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Article

Modeling of Mass Balance Variability and Its Impact on Water Discharge from the Urumqi Glacier No. 1 Catchment, Tian Shan, China

1
Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
2
Tianshan Glaciological Station/State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(12), 3297; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123297
Received: 7 October 2020 / Revised: 7 November 2020 / Accepted: 11 November 2020 / Published: 24 November 2020
Originating in the Tian Shan mountains, Urumqi River plays a key role in terms of water supply to downstream areas. In its headwaters, Urumqi Glacier No. 1 (UG1) is the largest glacier contributing to water discharge. Assessing its response to the changing climatic conditions in the area is of major importance to quantify future water availability. We here apply COSIPY, a COupled Snowpack and Ice surface energy and mass balance model in PYthon, to UG1, implementing a new albedo parameterization which integrates site-specific bare-ice albedo values on a pixel-by-pixel basis observed by remote sensing. We assess model performance threefold: quantitatively based on long-term measurement data of (1) surface mass balance (SMB) and (2) water discharge as well as qualitatively (3) comparing simulated snow line altitudes to such imated on the basis of time-lapse photography. Comparison of the modeled SMB with annually-averaged data from ablation stakes reveals that COSIPY including the new albedo parameterization accounts for 57.6% of the variance observed in the measurements. The original albedo parameterization performs only slightly inferior (57.1%). Glacier-wide comparison between modeled and glaciological SMB shows high agreement. In terms of discharge prediction, COSIPY reproduces onset and duration of the discharge season well. Estimated discharge from the whole catchment shows shortcomings in exactly matching the measured times series, but interannual variability is captured. View Full-Text
Keywords: COSIPY; Urumqi Glacier No. 1; glacier mass balance; Urumqi river; water discharge; Tian Shan mountains; albedo COSIPY; Urumqi Glacier No. 1; glacier mass balance; Urumqi river; water discharge; Tian Shan mountains; albedo
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MDPI and ACS Style

Thiel, K.; Arndt, A.; Wang, P.; Li, H.; Li, Z.; Schneider, C. Modeling of Mass Balance Variability and Its Impact on Water Discharge from the Urumqi Glacier No. 1 Catchment, Tian Shan, China. Water 2020, 12, 3297. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123297

AMA Style

Thiel K, Arndt A, Wang P, Li H, Li Z, Schneider C. Modeling of Mass Balance Variability and Its Impact on Water Discharge from the Urumqi Glacier No. 1 Catchment, Tian Shan, China. Water. 2020; 12(12):3297. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123297

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thiel, Kira, Anselm Arndt, Puyu Wang, Huilin Li, Zhongqin Li, and Christoph Schneider. 2020. "Modeling of Mass Balance Variability and Its Impact on Water Discharge from the Urumqi Glacier No. 1 Catchment, Tian Shan, China" Water 12, no. 12: 3297. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123297

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