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Glacier volume and area change by 2050 in high mountain Asia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
2014 (English)In: Global and Planetary Change, ISSN 0921-8181, E-ISSN 1872-6364, Vol. 122, 197-207 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We estimate individual area and volume change by 2050 of all 67,028 glaciers, with a total area of 122,969 km(2), delineated in the Randolph Glacier Inventory 2.0 of high mountain Asia (HMA). We used the 25 km resolution regional climate model RegCM 3.0 temperature and precipitation change projections forced by the IPCC A1B scenario. Glacier simulations were based on a novel surface mass balance-altitude parameterization fitted to observational data, and various volume-area scaling approaches using Shuttle Radar Topography Mission surface topography of each individual glacier. We generate mass balance-altitude relations for all the glaciers by region using nearest available glacier measurements. Equilibrium line altitude (ELA) sensitivities to temperature and precipitation change vary by region based on the relative importance of sublimation and melting processes. We also made simulations with mass balance tuned to match satellite observations of glacier thickness changes in HMA from 2003 to 2009. Net mass loss is half as much using the tuned model than using just glaciological calibration data, suggesting the representativity of benchmark glaciers is a larger source of uncertainty in future HIM contributions to sea level rise than errors in glacier inventories or volume-area scaling. Both models predict that about 35% of the glaciers in Karakoram and the northwestern Himalaya are advancing, which is consistent with the observed slight mass gain of glaciers in these regions in recent years. However, we find that 76% of all the glaciers will retreat, most of which are of the maritime type. We project total glacier area loss in high mountain Asia in 2050 to be 22% (in the tuned model) or 35% (un-tuned) of their extent in 2000, and they will contribute 5 mm (tuned model) to global sea level rise.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 122, 197-207 p.
Keyword [en]
climate impacts, Tibet, cryosphere, statistical modeling, regional climate model
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-240129DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2014.08.006ISI: 000345488600017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-240129DiVA: diva2:776890
Available from: 2015-01-08 Created: 2015-01-05 Last updated: 2015-01-08Bibliographically approved

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