groups of glaciers belonging to the selected six glacial systems. After dozens of years since the compilation of the Inventory (1985 and from some glacier data referred to 1967, the glaciers ofMeynypilgynskyRangelost about 30% of the area, mainly due to drying that accompanies climate warming. The analysis of glaciers, which had retreated, was conducted for the groups by the same morphological type, and the same aspect. The largest retreat and area reduction is relevant to valley-corrie and hanging glaciers of eastern aspect. Glaciers facing north less suffered. As a result of application of the developed methodology for assessing the evolution of glacier systems under given climate scenario, the parameters for the state of the glacier systems ofMeynypilgynskyRangeup to the time span 2049–2060 were obtained. The AOGCM–ECHAM 5 (B1 was used as a scenario; it is the optimal for theNorthern Eurasia. It turned out that the glaciers reduction would be catastrophic (about 90%, but nevertheless they would not completely disappeared.

  8. Climatically driven variations in glacier extent as documented by the laminated proglacial sediment record from Lago del Desierto (Southern Patagonia, Argentina)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enters, D.; Kastner, S.; Ohlendorf, C.; Haberzettl, T.; Kuhn, G.; Lücke, A.; Mayr, C.; Reyss, J.; Wastegard, S.

    2009-12-01

    The climate of southernmost South America is strongly affected by shifts in polar and mid-latitude pressure fields which are expressed in variations of the Southern Hemispheric Westerlies and the Antarctic Oscillation. Next to marine records and Antarctic ice cores this continental area is important to reveal hemispheric and global climate trends. As instrumental climate records from this region are generally short and scarce, environmental archives are the only source of providing long-term records of climate variations. In the northern hemisphere, proglacial lakes have shown to be excellent sources of palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic information. In this study, we evaluate the potential of the laminated proglacial sediment sequence from Lago del Desierto (49°02’S, 72°51’W) as a palaeoclimate archive. Lago del Desierto is situated in the climatically sensitive area of Southern Patagonia close to the South Patagonian Ice Field. Two parallel gravity cores (max. length 283 cm) were analysed using a multi-proxy approach. Radiometric dating (14C, 210Pb and 137Cs) and tephrochronology document that the recovered sediments cover the last 2000 years. After exclusion of numerous event layers, the sedimentological, mineralogical, and geochemical datasets reveal a long-term trend of runoff variations and sediment accessibility controlled by changes in temperature and precipitation. An abrupt lithological change visible in sediments mineralogy and geochemistry occurred around AD 850 and is interpreted as a rearrangement in sediment availability and transfer rates related to the beginning exposure of formerly glaciated areas. Thereafter, the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) period, the Little Ice Age (LIA) cooling and the subsequent 20th century warming can be traced in the sediment record corresponding to the overall trend observed for southern South America. The increased minerogenic input and a higher frequency of event layers mirror the onset of warmer climate

  9. Heterogeneous glacial lake changes and links of lake expansions to the rapid thinning of adjacent glacier termini in the Himalayas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Chunqiao; Sheng, Yongwei; Wang, Jida; Ke, Linghong; Madson, Austin; Nie, Yong

    2017-03-01

    Glacier mass loss in the Himalayas has far-reaching implications for the alteration of regional hydrologic regimes, an increased risk of glacial lake outburst, downstream water resource abundance, and contributions to sea level rise. However, the mass losses of Himalayan glaciers are not well understood towing to the scarcity of observations and the heterogeneous responses of Himalayan glaciers to climate change and local factors (e.g., glacier surge, interacting with proglacial lakes). In particular, there is a lack of understanding on the unique interactions between moraine-dammed glacial lakes and their effects on debris cover on valley glacier termini. In this study, we examined the temporal evolution of 151 large glacial lakes across the Himalayas and then classified these glacial lakes into three categories: proglacial lakes in contact with full or partial debris-covered glaciers (debris-contact lakes), ice cliff-contact lakes, and non-glacier-contact lakes. The results show that debris-contact lakes experienced a dramatic areal increase of 36.5% over the years 2000 to 2014, while the latter two categories of lakes remained generally stable. The majority of lake expansions occurred at the glacier front without marked lake level rises. This suggests that the rapid expansion of these debris-contact lakes can be largely attributed to the thinning of debris-covered ice as caused by the melting of glacial fronts and the subsequent glacial retreat. We reconstructed the height variations of glacier fronts in contact with 57 different proglacial lakes during the years 2000 to 2014. These reconstructed surface elevation changes of debris-covered, lake-contact glacier fronts reveal significant thinning trends with considerable lowering rates that range from 1.0 to 9.7 m/y. Our study reveals that a substantial average ice thinning of 3.9 m/y occurred at the glacier fronts that are in contact with glacial lakes.

  10. Mapping the Snow Line Altitude for Large Glacier Samples from Multitemporal Landsat Imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rastner, P.; Nicholson, L. I.; Notarnicola, C.; Prinz, R.; Sailer, R.

    2015-12-01

    The cryosphere of mountain regions is fastly changing in response to climate change. This is particularly evident in global-scale glacier retreat. Trends in snow cover, however, are more difficult to determine, as annual fluctuations can be very large. Snow is an important parameter in the energy and mass balance of glaciers and the snow line altitude (SLA) at the end of the melting period can be considered as a proxy for the equilibrium line altitude (ELA). By frequently observing the SLA from satellite, region-wide monitoring of glaciers and improved calibration and validation of transient glacier (mass balance) models is possible. In the near future, frequent mapping of the SLA will be strongly facilitated by satellite missions like Sentinel 2A/B, where the same region will be covered every 5 days with 10 m spatial resolution. For this study we have developed an automated tool to derive the SLA for large glacier samples from remote sensing data. The method is first applied in the Ötztal Alps (Austria) where reliable in-situ data of mass balance and ELA are available for several glaciers over a 30-years period. The algorithm currently works with multi-temporal Landsat imagery (1972-2015), digital glacier outlines and a high-quality national DEM. All input datasets are atmospherically and topographically pre-processed before the SLA is automatically retrieved for each glacier. The remote-sensing derived SLA is generally about 200 m lower than the ELA, however, a clear trend in the altitude of the end of summer snow line is detectable (~ 200 m), which is in agreement with the ELA trend observed in the field. After bias correction and conversion to mass balance, the variability in observed mass balance can be well reproduced from the satellite-derived SLA time series. This is promising for application of the approach in other regions.

  11. Geomorphic consequences of two large glacier and rock glacier destabilizations in the Central and northern Chilean Andes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iribarren Anacona, Pablo; Bodin, Xavier

    2010-05-01

    Mountain areas are occasionaly affected by complex mass movements of high magnitude and large extent, which generally involve water, snow, rock and ice in variable proportions. Those events can take the form of rock avalanche, landslide, debris flow, glacier collapse or a combination of these phenomenons. In the Central Andes of Chile, they affect hardly accessible regions with low population, explaining the scarcity of previous studies. Nevertheless, during the last 30 years, some documented examples of such events in this region have shown that the volume of material involved is in the order of several millions of m³, the areas affected can reach several tenth of km² and the velocity of the movement can exceed several tenths of m/s. In this context, this study intends i) to inventory and to describe the main characteristics of events previously documented in the Central Andes of Chile, and ii) analyse in detail two recent events (2005-2007) never described before which have affected in one case a glacier and in another case a rock glacier. With the objectives of determining the possible chain of triggering factors and interpreting the event's significance in terms of geomorphic, cryogenic and climatic dynamics, we used air photographs, satellite imagery (Landsat TM & ETM+; Quick Bird when available in Google Earth 5.0), data from the closest meteorological stations, glacier mass balance data and seismic records to investigate the collapse of a rock glacier occurred in 2006 on the west-facing flank of the Cerro Las Tórtolas (6160 m asl; 29°58' S. - 69°55' W.), in the arid North of Chile, and the collapse of a glacier that occurred during austral summer 2006-2007 on the South side of the Tinguiririca Volcano (4075 m asl; 34°48' S. - 70°21' W.). The rock glacier collapse of the Cerro Las Tórtolas West flank occurred during the spring of 2006, but signs of destabilization were already observable since the end of 2005. The deposit of the collapsed mass of the

  12. Climatic and environmental implications from organic matter in Dasuopu glacier in Xixiabangma in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    谢树成; 姚檀栋; 康世昌; 段克勤; 徐柏青; L.; G.; Thompson

    1999-01-01

    A series of organic compounds in snow and ice were identified from Dasuopu glacier in Xixiabangma in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Organic compounds derived from natural organisms include n-alkanes ranging from C15 to C33, normal monoearboxylie acids of C6—C18, n-alkan-2-ones of C24—C31 and esters. The unstable compounds widely present in lower troposphere disppear in the middle-upper troposphere. Lots of other organic compounds from petroleum residues were also unexpectedly identified from the glacier, covering pristane, phytane, extended tricyclie terpanes of C19—C29, C24 tetracyclic terpane, αβ hopane compounds of C27—C35, and cholestanes of C27—C29. The remote Xixiabangma region is unambiguously polluted from anthropology activities. The petroleum residues were proposed to be mainly from the Mideast and India, not from China. The organic pollutants from oil fires ignited during the well-known Gulf War which broke out in 1991 were also recorded in the glacier. S

  13. Surge-type glaciers: controls, processes and distribution

    OpenAIRE

    Sevestre, Heïdi

    2015-01-01

    Glacier surging is an internally triggered instability. Surge-type glaciers periodically alternate between long periods of slow flow (the quiescent phase) and short periods of fast flow (the surge phase). Surging yields down-glacier transport of mass and often results in large and sudden glacier advances.The surging phenomenon has always challenged the notion of normality in glacier flow dynamics. The mechanisms of surging remain poorly understood. Observation of different surge behaviors acr...

  14. Classification of debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers in the Andes of central Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Janke, Jason R.; Bellisario, Antonio C.; Ferrando, Francisco A.

    2015-07-01

    In the Dry Andes of Chile (17 to 35° S), debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers are differentiated from true glaciers based on the percentage of surface debris cover, thickness of surface debris, and ice content. Internal ice is preserved by an insulating cover of thick debris, which acts as a storage reservoir to release water during the summer and early fall. These landforms are more numerous than glaciers in the central Andes; however, the existing legislation only recognizes uncovered or semicovered glaciers as a water resource. Glaciers, debris-covered glaciers, and rock glaciers are being altered or removed by mining operations to extract valuable minerals from the mountains. In addition, agricultural expansion and population growth in this region have placed additional demands on water resources. In a warmer climate, as glaciers recede and seasonal water availability becomes condensed over the course of a snowmelt season, rock glaciers and debris-covered glaciers contribute a larger component of base flow to rivers and streams. As a result, identifying and locating these features to implement sustainable regional planning for water resources is important. The objective of this study is to develop a classification system to identify debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers based on the interpretation of satellite imagery and aerial photographs. The classification system is linked to field observations and measurements of ice content. Debris-covered glaciers have three subclasses: surface coverage of semi (class 1) and fully covered (class 2) glaciers differentiates the first two forms, whereas debris thickness is critical for class 3 when glaciers become buried with more than 3 m of surface debris. Based on field observations, the amount of ice decreases from more than 85%, to 65-85%, to 45-65% for semi, fully, and buried debris-covered glaciers, respectively. Rock glaciers are characterized by three stages. Class 4 rock glaciers have pronounced

  15. Holocene Glacier Fluctuations In The Swiss Alps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holzhauser, H.

    The reconstruction of preindustrial glacier fluctuations in the Swiss Alps reveals the natural range of Holocene climate variability against which the present-day climatic situation can be judged. The results of very recent research on the Great Aletsch and Gorner Glaciers (Valaisian Alps), the Lower Grindelwald Glacier (Bernese Alps) shed light on the glacier fluctuations during the last 3200 years. These glaciers have, at max- imum extensions, penetrated below the timberline and have even reached inhabited areas resulting in sometimes massive destruction. Losses of buildings, woods and pas- tures are the conditions governing the methods used for the reconstruction of glacier length fluctuation through time. The main methods are: historical - the interpretation of pictorial and written historical records, glazio-archaeology - the search for anthro- pogenic traces that are directly related to changes in glacier size/length and scientific - the radiocarbon dating of fossil soils (palaeosols) and wood found in glacier fore- fields. Numerous samples of palaeosols and fossil wood (tree trunks, roots and macro- remains) found in the glacier forefield were radiocarbon dated. Owing to the good condition of several fossil tree trunks, dendrochronological analyses were also con- ducted. The dendrochronological analysis of fossil trees has supplied much reliable evidence of glacier fluctuations through its proven exactness (a single year resolution) which is impossible to obtain with the radiocarbon method alone.

  16. The Photographic History of Greenland’s Glaciers – and how the historical data plays an important role in today’s glacier research

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bjørk, Anders Anker; Kjeldsen, Kristian Kjellerup; Korsgaard, Niels Jákup

    As the Greenland Ice Sheet and Greenland's glaciers are continuing to loss mass at high rates, knowledge of their past response to climatic changes is ever important. By harvesting the archives for images, both terrestrial and airborne, we are able to expand the record of glacier observation...... by several decades, thus supplying crucial knowledge on glacier behavior to important climatic transitions such as the end of the Little Ice Age and the early 20th Century warming. Here we show how a large collection of historical aerial images portray the glacial response to the Little Ice Age deglaciation...... in Greenland and document frontal change throughout the 20th Century. A detailed story of the LIA-deglaciation is told by supplementing with terrestrial photos that capture the onset of retreat and high resolution aerial images that portray geomorphological evidence of the Little Ice Age maximum extent...

  17. Shift from Snowfall to Rainfall in the Canadian Rockies: Consequences for Snowpacks, Glacier Mass Balance and Streamflow in an Emerging Drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pomeroy, J. W.; Fang, X.; Pradhananga, D.; Schirmer, M.; Conway, J. P.; Helgason, W.; Whitfield, P. H.

    2015-12-01

    The winter and spring of 2014-15 brought abnormal warmth to much of Western Canada and a transition from snowfall to rainfall for many winter and spring precipitation events in the Canadian Rocky Mountains where snowfall normally dominates precipitation volumes in these seasons. Spring and summer remained abnormally warm and exceptionally dry. The impact of a warm winter and dry spring and summer resulted in substantial reduction in snowfall and a shift to earlier rainfall in the Canadian Rockies. As a result peak snow accumulation was from 1/3 to 1/2 of long term averages at upper middle elevations and low elevation valley snowpacks ablated shortly after forming in early December. Snowmelt occurred 2 to 6 weeks earlier than average, resulting in earlier than normal spring freshets and exposure of glacier firn and ice. June 1st snow accumulation was completely ablated or at record low values for most observation stations. The shift from winter and spring snowfall to rainfall and subsequent low summer rainfall resulted in the emergence of exceptionally wide-spread forest fires, rapid glacier melt, low streamflow and severe agricultural drought in Western Canada. By mid-July the seasonal snowpack had largely ablated, discharge rates in the Bow River at Calgary were 40% of average, many mountain streams had dried up and the Athabasca Glacier had experienced 3 m of ice melt. The Cold Regions Hydrological Model was used to simulate the impacts of the snowfall to rainfall transition on the snow redistribution, sublimation and melt processes, runoff and evapotranspiration that control the water balance of selected mountain environments in this period, employing Harder and Pomeroy's Psychrometric Energy Balance Method to estimate precipitation phase. The results help to diagnose how a "warm drought" impacts the hydrology and glaciology of cold regions environments and suggest the possible impacts of future warmer climates and increased rainfall fraction on this region.

  18. Far-flung moraines: Exploring the feedback of glacial erosion on the evolution of glacier length

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Robert S.; Dühnforth, Miriam; Colgan, William; Anderson, Leif

    2012-12-01

    Over many glacial cycles, the glacial erosion of alpine valleys can be sufficient to reduce the length of glaciers in the most recent cycles. We document field cases illustrative of this erosional feedback and model the long-term evolution of glacier lengths analytically and numerically. The general feature we target is a moraine deposited well beyond the last glacial maximum (LGM) limit, which we refer to as a "far-flung" moraine. Firstly, we assemble published observations to illustrate that far-flung moraines are documented around the world. The observations suggest that the downvalley distance to such far-flung moraines can exceed the distance to LGM moraines by up to twofold. Secondly, we address the problem analytically, making several simplifying assumptions, to demonstrate that glacier length scales linearly with erosion depth. Finally, we employ a numerical model to test the analytical solution. This 1D (depth-integrated) flowline model includes: (i) a depth-averaged longitudinal coupling stress approximation, (ii) prescribed winter and summer surface mass balance profiles, (iii) evolving ice temperature calculated via the conventional heat equation, and (iv) glacier sliding velocity parameterized as a function of basal ice temperature and spatially and temporally variable prescribed flotation fraction. The simulated alpine landscape is modified through the competing processes of glacier erosion, which is dependent on glacier sliding velocity and prescribed bedrock erodibility, and prescribed uplift rate. The climate controlling surface mass balance is prescribed by time series of air temperature and snowfall approximated by the sum of two sinusoidal cycles. The recurrence statistics of these prescribed climate drivers closely match those of the marine isotopic record; hence the prescribed climate drivers faithfully mimic observed long-term climate drivers. Consistent with earlier landscape evolution studies, we find that the primary effect of repeated

  19. Recent changes detected on two glaciers at the northern part of James Ross Island, Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nývlt, Daniel; Kopačková, Veronika; Láska, Kamil; Engel, Zbyněk.

    2010-05-01

    Antarctic Peninsula is one of the regions, which have been exposed to the most rapid warming of the Earth since 1950. Consequences of climate changes are clearly documented by recent disintegration of ice shelves on both sides of the Antarctic Peninsula as well as by the retreat of land-based glaciers. James Ross Island, located close to the northernmost tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, represents an excellent place to study changes in the glacier mass-balance and their sensitivity to a regional warming trend. Two different types of glaciers of the Ulu Peninsula, the Whisky Glacier and the Davies Dome have been studied. Multi-temporal remote sensing data (aerial photographs, Landsat MSS, TM and ETM+ and Aster satellite optical and thermal multispectral data) and field survey allowed detecting changes in extent (2-D) as well as calculating glacier mass-balance changes (3-D) for these two glaciers from 1977 to 2009. The Whisky Glacier is a well-delimited valley glacier located mostly below the local Equilibrium line altitude (ELA). The glacier with high-flow velocities is fed by an intensive snow accumulation caused by prevailing southwestern winds. The Whisky Glacier covers an area of 2.3 km2 and its altitude varies from 215 to 475 m a.s.l. The Davies Dome is a flat-bottom dome glacier. Significant parts of its surface are located above the ELA and limited flow velocities are characteristic for the most parts of its body. However, the Davies Dome has a single 500-700 m wide southwestern outlet flowing towards the Whisky Bay. The Davies Dome extends an area of 6.7 km2 and its altitude ranges from 0 to 514 m a.s.l. Both glaciers experienced massive extension of their ice tongues towards the Brandy Bay during the mid Holocene. Lateral moraines located in front of the both glaciers heading down to the left coast of the Brandy Bay document this event. According to the remote sensing data and field investigations both glaciers have retreated since 1977. Between 2006 and

  20. An estimate of global glacier volume

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Grinsted

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available I assess the feasibility of using multivariate scaling relationships to estimate glacier volume from glacier inventory data. Scaling laws are calibrated against volume observations optimized for the specific purpose of estimating total global glacier ice volume. I find that adjustments for continentality and elevation range improve skill of area–volume scaling. These scaling relationships are applied to each record in the Randolph Glacier Inventory, which is the first globally complete inventory of glaciers and ice caps. I estimate that the total volume of all glaciers in the world is 0.35 ± 0.07 m sea level equivalent, including ice sheet peripheral glaciers. This is substantially less than a recent state-of-the-art estimate. Area–volume scaling bias issues for large ice masses, and incomplete inventory data are offered as explanations for the difference.

  1. Drainage events from a glacier-dammed lake, Bear Glacier, Alaska: Remote sensing and field observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilcox, A. C.; Wade, A. A.; Evans, E. G.

    2014-09-01

    We investigated drainage events from a glacier-dammed lake on Bear Glacier, Alaska, and associated outburst floods and hazards. The glacier-dammed lake, which we call Ice Lake, is 17.5 km up-glacier from Bear Glacier's terminus at Bear Glacier Lake. We combine field observations and remote sensing to examine temporal changes in the size of Ice Lake, the frequency and timing of its drainage, and down-glacier propagation of its outburst floods. We found that in recent years, Ice Lake has likely drained every year or two, in late summer or fall (August-October), with outbursts generally following the damming of sufficient water to create a lake area of between 0.35 and 0.5 km2. Ice Lake has migrated downvalley to the south since the 1990s, likely as a result of thinning of the glacier that dams it. In situ measurements of a drainage event in October 2010 showed that Ice Lake drained over a period of days, which manifested at Bear Glacier Lake as a gradual, multiday increase and then decrease in water levels. Glacial lake outburst flooding at Bear Glacier creates risks for sea kayakers in Bear Glacier Lake and may be relevant to understanding the effects of climate warming on glacier-dammed and proglacial lakes.

  2. Using marine sediment archives to reconstruct past outlet glacier variability

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andresen, Camilla Snowman; Straneo, Fiamma; Ribergaard, Mads;

    2013-01-01

    Ice-rafted debris in fjord sediment cores provides information about outlet glacier activity beyond the instrumental time period. It tells us that the Helheim Glacier, Greenland’s third most productive glacier, responds rapidly to short-term (3 to 10 years) climate changes....

  3. Climate warming and stability of cold hanging glaciers: Lessons from the gigantic 1895 Altels break-off

    CERN Document Server

    Faillettaz, Jerome; Funk, Martin

    2011-01-01

    The Altels hanging glacier broke off on September 11, 1895. The ice volume of this catastrophic rupture was estimated at $\\rm 4.10^6$ cubic meters and is the largest ever observed ice fall event in the Alps. The causes of this collapse are however not entirely clear. Based on previous studies, we reanalyzed this break-off event, with the help of a new numerical model, initially developed by Faillettaz and others (2010) for gravity-driven instabilities. The simulations indicate that a break-off event is only possible when the basal friction at the bedrock is reduced in a restricted area, possibly induced by the storage of infiltrated water within the glacier. Moreover, our simulations reveal a two-step behavior: (i) A first quiescent phase, without visible changes, with a duration depending on the rate of basal changes; (ii) An active phase with a rapid increase of basal motion over a few days. The general lesson obtained from the comparison between the simulations and the available evidence is that visible si...

  4. Glacier fluctuations in the Kenai Fjords, Alaska, U.S.A.: An evaluation of controls on Iceberg-calving glaciers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wiles, G.C. [Columbia Univ., Palisades, NY (United States); Calkin, P.E. [Univ. of New York, Buffalo, NY (United States); Post, A. [Geological Survey, Vashon, WA (United States)

    1995-08-01

    The histories of four iceberg-calving outlet-glacier systems in the Kenai Fjords National Park underscore the importance of fiord depth, sediment supply, and fiord geometry on glacier stability. These parameters, in turn, limit the reliability of calving glacier chronologies as records of climatic change. Tree-ring analysis together with radiocarbon dating show that the Northwestern and McCarty glaciers, with large drainage basins, were advancing in concert with nearby land-terminating glaciers about A.D. 600. After an interval of retreat and possible nonclimatically induced extension during the Medieval Warm Period, these ice margins advanced again through the Little Ice Age and then retreated synchronously with the surrounding land-terminating glaciers about A.D. 1900. In contrast, Holgate and Aialik glaciers, with deeper fiords and smaller basins, retreated about 300 yr earlier. Reconstructions of Little Ice Age glaciers suggest that equilibrium-line altitudes of Northwestern and McCarty glaciers were, respectively, 270 and 500 m lower than now. Furthermore, the reconstructions show that these two glaciers were climatically sensitive when at their terminal moranies. However, with ice margins at their present recessional positions and accumulation area ratios between 0.8 and 0.9, only McCarty Glacier shows evidence of advance. Aialik and Holgate glaciers were climatically insensitive during the Little Ice Age maxima and remain insensitive to climate. 40 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs.

  5. Glacier shrinkage drives changes in river system hydrology and ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hannah, D. M.; Khamis, K.; Blaen, P. J.; Hainie, S.; Mellor, C.; Brown, L. E.; Milner, A. M.

    2013-12-01

    High climatic sensitivity and low anthropogenic influence make glacierized river basins important environments for examining hydrological and ecological response to global change. This paper synthesises findings from previous and ongoing research in glacierized Alpine and Arctic river basins (located in the French Pyrenees, New Zealand, Swedish Lapland and Svalbard), which adopts an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the climate-cryosphere-hydrology-ecology cascade. Data are used to advance hypotheses concerning the consequences of climate change/ variability on glacier river system hydrology and ecology. Aquatic ecosystems in high latitude and altitude environments are influenced strongly by cryospheric and hydrological processes due to links between atmospheric forcing, snowpack/ glacier mass-balance, river runoff, physico-chemistry and biota. In the current phase of global warming, many glaciers are retreating. Using downscaled regional climate projections as inputs to a distributed hydrological model for a study basin in the French Pyrenees (i.e. an environment at the contemporary limit of valley glaciation), we show how shrinking snow and ice-masses may alter space-time dynamics in basin runoff. Notably, the timing of peak snow- and ice-melt may shift; and the proportion of stream flow sourced from rainfall-runoff (cf. meltwater) may increase. Across our range of Alpine and Arctic study basins, we quantify observed links between relative water source contributions (% meltwater : % groundwater), physico-chemical habitat (e.g. water temperature, electrical conductivity, suspended sediment and channel stability) and benthic communities. At the site scale, results point towards increased community diversity (taxonomic and functional) as meltwater contributions decline and physico-chemical habitat becomes less harsh. However, basin-scale biodiversity may be reduced due to less spatio-temporal heterogeneity in water source contributions and habitats, and the

  6. Study of subaqueous melting of Store Glacier, West Greenland using ocean observations and numerical simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Y.; Rignot, E. J.; Menemenlis, D.; van den Broeke, M. R.

    2012-12-01

    Ice discharge from the Greenland Ice Sheet is mainly through tidewater glaciers that terminate in the ocean and melt in contact with ocean waters. Subaqueous melting at the calving front is a direct mechanism for mass loss and a potential trigger for glacier acceleration. We present an analysis of oceanographic data collected in the fjord of Store Glacier, West Greenland during August 2010 and 2012. Using these data, we calculate the subaqueous melt rates. Independently, we employ the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm), modified to include melting at the calving front and outflow of subglacial water to model the ice melt rates of Store Glacier. Previous 2-D sensitivity studies showed that the subaqueous melt rate reaches several meters per day during the summer, increases non-linearly with subglacial runoff and linearly with ocean thermal forcing, and ceases when subglacial discharge is off during winter. We present new 3-D simulations at very high resolution, with measured oceanic temperature/salinity as boundary conditions, and subglacial runoff from the University of Utrecht's Regional Atmospheric Climate Model outputs on different years and seasons. We compare the ocean observations and numerical simulations and discuss the seasonal and inter-annual variations of subaqueous melting. This study helps evaluate the impact of the ocean on the subaqueous melting of Greenland tidewater glaciers and in turn on glacier mass balance. This work was carried out at University of California, Irvine and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under contract with NASA Cryosphere Science Program.

  7. Response of debris-covered glaciers in the Mount Everest region to recent warming, and implications for outburst flood hazards

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benn, D. I.; Bolch, T.; Hands, K.; Gulley, J.; Luckman, A.; Nicholson, L. I.; Quincey, D.; Thompson, S.; Toumi, R.; Wiseman, S.

    2012-08-01

    In areas of high relief, many glaciers have extensive covers of supraglacial debris in their ablation zones, which alters both rates and spatial patterns of melting, with important consequences for glacier response to climate change. Wastage of debris-covered glaciers can be associated with the formation of large moraine-dammed lakes, posing risk of glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs). In this paper, we use observations of glaciers in the Mount Everest region to present an integrated view of debris-covered glacier response to climate change, which helps provide a long-term perspective on evolving GLOF risks. In recent decades, debris-covered glaciers in the Everest region have been losing mass at a mean rate of ~ 0.32 m yr- 1, although in most cases there has been little or no change in terminus position. Mass loss occurs by 4 main processes: (1) melting of clean ice close to glacier ELAs; (2) melting beneath surface debris; (3) melting of ice cliffs and calving around the margins of supraglacial ponds; and (4) calving into deep proglacial lakes. Modelling of processes (1) and (2) shows that Everest-region glaciers typically have an inverted ablation gradient in their lower reaches, due to the effects of a down-glacier increase in debris thickness. Mass loss is therefore focused in the mid parts of glacier ablation zones, causing localised surface lowering and a reduction in downglacier surface gradient, which in turn reduce driving stress and glacier velocity, so the lower ablation zones of many glaciers are now stagnant. Model results also indicate that increased summer temperatures have raised the altitude of the rain-snow transition during the summer monsoon period, reducing snow accumulation and ice flux to lower elevations. As downwasting proceeds, formerly efficient supraglacial and englacial drainage networks are broken up, and supraglacial lakes form in hollows on the glacier surface. Ablation rates around supraglacial lakes are typically one or two

  8. Glacier microseismicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, Michael E.; Larsen, Christopher F.; Truffer, Martin; O'Neel, Shad; LeBlanc, Laura

    2010-01-01

    We present a framework for interpreting small glacier seismic events based on data collected near the center of Bering Glacier, Alaska, in spring 2007. We find extremely high microseismicity rates (as many as tens of events per minute) occurring largely within a few kilometers of the receivers. A high-frequency class of seismicity is distinguished by dominant frequencies of 20–35 Hz and impulsive arrivals. A low-frequency class has dominant frequencies of 6–15 Hz, emergent onsets, and longer, more monotonic codas. A bimodal distribution of 160,000 seismic events over two months demonstrates that the classes represent two distinct populations. This is further supported by the presence of hybrid waveforms that contain elements of both event types. The high-low-hybrid paradigm is well established in volcano seismology and is demonstrated by a comparison to earthquakes from Augustine Volcano. We build on these parallels to suggest that fluid-induced resonance is likely responsible for the low-frequency glacier events and that the hybrid glacier events may be caused by the rush of water into newly opening pathways.

  9. Modeling debris-covered glaciers: response to steady debris deposition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Leif S.; Anderson, Robert S.

    2016-05-01

    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, ablation rates can be significantly 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 debris advection. We ran 120 simulations on a linear bed profile in which a hypothetical steady state debris-free glacier responds to a step increase of surface debris deposition. Simulated glaciers advance to steady states in which ice accumulation equals ice ablation, and debris input equals debris loss from the glacier terminus. Our model and parameter selections can produce 2-fold increases in glacier length. Debris flux onto the glacier and the relationship between debris thickness and melt rate strongly control glacier length. Debris deposited near the equilibrium-line altitude, where ice discharge is high, results in the greatest glacier extension when other debris-related variables are held constant. Debris deposited near the equilibrium-line altitude re-emerges high in the ablation zone and therefore impacts melt rate over a greater fraction of the glacier surface. Continuous debris cover reduces ice discharge gradients, ice thickness gradients, and velocity gradients relative to initial debris-free glaciers. Debris-forced glacier extension decreases the ratio of accumulation zone to total glacier area (AAR). Our simulations reproduce the "general trends" between debris cover, AARs, and glacier surface velocity patterns from modern debris-covered glaciers. We provide a quantitative, theoretical foundation to interpret the effect of debris cover on the moraine record, and to assess the effects of climate change on debris-covered glaciers.

  10. Glacier fluctuations during the past 2000 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomina, Olga N.; Bradley, Raymond S.; Jomelli, Vincent; Geirsdottir, Aslaug; Kaufman, Darrell S.; Koch, Johannes; McKay, Nicholas P.; Masiokas, Mariano; Miller, Gifford; Nesje, Atle; Nicolussi, Kurt; Owen, Lewis A.; Putnam, Aaron E.; Wanner, Heinz; Wiles, Gregory; Yang, Bao

    2016-10-01

    A global compilation of glacier advances and retreats for the past two millennia grouped by 17 regions (excluding Antarctica) highlights the nature of glacier fluctuations during the late Holocene. The dataset includes 275 time series of glacier fluctuations based on historical, tree ring, lake sediment, radiocarbon and terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide data. The most detailed and reliable series for individual glaciers and regional compilations are compared with summer temperature and, when available, winter precipitation reconstructions, the most important parameters for glacier mass balance. In many cases major glacier advances correlate with multi-decadal periods of decreased summer temperature. In a few cases, such as in Arctic Alaska and western Canada, some glacier advances occurred during relatively warm wet times. The timing and scale of glacier fluctuations over the past two millennia varies greatly from region to region. However, the number of glacier advances shows a clear pattern for the high, mid and low latitudes and, hence, points to common forcing factors acting at the global scale. Globally, during the first millennium CE glaciers were smaller than between the advances in 13th to early 20th centuries CE. The precise extent of glacier retreat in the first millennium is not well defined; however, the most conservative estimates indicate that during the 1st and 2nd centuries in some regions glaciers were smaller than at the end of 20th/early 21st centuries. Other periods of glacier retreat are identified regionally during the 5th and 8th centuries in the European Alps, in the 3rd-6th and 9th centuries in Norway, during the 10th-13th centuries in southern Alaska, and in the 18th century in Spitsbergen. However, no single period of common global glacier retreat of centennial duration, except for the past century, has yet been identified. In contrast, the view that the Little Ice Age was a period of global glacier expansion beginning in the 13th century

  11. A global assessment of the societal impacts of glacier outburst floods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carrivick, Jonathan L.; Tweed, Fiona S.

    2016-09-01

    Glacier outburst floods are sudden releases of large amounts of water from a glacier. They are a pervasive natural hazard worldwide. They have an association with climate primarily via glacier mass balance and their impacts on society partly depend on population pressure and land use. Given the ongoing changes in climate and land use and population distributions there is therefore an urgent need to discriminate the spatio-temporal patterning of glacier outburst floods and their impacts. This study presents data compiled from 20 countries and comprising 1348 glacier floods spanning 10 centuries. Societal impacts were assessed using a relative damage index based on recorded deaths, evacuations, and property and infrastructure destruction and disruption. These floods originated from 332 sites; 70% were from ice-dammed lakes and 36% had recorded societal impact. The number of floods recorded has apparently reduced since the mid-1990s in all major world regions. Two thirds of sites that have produced > 5 floods (n = 32) have floods occurring progressively earlier in the year. Glacier floods have directly caused at least: 7 deaths in Iceland, 393 deaths in the European Alps, 5745 deaths in South America and 6300 deaths in central Asia. Peru, Nepal and India have experienced fewer floods yet higher levels of damage. One in five sites in the European Alps has produced floods that have damaged farmland, destroyed homes and damaged bridges; 10% of sites in South America have produced glacier floods that have killed people and damaged infrastructure; 15% of sites in central Asia have produced floods that have inundated farmland, destroyed homes, damaged roads and damaged infrastructure. Overall, Bhutan and Nepal have the greatest national-level economic consequences of glacier flood impacts. We recommend that accurate, full and standardised monitoring, recording and reporting of glacier floods is essential if spatio-temporal patterns in glacier flood occurrence, magnitude and

  12. Atmospheric drying as the main driver of dramatic glacier wastage in the southern Indian Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Favier, V.; Verfaillie, D.; Berthier, E.; Menegoz, M.; Jomelli, V.; Kay, J. E.; Ducret, L.; Malbéteau, Y.; Brunstein, D.; Gallée, H.; Park, Y.-H.; Rinterknecht, V.

    2016-09-01

    The ongoing retreat of glaciers at southern sub-polar latitudes is particularly rapid and widespread. Akin to northern sub-polar latitudes, this retreat is generally assumed to be linked to warming. However, no long-term and well-constrained glacier modeling has ever been performed to confirm this hypothesis. Here, we model the Cook Ice Cap mass balance on the Kerguelen Islands (Southern Indian Ocean, 49°S) since the 1850s. We show that glacier wastage during the 2000s in the Kerguelen was among the most dramatic on Earth. We attribute 77% of the increasingly negative mass balance since the 1960s to atmospheric drying associated with a poleward shift of the mid-latitude storm track. Because precipitation modeling is very challenging for the current generation of climate models over the study area, models incorrectly simulate the climate drivers behind the recent glacier wastage in the Kerguelen. This suggests that future glacier wastage projections should be considered cautiously where changes in atmospheric circulation are expected.

  13. The impacts of climate change on hydrology in a typical glacier region-A case study in Hailuo Creek watershed of Mt. Gongga in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    GuoFeng Zhu; YuanQingHe; DaHe Qin; HongKai Gao; Tao Pu; DongDong Chen; Kai Wang

    2016-01-01

    The glaciers of the Hengduan Mountains play an important role in the hydrology processes of this region. In this study, the HBV Light model, which relies on a degree-day model to simulate glacier melting, was employed to simulate both glacier runoff and total runoff. The daily temperature and precipitation at the Hailuo Creek No. 1 Glacier from 1952 to 2009 were obtained from daily meteorological observed data at the glacier and from six national meteorological stations near the Hailuo Creek Basin. The daily air temperature, precipitation, runoff depth, and monthly potential evaporation in 1995, 1996, and 2002 were used to obtain a set of optimal parameters, and the annual total runoff and glacier runoff of the Hailuo Creek Glacier (1952–2009) were calculated using the HBV Light model. Results showed the average annual runoff in the Hailuo Creek Basin was 2,114 mm from 1952 to 2009, of which glacial melting accounted for about 1,078 mm. The river runoff in the Hailuo Creek catchment increased as a result of increased glacier runoff. Glacier runoff accounted for 51.1% of the Hailuo Creek stream flow in 1994 and increased to 72.6% in 2006. About 95% of the increased stream flow derived from the increased glacier runoff.

  14. Glaciers in the Rupal Valley (Nanga Parbat)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Susanne; Nüsser, Marcus

    2014-05-01

    The widely discussed controversy about Himalayan glacier changes instigated a current boom in studies on a regional scale. In contrast to often simplified assumptions of general and mostly rapid glacier retreat, recent studies show a more complex pattern with stable, advancing and retreating glaciers. Furthermore, changes of debris covered glaciers are discussed controversial. Due to the great vertical span and steep relief, large ice streams in the Himalaya and Karakoram are often primarily fed by avalanches. Their impact on glacier mass balances is often unconsidered in present studies. However, Hewitt (2014) highlighted the crucial role of snow and ice re-distribution by avalanches for Karakoram glaciers. He used a concept of glacier typology based on different nourishment processes introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. By using this concept, Hewitt classified large glaciers in order to identify the effect of avalanches on the mass balance, because many Karakoram glaciers show low down-wasting or even thickening processes described as the "Karakoram anomaly" (Hewitt 2005). Also in the Nanga Parbat region, the western corner of the High Himalaya, the topography is characterized by steep rock walls with vertical distances up to 4700 m. The debris covered glaciers reach down to 2920 m a.s.l. and are regularly fed by small and large avalanches. Our field based investigations show that the glaciers are characterized by small retreating rates since 1857, when Adolph Schlagintweit has mapped them for the first time; others such as the Raikot Glacier are fluctuating since 1934. Furthermore, the extent of down-wasting varies between different glaciers. By using multi-temporal satellite data, topographical maps, sketches and terrestrial photographs changes of glacier lengths were measured. In order to calculate the down-wasting rates, a digital elevation model (DEM) with a spatial resolution of 30x30 m² was derived from the digitized contour lines of the

  15. Photographic Snow-cover Monitoring on St Sorlin Glacier, France.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerbaux, M.; Genthon, C.; Dedieu, J.; Balestrieri, J.

    2004-12-01

    Like most other glaciers in the Alps, the St Sorlin glacier (french Alps, 45.16°N, 6.16°E, 2900 m asl mean elevation and 3km2 of surface area) has been retreating fast in the last 20 years. To understand the meteorological factors responsible for this retreat, and to tentatively predict glaciers evolution in a changing (warming) climate, we use a distributed snow/ice mass and energy balance model derived from the CROCUS snow model (Météo-France). There is no direct meteorological observation on or near St Sorlin glacier yet, and hourly meteorology to force the snow/ice model is obtained from disaggregated meteorological analyses. The model is found to reproduce the St Sorlin mass balance of the last 20 years as obtained from field glaciological measurements and stereophotographic reconstructions. The model is also found to reproduce the interannual variations of the equilibrium line as determined from optical satellite imagery. Because of the albedo feedback involved, it is also important to verify that the summer snow/ice transition on the glacier is correctly simulated. Thus, an automated photographic system was set up facing St Sorlin glacier to monitor the evolution of the snow cover. The system was installed on the 13th of July 2004 and is still in operation at time of abstract writing. Digital photographies are taken every 4 hours, permitting so far at least one non-obstructed (rain, fog) picture per day. The first pictures in the series show an almost fully snow-covered glacier while the latest ones show bare ice up to the highest parts of the glacier. Snow is occasionally deposited during precipitation events but hardly last more than 3 days. Snow line position is deduced from pictures using a DEM with georeferenced points visible on pictures. It should then be compared with the modelled one. The automated photographic system provides not only snow cover to check snow/ice model results at seasonal time-scales, but also qualitative meteorological

  16. The impact of glacier retreat from the Ross Sea on local climate: Characterization of mineral dust in the Taylor Dome ice core, East Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aarons, S. M.; Aciego, S. M.; Gabrielli, P.; Delmonte, B.; Koornneef, J. M.; Wegner, A.; Blakowski, M. A.

    2016-06-01

    Recent declines in ice shelf and sea ice extent experienced in polar regions highlight the importance of evaluating variations in local weather patterns in response to climate change. Airborne mineral particles (dust) transported through the atmosphere and deposited on ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland can provide a robust set of tools for resolving the evolution of climatic systems through time. Here we present the first high time resolution radiogenic isotope (strontium and neodymium) data for Holocene dust in a coastal East Antarctic ice core, accompanied by rare earth element composition, dust concentration, and particle size distribution during the last deglaciation. We aim to use these combined ice core data to determine dust provenance, with variations indicative of shifts in either dust production, sources, and/or transport pathways. We analyzed a series of 17 samples from the Taylor Dome (77°47‧47″S, 158°43‧26″E) ice core, 113-391 m in depth from 1.1-31.4 ka. Radiogenic isotopic and rare earth element compositions of dust during the last glacial period are in good agreement with previously measured East Antarctic ice core dust records. In contrast, the Holocene dust dataset displays a broad range in isotopic and rare earth element compositions, suggesting a shift from long-range transported dust to a more variable, local input that may be linked to the retreat of the Ross Ice Shelf during the last deglaciation. Observed changes in the dust cycle inferred from a coastal East Antarctic ice core can thus be used to infer an evolving local climate.

  17. An enhanced temperature index model for debris-covered glaciers accounting for thickness effect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carenzo, M.; Pellicciotti, F.; Mabillard, J.; Reid, T.; Brock, B. W.

    2016-08-01

    strem curve. Its large number of parameters might be a limitation, but we show that the model is transferable in time and space to a second glacier with little loss of performance. We thus suggest that the new DETI model can be included in continuous mass balance models of debris-covered glaciers, because of its limited data requirements. As such, we expect its application to lead to an improvement in simulations of the debris-covered glacier response to climate in comparison with models that simply recalibrate empirical parameters to prescribe a constant across glacier reduction in melt.

  18. After the Earthquake: Impacts of Seismic Snow and Ice Redistribution in Langtang Valley, Nepal, on Glacier Mass Balances and Hydrological Regimes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shea, J. M.; Ragettli, S.; Immerzeel, W.; Pellicciotti, F.; Miles, E. S.; Steiner, J. F.; Buri, P.; Kraaijenbrink, P. D. A.

    2015-12-01

    The magnitude 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015 resulted in a catastrophic loss of life and property, and had major impacts in high mountain areas. The earthquake resulted in a number of massive ice avalanches in Langtang Valley that destroyed entire villages and killed over 300 people. We first conduct a remote sensing analysis of the entire catchment, and attempt to quantify the volumes of snow and ice redistributed through high-resolution optical imagery, thermal imagery, and DEM differencing. Where data are available we examine the impact on the surface mass balances of four major glaciers (Lirung, Shalbachaum, Langtang and Langshisha). Finally, we use the physically-based and fully distributed TOPKAPI model to simulate the impacts of the co-seismic snow and ice redistribution on the hydrology of the Langtang River.

  19. Himalayan glaciers: understanding contrasting patterns of glacier behavior using multi-temporal satellite imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Racoviteanu, A.

    2014-12-01

    High rates of glacier retreat for the last decades are often reported, and believed to be induced by 20th century climate changes. However, regional glacier fluctuations are complex, and depend on a combination of climate and local topography. Furthermore, in ares such as the Hindu-Kush Himalaya, there are concerns about warming, decreasing monsoon precipitation and their impact on local glacier regimes. Currently, the challenge is in understanding the magnitude of feedbacks between large-scale climate forcing and small-scale glacier behavior. Spatio-temporal patterns of glacier distribution are still llimited in some areas of the high Hindu-Kush Himalaya, but multi-temporal satellite imagery has helped fill spatial and temporal gaps in regional glacier parameters in the last decade. Here I present a synopsis of the behavior of glaciers across the Himalaya, following a west to east gradient. In particular, I focus on spatial patterns of glacier parameters in the eastern Himalaya, which I investigate at multi-spatial scales using remote sensing data from declassified Corona, ASTER, Landsat ETM+, Quickbird and Worldview2 sensors. I also present the use of high-resolution imagery, including texture and thermal analysis for mapping glacier features at small scale, which are particularly useful in understanding surface trends of debris-covered glaciers, which are prevalent in the Himalaya. I compare and contrast spatial patterns of glacier area and élévation changes in the monsoon-influenced eastern Himalaya (the Everest region in the Nepal Himalaya and Sikkim in the Indian Himalaya) with other observations from the dry western Indian Himalaya (Ladakh and Lahul-Spiti), both field measurements and remote sensing-based. In the eastern Himalaya, results point to glacier area change of -0.24 % ± 0.08% per year from the 1960's to the 2006's, with a higher rate of retreat in the last decade (-0.43% /yr). Debris-covered glacier tongues show thinning trends of -30.8 m± 39 m

  20. Glacier Changes in the Bhutanese Himalaya - Present and Future

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rupper, S.; Schaefer, J. M.; Burgener, L. K.; Maurer, J.; Smith, R.; Cook, E.; Putnam, A. E.; Krusic, P.; Tsering, K.; Koenig, L.

    2012-12-01

    Glacierized change in the Himalayas affects river-discharge, hydro-energy and agricultural production, and Glacial Lake Outburst Flood potential, but its quantification and extent of impacts remains highly uncertain. Here we present conservative, comprehensive and quantitative predictions for glacier area and meltwater flux changes in Bhutan, monsoonal Himalayas. In particular, we quantify the uncertainties associated with the glacier area and meltwater flux changes due to uncertainty in climate data, a critical problem for much of High Asia. Based on a suite of gridded climate data and a robust glacier melt model, our results show that glacier area and meltwater change projections can vary by an order of magnitude for different climate datasets. The most conservative results indicate that, even if climate were to remain at the present-day mean values (1980-2000), almost 10% of Bhutan's glacierized area would vanish and the meltwater flux would drop by as much as 30%. New mapping of glacierized area from 2000-2010 shows a significant change in glacierized area of 4-6%. Thus the conservative steady-state area changes predicted by the model are already being realized. Under the conservative scenario of an additional 1°C regional warming, glacier retreat is predicted to continue until about 25% of Bhutan's glacierized area will have disappeared and the annual meltwater flux, after an initial spike, would drop by as much as 65%.

  1. Glacier and climate changes in the Western Indian Himalayas (Ladakh and Lahul-Spiti): remote sensing, field techniques and adaptation techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Racoviteanu, Adina; Williams, Mark

    2010-05-01

    Anecdotal evidence from glacier termini observations in the Himalayas suggest that these glaciers have been in a state of general retreat since the last century, and point to "alarming" rates of retreat in the past decades. Concomitantly, local communities in the Western Himalayas have reported changes in glacier extents, snow cover and weather patterns. In response to "alarming" rates of glacial retreat, some indigenous cultures in the Himalayan area have begun a number of adaptive responses such as meltwater harvesting to construct "artificial" glaciers, which store the water during the dry season. There is urgency in: a) scientifically evaluating whether such practices of glacier regeneration can help provide water in a timely manner and 2) developing glacier datasets to assist such local efforts to ensure water supply in these data-scarce mountainous areas. Here we compare and contrast scientific and indigenous perspectives on spatial patterns of glacier changes in the dry areas of Ladakh (34.10°N and 77.34°E ) and Lahul-Spiti district (31.11°N and 77.15°E ) in the Western Indian Himalaya. A new glacier inventory of Lahul-Spiti was constructed using a combination of data from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) sensor with Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), GPS field data and ground photography. Glacier changes were quantified by comparison with older ASTER inventory and topographic maps. We present changes reported by local communities and recorded in video, oral testimonies and ground photography. We focus on two indigenous practices of water harvesting for glacier regeneration: a) artificial glaciers and b) kul irrigation systems. Field data of artificial glaciers was acquired at Sabu, Stakmo and Phuktsey glaciers using a differential GPS system. Kul irrigation systems were documented in Spiti valley (Lara and Kibber villages). We will present the results of mapping these water harvesting systems with the goal

  2. Modeling debris-covered glaciers: extension due to steady debris input

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. S. Anderson

    2015-11-01

    Debris-forced glacier extension decreases the ratio of accumulation zone to total glacier area (AAR. The model reproduces first-order relationships between debris cover, AARs, and glacier surface velocities from glaciers in High Asia. We provide a quantitative, theoretical foundation to interpret the effect of debris cover on the moraine record, and to assess the effects of climate change on debris-covered glaciers.

  3. Area change of glaciers in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, 1919 to 2006

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Tennant

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available We used Interprovincial Boundary Commission Survey (IBCS maps of the Alberta–British Columbia (BC border (1903–1924, BC Terrain Resource Information Management (TRIM data (1982–1987, and Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM and Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+ imagery (2000–2002 and 2006 to document planimetric changes in glacier cover in the Central and Southern Canadian Rocky Mountains between 1919 and 2006. Total glacierized area decreased by 590 ± 100 km2 (40 ± 7%, with 17 of 523 glaciers disappearing and 124 glaciers fragmenting into multiple ice masses. Fourteen of the glaciers that disappeared were less than 0.5 km2, and glaciers smaller than 1.0 km2 experienced the greatest relative area loss (64 ± 17%. Variation in area loss increased with small glaciers, suggesting local topographic setting controls the response of these glaciers to climate change. Absolute area loss negatively correlates with slope and minimum elevation, and relative area change negatively correlates with mean and median elevations. Similar average rates of area change were observed for the periods 1919–1985 and 1985–2001, at −6.3 ± 0.9 km2 yr−1 (−0.4 ± 0.1% yr−1 and −5.0 ± 0.5 km2 yr−1 (−0.3 ± 0.1% yr−1, respectively. The rate of area loss significantly increased for the period 2001–2006, −19.3 ± 2.4 km2 yr−1 (−1.3 ± 0.2% yr−1, with continued high minimum and accumulation season temperature anomalies and variable precipitation anomalies.

  4. The role of glaciers for Swiss hydropower production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefli, Bettina; Manso, Pedro; Fischer, Mauro; Huss, Matthias

    2016-04-01

    In Switzerland, hydropower represents over 50% of the total annual electricity production. Given the Alpine setting of the country, this hydropower production (HPP) strongly relies on the natural storage of discharge in form of ice and snow over months to decades. The sensitivity of glacier-fed HPP systems with respect to climate change depends on how the today's production and the infrastructure design relies on the seasonal streamflow delay expected from the natural storage effect of snow and ice. For low-head run-of-river HPP plants built on large lowland rivers, the ongoing glacier retreat (resulting in strong summer melt) currently sustains higher flows during summer months, an effect that will certainly be reduced once the glaciers will have reached a critical size. This effect will also modify the inflow to the large storage HPP plants that have been designed to shift large amounts of meltwater inflows from summer to winter. The management of these reservoirs will certainly have to be adapted to future inflow patterns. An interesting case are high-head run-of-river plants (with heads from 100 to 1100 m) that short-circuit a given river reach. Future regime shifts with less sustained summer flow and more concentrated spring melt flows might critically reduce the annual production due to intake overflow during spring and reduced flow during summer. In this work, we discuss the role of glaciers for these different HPP types in detail, including an overview of how glacier retreat might influence their production. This comprehensive study synthesizes up-to-date estimations of glacier mass change since the 1980s and its influence on high Alpine discharge regimes and state-of-the art simulations of potential future glacier discharge regimes. We also attempt an extrapolation to the country level based on a hydropower GIS database that has been developed for economic purposes. Ongoing Swiss research on sediment production and management might complete this picture

  5. A new glacier inventory for the Karakoram-Pamir region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rastner, P.; Paul, F.; Bolch, T.; Moelg, N.

    2015-12-01

    High-quality glacier inventories are required as a reference dataset to determine glacier changes and model their reaction to climate change, among others. In particular in High Mountain Asia such an inventory was missing for several heavily glacierized regions with reportedly strongly changing glaciers. As a contribution to GLIMS and the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) we have mapped all glaciers in the Karakoram and Pamir region within the framework of ESAs Glaciers_cci project. Glacier mapping was performed using the band ratio method (TM3/TM5) and manual editing of Landsat TM/ETM+ imagery acquired around the year 2000. The mapping was challenged by frequent seasonal snow at high elevations, debris-covered glacier tongues, and several surging glaciers. We addressed the snow issue by utilizing multi-temporal imagery and improved manual mapping of debris-covered glacier tongues with ALOS PALSAR coherence images. Slow disintegration of glacier tongues after a surge (leaving still-connected dead ice) results in a difficult identification of the terminus and assignment of entities. Drainage divides were derived from the ASTER GDEM II and manually corrected to calculate topographic parameters. All glaciers larger 0.02 km2 cover an area of about 21,700 km2 in the Karakoram and about 11,800 km² in the Pamir region. Most glaciers are in the 0.1-0.5 km2 size class for Pamir, whereas for the Karakoram they are in the class Glaciers between 1 and 5 km2 contribute more than 30% to the total area in Pamir, whereas for the Karakoram region it is only 17%. The mean glacier elevation in the Karakoram (Pamir) region is 5426 (4874) m. A comparison with other recently published inventories reveals differences in the interpretation of glacier extents (mainly in the accumulation region) that would lead to large area changes if unconsidered for change assessment across different inventories.

  6. Radiocarbon dating of glacier ice: overview, optimisation, validation and potential

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uglietti, Chiara; Zapf, Alexander; Jenk, Theo Manuel; Sigl, Michael; Szidat, Sönke; Salazar, Gary; Schwikowski, Margit

    2016-12-01

    High-altitude glaciers and ice caps from midlatitudes and tropical regions contain valuable signals of past climatic and environmental conditions as well as human activities, but for a meaningful interpretation this information needs to be placed in a precise chronological context. For dating the upper part of ice cores from such sites, several relatively precise methods exist, but they fail in the older and deeper parts, where plastic deformation of the ice results in strong annual layer thinning and a non-linear age-depth relationship. If sufficient organic matter such as plant, wood or insect fragments were found, radiocarbon (14C) analysis would have thus been the only option for a direct and absolute dating of deeper ice core sections. However such fragments are rarely found and, even then, they would not be very likely to occur at the desired depth and resolution. About 10 years ago, a new, complementary dating tool was therefore introduced by our group. It is based on extracting the µg-amounts of the water-insoluble organic carbon (WIOC) fraction of carbonaceous aerosols embedded in the ice matrix for subsequent 14C dating. Since then this new approach has been improved considerably by reducing the measurement time and improving the overall precision. Samples with ˜ 10 µg WIOC mass can now be dated with reasonable uncertainty of around 10-20 % (variable depending on sample age). This requires about 300 to 800 g of ice for WIOC concentrations typically found in midlatitude and low-latitude glacier ice. Dating polar ice with satisfactory age precision is still not possible since WIOC concentrations are around 1 order of magnitude lower. The accuracy of the WIOC 14C method was validated by applying it to independently dated ice. With this method, the deepest parts of the ice cores from Colle Gnifetti and the Mt Ortles glacier in the European Alps, Illimani glacier in the Bolivian Andes, Tsambagarav ice cap in the Mongolian Altai, and Belukha glacier in the

  7. Characterizing interannual variability of glacier dynamics and dynamic discharge (1999-2015) for the ice masses of Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands, Nunavut, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Wychen, Wesley; Davis, Jamie; Burgess, David O.; Copland, Luke; Gray, Laurence; Sharp, Martin; Mortimer, Colleen

    2016-01-01

    Landsat 7 and RADARSAT-1/RADARSAT-2 satellite images are used to produce the most comprehensive record of glacier motion in the Canadian High Arctic to date and to characterize spatial and temporal variability in ice flow over the past ~15 years. This allows us to assess whether dynamically driven glacier change can be attributed to "surging" or "pulsing," or whether other mechanisms are involved. RADAR velocity mapping allows annual regional dynamic discharge (iceberg calving) to be calculated for 2000 and the period 2011-2015 (yielding a mean regional discharge of 2.21 ± 0.68 Gt a-1), and velocities derived from feature tracking of optical imagery allow for annual dynamic discharge to be calculated for select glaciers from 1999 to 2010. Since ~2011, several of the major tidewater-terminating glaciers within the region have decelerated and their dynamic discharge has decreased. Trinity and Wykeham Glaciers (Prince of Wales Icefield) represent a notable departure from this pattern as they have generally accelerated over the study period. The resulting increase in dynamic discharge from these glaciers entirely compensates (within error limits) for the decrease in discharge from the other tidewater glaciers across the study region. These two glaciers accounted for ~62% of total regional dynamic discharge in winter 2015 (compared to ~22% in 2000), demonstrating that total ice discharge from the Canadian High Arctic can be sensitive to variations in flow of just a few tidewater glaciers.

  8. Modelling the advance–retreat cycle of a tidewater glacier with simple sediment dynamics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.; Nick, Faezeh Maghami

    2006-01-01

    We present a simple coupled glacier-sediment model to simulate the evolution of a tidewater glacier. The model is based on a consideration of the total mass budget of a glacier, whereas ice mechanics are fully parameterized. The calving rate at the glacier terminus is assumed to be proportional to t

  9. The archives of the glacier survey of the Austrian Alpine Club

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Andrea; Bendler, Gebhard

    2016-04-01

    The archive of the Austrian Alpine Club holds masses of material on glaciers and their former extent. The material includes descriptions and sketches of the summits conquered by early mountaineers, mapping campaigns and data from early scientific expeditions as well as data on glacier length change. To date a large proportion of the glaciological information in the material has not been catalogued or analysed. As cold ice, containing relevant climate information, might still exist at the highest peaks of Austria, a pilot project was started to collect some of the data of two test sites in Tyrol, in Silvretta and Ötztal Alps, to reveal former summit shapes and glacier tongue positions. Additional information on the number and position of crevasses as well as firn extent is often evident from the material. Challenging tasks not yet tackled are compiling a catalogue of the material and defining an analysis scheme.

  10. Tracking glaciers with the Alaska seismic network

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    More than 40 years ago it was known that calving glaciers in Alaska created unmistakable seismic signals that could be recorded tens and hundreds of kilometers away. Their long monochromatic signals invited studies that foreshadowed the more recent surge in glacier seismology. Beyond a handful of targeted studies, these signals have remained a seismic novelty. No systematic attempt has been made to catalog and track glacier seismicity across the years. Recent advances in understanding glacier sources, combined with the climate significance of tidewater glaciers, have renewed calls for comprehensive tracking of glacier seismicity in coastal Alaska. The Alaska Earthquake Center has included glacier events in its production earthquake catalog for decades. Until recently, these were best thought of as bycatch—accidental finds in the process of tracking earthquakes. Processing improvements a decade ago, combined with network improvements in the past five years, have turned this into a rich data stream capturing hundreds of events per year across 600 km of the coastal mountain range. Though the source of these signals is generally found to be iceberg calving, there are vast differences in behavior between different glacier termini. Some glaciers have strong peaks in activity during the spring, while others peak in the late summer or fall. These patterns are consistent over years pointing to fundamental differences in calving behavior. In several cases, changes in seismic activity correspond to specific process changes observed through other means at particular glacier. These observations demonstrate that the current network is providing a faithful record of the dynamic behavior of several glaciers in coastal Alaska. With this as a starting point, we examine what is possible (and not possible) going forward with dedicated detection schemes.

  11. ICESat laser altimetry over small mountain glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treichler, Désirée; Kääb, Andreas

    2016-09-01

    Using sparsely glaciated southern Norway as a case study, we assess the potential and limitations of ICESat laser altimetry for analysing regional glacier elevation change in rough mountain terrain. Differences between ICESat GLAS elevations and reference elevation data are plotted over time to derive a glacier surface elevation trend for the ICESat acquisition period 2003-2008. We find spatially varying biases between ICESat and three tested digital elevation models (DEMs): the Norwegian national DEM, SRTM DEM, and a high-resolution lidar DEM. For regional glacier elevation change, the spatial inconsistency of reference DEMs - a result of spatio-temporal merging - has the potential to significantly affect or dilute trends. Elevation uncertainties of all three tested DEMs exceed ICESat elevation uncertainty by an order of magnitude, and are thus limiting the accuracy of the method, rather than ICESat uncertainty. ICESat matches glacier size distribution of the study area well and measures small ice patches not commonly monitored in situ. The sample is large enough for spatial and thematic subsetting. Vertical offsets to ICESat elevations vary for different glaciers in southern Norway due to spatially inconsistent reference DEM age. We introduce a per-glacier correction that removes these spatially varying offsets, and considerably increases trend significance. Only after application of this correction do individual campaigns fit observed in situ glacier mass balance. Our correction also has the potential to improve glacier trend significance for other causes of spatially varying vertical offsets, for instance due to radar penetration into ice and snow for the SRTM DEM or as a consequence of mosaicking and merging that is common for national or global DEMs. After correction of reference elevation bias, we find that ICESat provides a robust and realistic estimate of a moderately negative glacier mass balance of around -0.36 ± 0.07 m ice per year. This regional

  12. Hubbard Glacier, Alaska: growing and advancing in spite of global climate change and the 1986 and 2002 Russell Lake outburst floods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trabant, Dennis C.; March, Rod S.; Thomas, Donald S.

    2003-01-01

    Hubbard Glacier, the largest calving glacier on the North American Continent (25 percent larger than Rhode Island), advanced across the entrance to 35-mile-long Russell Fiord during June 2002, temporarily turning it into a lake. Hubbard Glacier has been advancing for more than 100 years and has twice closed the entrance to Russell Fiord during the last 16 years by squeezing and pushing submarine glacial sediments across the mouth of the fiord. Water flowing into the cutoff fiord from mountain streams and glacier melt causes the level of Russell Lake to rise. However, both the 1986 and 2002 dams failed before the lake altitude rose enough for water to spill over a low pass at the far end of the fiord and enter the Situk River drainage, a world-class sport and commercial fishery near Yakutat, Alaska.

  13. Study on climate change in Southwestern China

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Li, Zongxing

    2015-03-01

    Nominated by Chinese Academy of Sciences as an outstanding Ph.D. thesis. Offers a needed exploration of the temporal and spatial pattern of climate change in southwestern China. Explores the action mechanism among the large-scale atmospheric circulation system, the complicated topography, human activities and regional climate changes. Analyzes the response of glaciers to climate change from the aspects of morphology of the glacier, glacial mass balance and the process of hydrology. This thesis confirms many changes, including sharp temperature rise, interannual variability of precipitation, extreme climate events and significant decreases of sunshine duration and wind speed in southwestern China, and systemically explores the action mechanism between large-scale atmospheric circulation systems, the complicated topography, human activities and regional climate changes. This study also analyzes the response of glaciers to climate change so that on the one hand it clearly reflects the relationship between glacier morphologic changes and climate change; on the other, it reveals the mechanism of action of climate warming as a balance between energy and matter. The achievements of this study reflect a significant contribution to the body of research on the response of climate in cold regions, glaciers and human activities to a global change against the background of the typical monsoon climate, and have provided scientific basis for predictions, countermeasures against disasters from extreme weather, utilization of water and the establishment of counterplans to slow and adapt to climate change. Zongxing Li works at the Cold and Arid Region Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.

  14. Malaspina Glacier, Alaska as seen from STS-66 Atlantis

    Science.gov (United States)

    1994-01-01

    Malaspina Glacier can be seen in this north-northeastern photograph taken in November, 1994. The glacier, located in the south shore of Alaska is a classic example of a piedmont glacier lying along the foot of a mountain range. The principal source of ice for the glacier is provided by the Seward Ice Field to the north (top portion of the view) which flows through three narrow outlets onto the coastal plain. The glacier moves in surges that rush earlier-formed moraines outward into the expanding concentric patterns along the flanks of the ice mass.

  15. 'Unlocking the archive': Using digital photogrammetry of modern and historic aerial photography to reconstruct 60 years of volumetric change on the Moider Glacier, Antarctic Peninsula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, Lucy; Miller, Pauline; Ireland, Louise; Fox, Adrian; Mills, Jon; Fieber, Karolina

    2016-04-01

    The Antarctic Peninsula is a mountain glacier system comprised of over 400 glaciers, and is an important contributor to historical and future sea level rise. Assessment and monitoring of AP glaciers is crucial for understanding sensitivity to climate change. Changes to glacier fronts and ice shelves and glacier acceleration are well documented, but there are almost no data on mass changes on the Antarctic Peninsula. Satellite data have been used to calculate change over the last 3 decades, but methods to quantify this over longer timescales have eluded researchers. However there is an archive of aerial photography dating back to the 1940s, this has been largely ignored due to the range of technical problems associated with deriving quantitative data from historic imagery and the lack of ground control data. This presentation demonstrates how advances in photogrammetric processing and capture of modern aerial photography has allowed this archive to be 'unlocked'. Accurate photogrammetric reconstruction from aerial photographs traditionally requires known ground control points acquired in the field; in remote and inaccessible areas, such as the Antarctic Peninsula, this is often impossible. A method for providing control for historic photos without fieldwork, by linking them to a newly acquired, highly accurate photogrammetric model adjusted through direct kinematic GPS positioning of the camera has been applied to a number of glaciers across the Antarctic Peninsula. This presentation will outline the photogrammetric workflow with focus on the Moider Glacier in the Marguerite Bay region of the western Antarctic Peninsula to investigate the quality of data that can be obtained. Volumetric changes on the glaciers from the 1950s to present day (2015) have been reconstructed and can be used to explore the spatial and temporal changes that have occurred on this glacier. In particular, there is near-annual data over the last 5 years recording a period when there has been

  16. DETERMINATION OF GLACIER SURFACE AREA USING SPACEBORNE SAR IMAGERY

    OpenAIRE

    Fang, L.; Maksymiuk, O.; Schmitt, M.; Stilla, U.

    2013-01-01

    Glaciers are very important climate indicators. Although visible remote sensing techniques can be used to extract glacier variations effectively and accurately, the necessary data are depending on good weather conditions. In this paper, a method for determination of glacier surface area using multi-temporal and multi-angle high resolution TerraSAR-X data sets is presented. We reduce the "data holes" in the SAR scenes affected by radar shadowing and specular backscattering of smooth i...

  17. Accurate Determination of Glacier Surface Velocity Fields with a DEM-Assisted Pixel-Tracking Technique from SAR Imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shiyong Yan

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available We obtained accurate, detailed motion distribution of glaciers in Central Asia by applying digital elevation model (DEM assisted pixel-tracking method to L-band synthetic aperture radar imagery. The paper firstly introduces and analyzes each component of the offset field briefly, and then describes the method used to efficiently and precisely compensate the topography-related offset caused by the large spatial baseline and rugged terrain with the help of DEM. The results indicate that the rugged topography not only forms the complex shapes of glaciers, but also affects the glacier velocity estimation, especially with large spatial baseline. The maximum velocity, 0.85 m∙d−1, was observed in the middle part on the Fedchenko Glacier, which is the world’s longest mountain glacier. The motion fluctuation on its main trunk is apparently influenced by mass flowing in from tributaries, as well as angles between tributaries and the main stream. The approach presented in this paper was proved to be highly appropriate for monitoring glacier motion and will provide valuable sensitive indicators of current and future climate change for environmental analysis.

  18. Evaluating tourist perception of environmental changes as a contribution to managing natural resources in glacierized areas: a case study of the Forni glacier (Stelvio National Park, Italian Alps).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garavaglia, Valentina; Diolaiuti, Guglielmina; Smiraglia, Claudio; Pasquale, Vera; Pelfini, Manuela

    2012-12-01

    Climate change effects are noticeably evident above the timberline where glacier and permafrost processes and mass movements drive the surface evolution. In particular, the cryosphere shrinkage is deeply changing the features and characteristics of several glacierized mountain areas of the world, and these modifications can also affect the landscape perception of tourists and mountaineers. On the one hand glacier retreat is increasing the interest of tourists and visitors in areas witnessing clear climate change impacts; on the other hand cryosphere shrinkage can impact the touristic appeal of mountain territories which, diminishing their ice and snow coverage, are also losing part of their aesthetic value. Then, to promote glacierized areas in a changing climate and to prepare exhaustive and actual proposals for sustainable tourism, it is important to deepen our knowledge about landscape perception of tourists and mountaineers and their awareness of the ongoing environmental modifications. Here we present the results from a pilot study we performed in summer 2009 on a representative glacierized area of the Alps, the Forni Valley (Stelvio National Park, Lombardy, Italy), a valley shaped by Forni, the largest Italian valley glacier. During the 2009 summer season we asked tourists visiting the Forni Valley to complete a questionnaire. This study was aimed at both describing the features and characteristics of tourists and mountaineers visiting this Alpine zone in summer and evaluating their landscape perception and their ability to recognize climate change impacts and evidence. Our results suggest that the dissemination strategies in a natural protected area have to take into account not only the main landscape features but also the sites where the information will be given. In particular considering the peculiarities of the huts located in the area, such as their different accessibility and the fact that they are included or not in a mountaineering network like that

  19. Evaluating Tourist Perception of Environmental Changes as a Contribution to Managing Natural Resources in Glacierized Areas: A Case Study of the Forni Glacier (Stelvio National Park, Italian Alps)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garavaglia, Valentina; Diolaiuti, Guglielmina; Smiraglia, Claudio; Pasquale, Vera; Pelfini, Manuela

    2012-12-01

    Climate change effects are noticeably evident above the timberline where glacier and permafrost processes and mass movements drive the surface evolution. In particular, the cryosphere shrinkage is deeply changing the features and characteristics of several glacierized mountain areas of the world, and these modifications can also affect the landscape perception of tourists and mountaineers. On the one hand glacier retreat is increasing the interest of tourists and visitors in areas witnessing clear climate change impacts; on the other hand cryosphere shrinkage can impact the touristic appeal of mountain territories which, diminishing their ice and snow coverage, are also losing part of their aesthetic value. Then, to promote glacierized areas in a changing climate and to prepare exhaustive and actual proposals for sustainable tourism, it is important to deepen our knowledge about landscape perception of tourists and mountaineers and their awareness of the ongoing environmental modifications. Here we present the results from a pilot study we performed in summer 2009 on a representative glacierized area of the Alps, the Forni Valley (Stelvio National Park, Lombardy, Italy), a valley shaped by Forni, the largest Italian valley glacier. During the 2009 summer season we asked tourists visiting the Forni Valley to complete a questionnaire. This study was aimed at both describing the features and characteristics of tourists and mountaineers visiting this Alpine zone in summer and evaluating their landscape perception and their ability to recognize climate change impacts and evidence. Our results suggest that the dissemination strategies in a natural protected area have to take into account not only the main landscape features but also the sites where the information will be given. In particular considering the peculiarities of the huts located in the area, such as their different accessibility and the fact that they are included or not in a mountaineering network like that

  20. Levoglucosan on Tibetan glaciers under different atmospheric circulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    You, Chao; Yao, Tandong; Xu, Chao; Song, Lili

    2017-03-01

    Tibetan glaciers are natural documents of the specific biomass burning biomarker levoglucosan from regions around. However, knowledge about the characteristics of levoglucosan distributions on Tibetan glaciers under the different climate systems is poorly understood. In this study, we detected levoglucosan in snow samples from the Zuoqiupu (ZQP) Glacier affected by the Indian summer monsoon and the Muji (MJ) Glacier dominated by the westerlies. Results found that the ZQP Glacier was more heavily affected by fire emissions than the MJ Glacier, caused by stronger emission sources on the windward direction and shorter transport distances. Elevations for the appearance of levoglucosan maxima on glacier surfaces are roughly around the equilibrium line altitudes. However, levoglucosan displays a wider distribution range on the MJ glacier than on the ZQP glacier due to weaker summer melt. Injection height of fire smokes and glacial melt can affect the altitudinal distribution of levoglucosan. Black carbon and levoglucosan show different temporal variations in snow-pit samples on those two glaciers. The post-depositional effects, e.g. the melting and refreezing processes, can modulate the vertical distribution of levoglucosan in snow/ice layers. Our results are helpful for understanding the geochemical behaviors of levoglucosan happened on Tibetan glacier surfaces.

  1. The retreat of mountain glaciers: what can satellites tell us?; Recul des glaciers de montagne: que nous apprennent les satellites?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Berthier, E. [Toulouse Univ., UPS (OMP-PCA) - Legos, 31 (France); CNRS, OMP-LEGOS, 31 - Toulouse (France)

    2008-11-15

    Mountain glaciers are one of the best indicators of climate change and their rapid wastage make them a strong contributor to sea level rise. The estimated 160,000 mountain glaciers are spread all around the globe and remain difficult to access. Consequently, only a limited number (about 50 glaciers) are regularly monitored in the field. Today, high resolution satellite optical images are combined to some advanced methodologies to survey their fast and alarming evolution. (author)

  2. World Glacier Inventory

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The World Glacier Inventory (WGI) contains information for over 130,000 glaciers. Inventory parameters include geographic location, area, length, orientation,...

  3. Glacier Photograph Collection

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Glacier Photograph Collection is a database of photographs of glaciers from around the world, some dating back to the mid-1850's, that provide an historical...

  4. Glaciers between two drivers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Machguth, Horst

    2014-01-01

    It is assumed that the monsoon is the dominant influence on Himalayan glaciers. However, a study now investigates the importance of the mid-latitude Westerlies and shows that glacier changes can be triggered from afar.......It is assumed that the monsoon is the dominant influence on Himalayan glaciers. However, a study now investigates the importance of the mid-latitude Westerlies and shows that glacier changes can be triggered from afar....

  5. Monte Carlo modelling projects the loss of most land-terminating glaciers on Svalbard in the 21st century under RCP 8.5 forcing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Möller, Marco; Navarro, Francisco; Martín-Español, Alba

    2016-09-01

    The high Arctic archipelagos around the globe are among the most strongly glacierized landscapes on Earth apart from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Over the past decades, the mass losses from land ice in the high Arctic regions have contributed substantially to global sea level rise. Among these regions, the archipelago of Svalbard showed the smallest mass losses. However, this could change in the coming decades, as Svalbard is expected to be exposed to strong climate warming over the 21st century. Here we present extensive Monte Carlo simulations of the future ice-mass evolution of 29 individual land-terminating glaciers on the Svalbard archipelago under an RCP 8.5 climate forcing. An extrapolation of the 29 sample glaciers to all land-terminating glaciers of the archipelago suggests an almost complete deglaciation of the region by 2100. Under RCP 8.5, 98% of the land-terminating glaciers will have declined to less than one tenth of their initial size, resulting in a loss of 7392 ± 2481 km2 of ice coverage.

  6. Ice flux divergence anomalies on 79north Glacier, Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Seroussi, H.; Morlighem, M.; Rignot, E.;

    2011-01-01

    The ice flux divergence of a glacier is an important quantity to examine because it determines the rate of temporal change of its thickness. Here, we combine high-resolution ice surface velocity observations of Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden (79north) Glacier, a major outlet glacier in north Greenland......, with a dense grid of ice thickness data collected with an airborne radar sounder in 1998, to examine its ice flux divergence. We detect large variations, up to 100 m/yr, in flux divergence on grounded ice that are incompatible with what we know of the glacier surface mass balance, basal mass balance...... onto a regular grid using a scheme (here block kriging) that does not conserve mass or ice flux. This problem is not unique to 79north Glacier but is common to all conventional ice thickness surveys of glaciers and ice sheets; and fundamentally limits the application of ice thickness grids to high...

  7. How much water will glaciers in the Chon Kemin valley (Tien Shan mountains, Kyrgyzstan) provide in the future?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sorg, Annina; Huss, Matthias; Stoffel, Markus

    2013-04-01

    2005), which might indicate that the Chon Kemin River already underwent a transformation from a glacial-nival to a nival-pluvial runoff regime. To quantify future runoff from Chon Kemin River, we use the glacio-hydrological model GERM. The model includes transient glacier changes and calculates glacier mass balance and runoff in daily time-steps. The refined multi-variable-calibration allows a realistic reproduction of each runoff component and an accurate simulation of discharge and mass balance over time. Calibration and validation include snowcover duration from MODIS/AVHRR (1985-2012), mass balance data from Tuyuksu glacier in the neighboring valley (1957-2009), changes in glacier extent and surface elevation from aerial photographs (1956 and 1988), glacier length changes (1977-1990) and measured daily runoff (1936-2005). After calibration, the model is run with daily precipitation and temperature data from a downscaled regional climate model (IPCC scenario A1B) until the end of the 21st century. In order to produce realistic results, we address uncertainties in terms of amount, seasonal distribution and form of future precipitation in detail, as well as feedback mechanisms, such as a changing snow cover.

  8. Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Balance: Distribution of Increased Mass Loss with Climate Warming; 2003-07 Versus 1992-2002

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Li, Jun; Benner, Anita C.; Beckley, Matthew; Cornejo, Helen G.; DiMarzio, John; Giovinetto, Mario B.; Neumann, Thomas A.; Robbins, John; Saba, Jack L.; Yi, Donghui; Wang, Weili

    2011-01-01

    We derive mass changes of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) for 2003-07 from ICESat laser altimetry and compare them with results for 1992-2002 from ERS radar and airborne laser altimetry. The GIS continued to grow inland and thin at the margins during 2003 07, but surface melting and accelerated flow significantly increased the marginal thinning compared with the 1990s. The net balance changed from a small loss of 7 plus or minus 3 Gt a 1(sup -1) in the 1990s to 171 plus or minus 4 Gt a (sup -1) for 2003-07, contributing 0.5 mm a(sup -1) to recent global sea-level rise. We divide the derived mass changes into two components: (1) from changes in melting and ice dynamics and (2) from changes in precipitation and accumulation rate. We use our firn compaction model to calculate the elevation changes driven by changes in both temperature and accumulation rate and to calculate the appropriate density to convert the accumulation-driven changes to mass changes. Increased losses from melting and ice dynamics (17-206 Gt a(sup-1) are over seven times larger than increased gains from precipitation (10 35 Gt a(sup-1) during a warming period of approximately 2 K (10 a)(sup -1) over the GIS. Above 2000m elevation, the rate of gain decreased from 44 to 28 Gt a(sup-1), while below 2000m the rate of loss increased from 51 to 198 Gt a(sup-1). Enhanced thinning below the equilibrium line on outlet glaciers indicates that increased melting has a significant impact on outlet glaciers, as well as accelerating ice flow. Increased thinning at higher elevations appears to be induced by dynamic coupling to thinning at the margins on decadal timescales.

  9. Response of debris-covered glaciers in the Mount Everest region to recent warming, and implications for outburst flood hazards

    OpenAIRE

    D. I. Benn; Bolch, Tobias; Hands, K; Gulley, J; Luckman, A.; L. I. Nicholson; Quincey, D; Thompson, S.; R. Toumi; Wiseman, S

    2012-01-01

    In areas of high relief, many glaciers have extensive covers of supraglacial debris in their ablation zones, which alters both rates and spatial patterns of melting, with important consequences for glacier response to climate change. Wastage of debris-covered glaciers can be associated with the formation of large moraine-dammed lakes, posing risk of glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs). In this paper, we use observations of glaciers in the Mount Everest region to present an integrated view of...

  10. Sensitivity and Response of Bhutanese Glaciers to Atmospheric Warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rupper, Summer; Schaefer, Joerg M.; Burgener, Landon K.; Koenig, Lora S.; Tsering, Karma; Cook, Edward

    2013-01-01

    Glacierized change in the Himalayas affects river-discharge, hydro-energy and agricultural production, and Glacial Lake Outburst Flood potential, but its quantification and extent of impacts remains highly uncertain. Here we present conservative, comprehensive and quantitative predictions for glacier area and meltwater flux changes in Bhutan, monsoonal Himalayas. In particular, we quantify the uncertainties associated with the glacier area and meltwater flux changes due to uncertainty in climate data, a critical problem for much of High Asia. Based on a suite of gridded climate data and a robust glacier melt model, our results show that glacier area and meltwater change projections can vary by an order of magnitude for different climate datasets. However, the most conservative results indicate that, even if climate were to remain at the present-day mean values, almost 10% of Bhutan s glacierized area would vanish and the meltwater flux would drop by as much as 30%. Under the conservative scenario of an additional 1 C regional warming, glacier retreat is going to continue until about 25% of Bhutan s glacierized area will have disappeared and the annual meltwater flux, after an initial spike, would drop by as much as 65%. Citation

  11. Sensitivity and response of Bhutanese glaciers to atmospheric warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rupper, Summer; Schaefer, Joerg M.; Burgener, Landon K.; Koenig, Lora S.; Tsering, Karma; Cook, Edward R.

    2012-10-01

    Glacierized change in the Himalayas affects river-discharge, hydro-energy and agricultural production, and Glacial Lake Outburst Flood potential, but its quantification and extent of impacts remains highly uncertain. Here we present conservative, comprehensive and quantitative predictions for glacier area and meltwater flux changes in Bhutan, monsoonal Himalayas. In particular, we quantify the uncertainties associated with the glacier area and meltwater flux changes due to uncertainty in climate data, a critical problem for much of High Asia. Based on a suite of gridded climate data and a robust glacier melt model, our results show that glacier area and meltwater change projections can vary by an order of magnitude for different climate datasets. However, the most conservative results indicate that, even if climate were to remain at the present-day mean values, almost 10% of Bhutan's glacierized area would vanish and the meltwater flux would drop by as much as 30%. Under the conservative scenario of an additional 1°C regional warming, glacier retreat is going to continue until about 25% of Bhutan's glacierized area will have disappeared and the annual meltwater flux, after an initial spike, would drop by as much as 65%.

  12. Observations of enhanced thinning in the upper reaches of Svalbard glaciers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. D. James

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Changes in the volume and extent of land ice of the Svalbard archipelago have been the subject of considerable research since their sensitivity to changes in climate was first noted. However, the measurement of these changes is often necessarily based on point or profile measurements which may not be representative if extrapolated to a whole catchment or region. Combining high-resolution elevation data from contemporary laser-altimetry surveys and archived aerial photography makes it possible to measure historical changes across a glacier's surface without the need for extrapolation. Here we present a high spatial resolution time-series for six Arctic glaciers in the Svalbard archipelago spanning 1961 to 2005. We find high variability in thinning rates between sites with prevalent elevation changes at all sites averaging −0.59 ± 0.04 m a−1 between 1961–2005. Prior to 1990, ice surface elevation was changing at an average rate of −0.52 ± 0.09 m a−1 which decreased to −0.76 ± 0.10 m a−1 after 1990. Setting the elevation changes against the glaciers' altitude distribution reveals that significant increases in thinning rates are occurring most notably in the glaciers' upper reaches. We find that these changes are coincident with a decrease in winter precipitation at the Longyearbyen meteorological station and could reflect a decrease in albedo or dynamic response to lower accumulation. Further work is required to understand fully the causes of this increase in thinning rates in the glaciers' upper reaches. If on-going and occurring elsewhere in the archipelago, these changes will have a significant effect on the region's future mass balance. Our results highlight the importance of understanding the climatological context of geodetic mass balance measurements and demonstrate the difficulty of using index glaciers to represent regional changes in areas of strong c