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Water 2017, 9(6), 405; doi:10.3390/w9060405

Climate–Glacier Dynamics and Topographic Forcing in the Karakoram Himalaya: Concepts, Issues and Research Directions

1
Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
2
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
3
Center for Geospatial Science, Applications and Technology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
4
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Daene C. McKinney
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 25 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 6 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Warming Impacts on Mountain Glaciers and Communities)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [14610 KB, uploaded 7 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

Understanding climate-glacier dynamics in High Mountain Asia is of critical importance to address issues including water resources, sea-level rise, mountain geodynamics, natural hazards and ecosystem sustainability. The Karakoram Himalaya is arguably the least understood region, given its extreme topography, climate-system coupling, and advancing and surge-type glaciers that exhibit complex flow patterns. Glacier fluctuations in the Karakoram Himalaya are highly variable in space and time because of numerous controlling factors, including the westerlies, the Indian summer monsoon, various teleconnections, topographic effects, glacier debris-cover characteristics, glacier dynamics, and geological conditions. The influence of the integrative coupling of forcing factors, however, has not been adequately assessed for characterizing the glaciers in the Karakoram Himalaya. Given the scarcity of in-situ data and the difficulty of conducting fieldwork on these glaciers, recent research has focused on utilizing remote sensing, geospatial technologies, and scientific modeling to obtain baseline information about the state of glaciers in the region. This review summarizes our current knowledge of glaciers, climate-glacier interaction, and topographic forcing in the Karakoram Himalaya, and demonstrates the complexities in mountain geodynamics that influence climate-glacier dynamics. Innovative analysis is also presented in support of our review and discussion. View Full-Text
Keywords: glaciers; climate; topography; teleconnections; Karakoram Himalaya; High Mountain Asia glaciers; climate; topography; teleconnections; Karakoram Himalaya; High Mountain Asia
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Dobreva, I.D.; Bishop, M.P.; Bush, A.B.G. Climate–Glacier Dynamics and Topographic Forcing in the Karakoram Himalaya: Concepts, Issues and Research Directions. Water 2017, 9, 405.

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