Elmer/Ice News

Evolution of Da Anglong Glacier, Western Tibetan Plateau

The response of glaciers in Tibet Plateau and the wider area of High Mountain Asia to on-going and future climatefig15-2.jpg change is a topic of concern. Little work has been done on small Tibetan Plateau glacier responses to climate warming with mechanistic models, but no simulations on a large Tibet glacier to our knowledge. We apply three-dimensional full-Stokes model to simulate the evolution of Da Anglong Glacier, a large glacier (6.66 km2) in the western Tibet Plateau from the year 2016 to 2098, using projected temperatures and precipitations from the 25-km-resolution RegCM4 nested within 3 Earth System Models simulating the RCP2.6 and RCP8.5 scenarios. The surface mass balance is estimated by degree-day method using a quadratic elevation-dependent precipitation gradient. A geothermal flux of 60 mW m-2 produces a better fit to measured surface velocity than lower heat fluxes, and represents a new datum in this region of sparse heat flux observations. The ensemble mean simulated glacier volume loss during 2016-2098 amounts to 38% of the glacier volume in the year 2016 under RCP2.6 and 83% under RCP8.5. Simulation from 2016 to 2098 without ice dynamics leads to an underestimation of ice loss of 22-27% under RCP2.6 and 16-24% under RCP8.5, showing that ice dynamics play an important amplifying factor in ice loss for this glacier, unlike for small Tibetan glaciers where SMB dominates glacier change.

Read more:  Zhao W., L. Zhao, L. Tian, M. Wolovick and J.C. Moore, 2022. Simulating the Evolution of Da Anglong Glacier, Western Tibetan Plateau over the 21st Century. Water, 14(2), 271, doi:10.3390/w14020271 

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