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Open AccessArticle

The Role of Debris Cover in Catchment Runoff: A Case Study of the Hailuogou Catchment, South-Eastern Tibetan Plateau

1
School of Resource, Environment and Safety Engineering, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan 411201, China
2
Institute of International Rivers and Eco-Security, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, China
3
Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(12), 2601; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122601
Received: 25 September 2019 / Revised: 4 December 2019 / Accepted: 7 December 2019 / Published: 10 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
Runoff from high-elevation, debris-covered glaciers is a crucial water supply in the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and its surroundings, where insufficient debris thickness data make it difficult to analyze its influence. Here, we investigated the role of debris cover in runoff formation of the Hailuogou catchment in the south-eastern Tibetan Plateau for the 1988–2017 period, based on long-term observations combined with a physically based glacio-hydrological model. The catchment is characterized by extensive thin debris on the ablation zones of three debris-covered glaciers. An increasing trend in catchment runoff has been observed in the past three decades, more than 50% of which is attributed to glacier runoff in the last decade. With the exception of the influence of temperature rising and precipitation decreasing, our results underline the importance of debris cover and its spatial features in the glaciological and hydrological processes of the catchment, in which the acceleration effect of debris cover is dominant in the catchment. An experimental analysis indicated that the extraordinary excess meltwater in the catchment is generated from the debris-covered surface, especially the lower elevation region below 3600 m a.s.l. View Full-Text
Keywords: debris-covered glacier; supraglacial debris; ice melting; river runoff; glacier hydrology debris-covered glacier; supraglacial debris; ice melting; river runoff; glacier hydrology
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Zhang, Y.; Liu, S.; Liu, Q.; Wang, X.; Jiang, Z.; Wei, J. The Role of Debris Cover in Catchment Runoff: A Case Study of the Hailuogou Catchment, South-Eastern Tibetan Plateau. Water 2019, 11, 2601.

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