C04 Modelling of Mountain Glaciers, Past and Future

IACS (Cryosphere)

24-Jun-2015, 13:30 - 15:00

Abstract content:

Dynamic response of Urumqi Glacier No.1, Eastern Tianshan, to climate forcing over the last decade

Glaciers in the eastern Tianshan, northwest China, provide important water resources both for ecosystems and local population. The glaciers are summer-accumulation-type glaciers, that are highly vulnerable to the overall warming trend. Glaciers in the eastern Tianshan are experiencing rapid shrinkage. In short-term, this may result in an increase in stream flow, however, as glaciers reduce in number and disappear, water supply from glacial melt will decline. The reduction in magnitude and changes in the seasonal pattern of glacial runoff are the most important hydrological consequences of future climate change in the study region.

The spatial pattern of surface energy and mass balance, glacial dynamics and glacier hydrology in the eastern Tianshan has not yet systematically been addressed. In this study we couple a ‘COupled Snow­pack and Ice surface energy and MAss balance model’ (COSIMA) to a Shallow Ice Approxi­mation ice flow model to assess the dynamic response of Urumqi glacier No.1 in the Tianshan mountains to climate forcing over the period 2000-2012. COSIMA is forced by atmospheric model data from the High Asia Refined analysis (HAR). The coupling allows quantifying the difference between this approach and COSIMA runs using static glacier geometry over the same study period. Further, with this approach we identify the characteristic patterns in glacier surface energy and mass balance and improve our understanding of atmosphere-cryosphere interactions in this region. The importance of subsurface refreezing and sublimation as relevant processes of glacier mass balance are evaluated in comparison to findings from other study sites in High Asia. The results may allow for a better understanding of the future response of glaciers in the Tianshan to climate forcing.

C. Schneider1, E. Huintjes1, H. Li2, P. Wang2, Z. Li2.
1RWTH Aachen University, Department of Geography, Aachen, Germany.
2Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tian Shan Glaciological Station- CAREERI, Lanzhou, China Peoples Republic.


Glacier     Climate variability     Energy and Mass Balance     Coupled Model     Tianshan, China