Special Issue "Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Shahgedanova
Website
Guest Editor
Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, UK
Interests: climate change; glaciers; water resources in glacierized regions
Prof. Igor Severskiy
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Glaciology, Kazakhstan Institute of Geography
Interests: glaciology; glacier hydrology; water resources in Central Asia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The mountain cryosphere (including seasonal snow pack, glacier ice, rock glaciers and permafrost) plays a key role in the provisioning of water for plains, especially in regions with arid and semi-arid climates. Since the middle of the 20th century, all components of the mountain cryosphere have been strongly affected by climatic warming. The reduction in the area and volume of mountain glaciers and the degradation of permafrost are particularly prominent. The observed decline of the mountain cryosphere has already affected water resources in many regions (e.g., the tropical Andes) where a strong negative impact is anticipated in the future when glaciers and ground ice resources have been exhausted. In other areas (e.g., Central Asia), there is no agreement about alterations to the regional water cycle, the role of precipitation variability, and the relative contributions of the components of the cryosphere to discharge. The projections of future discharge and timing of peak flow, which are needed for the development of viable and timely adaptation plans, are subject to a very strong uncertainty in all glacierized regions.

This Special Issue invites original research papers that focus on glacierized catchments and regions and contribute to our ability to understand, quantify and predict the impacts of climate change on the cryosphere and water resources. We focus on the mountains, but do not exclude other regions where components of the cryosphere contribute to runoff. We particularly welcome topics including but not limited to: (i) Assessment of changes in the cryosphere which have implications for catchment and regional hydrology and water resources; (ii) Detection and attribution of hydrological response to changes in climate and cryosphere with emphasis on the natural catchments; (iii) Quantifying contributions of different sources to runoff (snow, glacier ice, ground ice); (iv) Changes in glacier and mountain lakes; (v) Hydrological hazards associated with the degradation of the cryosphere; (vi) Modelling future changes in the cryosphere, water balance and discharge; (vii) Water management and adaptation strategies and options.
 

Dr. Maria Shahgedanova
Prof. Igor Severskiy
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Cryosphere
  • Discharge modelling
  • Glacier change
  • Glacierized catchments
  • Glacier lakes
  • GLOF
  • Peak flow
  • Projections of future water resources
  • Trends in discharge
  • Water resources
  • Water management in glacierized catchments

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Emptying Water Towers? Impacts of Future Climate and Glacier Change on River Discharge in the Northern Tien Shan, Central Asia
Water 2020, 12(3), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030627 - 26 Feb 2020
Abstract
Impacts of projected climate and glacier change on river discharge in five glacierized catchments in the northern Tien Shan, Kazakhstan are investigated using a conceptual hydrological model HBV-ETH. Regional climate model PRECIS driven by four different GCM-scenario combinations (HadGEM2.6, HadGEM8.5, A1B using HadCM3Q0 [...] Read more.
Impacts of projected climate and glacier change on river discharge in five glacierized catchments in the northern Tien Shan, Kazakhstan are investigated using a conceptual hydrological model HBV-ETH. Regional climate model PRECIS driven by four different GCM-scenario combinations (HadGEM2.6, HadGEM8.5, A1B using HadCM3Q0 and ECHAM5) is used to develop climate projections. Future changes in glaciation are assessed using the Blatter–Pattyn type higher-order 3D coupled ice flow and mass balance model. All climate scenarios show statistically significant warming in the 21st Century. Neither projects statistically significant change in annual precipitation although HadGEM and HadCM3Q0-driven scenarios show 20–37% reduction in July–August precipitation in 2076–2095 in comparison with 1980–2005. Glaciers are projected to retreat rapidly until the 2050s and stabilize afterwards except under the HadGEM8.5 scenario where retreat continues. Glaciers are projected to lose 38–50% of their volume and 34–39% of their area. Total river discharge in July–August, is projected to decline in catchments with low (2–4%) glacierization by 20–37%. In catchments with high glacierization (16% and over), no significant changes in summer discharge are expected while spring discharge is projected to increase. In catchments with medium glacierization (10–12%), summer discharge is expected to decline under the less aggressive scenarios while flow is sustained under the most aggressive HadGEM8.5 scenario, which generates stronger melt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Retrieval of Spatial and Temporal Variability in Snowpack Depth over Glaciers in Svalbard Using GPR and Spaceborne POLSAR Measurements
Water 2020, 12(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010021 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
The highly dynamic nature of snow requires frequent observations to study its various properties. Keeping this in mind, the present investigation presents results from the analysis of fully polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (POLSAR) parameters for the development of a snow depth (SD) inversion [...] Read more.
The highly dynamic nature of snow requires frequent observations to study its various properties. Keeping this in mind, the present investigation presents results from the analysis of fully polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (POLSAR) parameters for the development of a snow depth (SD) inversion model for SD retrieval. Snow depth retrieved using ground penetrating radar (GPR) at 500 MHz over Austre Grønfjordbreen in the Svalbard region was used to understand the behaviour of certain polarimetric parameters. A significant correlation was found between field-measured SD and POLSAR parameters, namely coherence and normalized volume scattering power (R2 = 0.84 and R2 = 0.73, respectively.) Using the POLSAR scattering powers obtained from the six-component model-based decomposition (6SD), the heterogeneity and anisotropic behaviour in the firn areas are also explained. Further, based on the analyses shown in this work, a polarimetric parameter-based SD inversion algorithm have been proposed and validated. The univariate model with co-polarization coherence has the highest correlation (R2 = 0.84, Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) = 0.18). We have even tested several multivariate models for the same, to conclude that a combination of coherence, normalized volume and double-bounce scattering have a high correlation with SD (R2 = 0.84, RMSE = 0.18). Additionally, temporal and spatial variability in SD was also observed from three polarimetric SAR images acquired between 4 April 2015 and 15 May 2015 over the Western Nordenskiöld Land region. Increase in snow depth corresponding to snow precipitation events were also detected using the POLSAR data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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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
Water 2019, 11(12), 2601; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122601 - 10 Dec 2019
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Glacier Flow Dynamics of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago in Russian High Arctic Using the Differential SAR Interferometry (DInSAR) Technique
Water 2019, 11(12), 2466; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122466 - 23 Nov 2019
Abstract
Glacier velocity is one of the most important parameters to understand glacier dynamics. The Severnaya Zemlya archipelago is host to many glaciers of which four major ice caps encompassing these glaciers are studied, namely, Academy of Sciences, Rusanov, Karpinsky, and University. In this [...] Read more.
Glacier velocity is one of the most important parameters to understand glacier dynamics. The Severnaya Zemlya archipelago is host to many glaciers of which four major ice caps encompassing these glaciers are studied, namely, Academy of Sciences, Rusanov, Karpinsky, and University. In this study, we adopted the differential interferometric synthetic aperture radar (DInSAR) method utilizing ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 datasets, with a temporal resolution of 14 days. The observed maximum velocity for one of the marine-terminating glaciers in the Academy of Sciences Ice Cap was 72.24 cm/day (≈263 m/a). For the same glacier, an increment of 3.75 times the flow rate was observed in 23 years, compared to a previous study. This has been attributed to deformation in the bed topography of the glacier. Glaciers in other ice caps showed a comparatively lower surface velocity, ranging from 7.43 to 32.12 cm/day. For estimating the error value in velocity, we selected three ice-free regions and calculated the average value of their observed movement rates by considering the fact that there is zero movement for ice-free areas. The average value observed for the ice-free area was 0.09 cm/day, and we added this value in our uncertainty analysis. Further, it was observed that marine-terminating glaciers have a higher velocity than land-terminating glaciers. Such important observations were identified in this research, which are expected to facilitate future glacier velocity studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
GLOF Risk Assessment Model in the Himalayas: A Case Study of a Hydropower Project in the Upper Arun River
Water 2019, 11(9), 1839; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091839 - 04 Sep 2019
Abstract
A glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) is a phenomenon that is widely known by researchers because such an event can wreak havoc on the natural environment as well as on manmade infrastructure. Therefore, a GLOF risk assessment is necessary, especially within river basins [...] Read more.
A glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) is a phenomenon that is widely known by researchers because such an event can wreak havoc on the natural environment as well as on manmade infrastructure. Therefore, a GLOF risk assessment is necessary, especially within river basins with hydropower plants, and may lead to a tremendous amount of socioeconomic loss if not done. However, due to the subjective and objective limitations of the available GLOF risk assessment methods, we have proposed a new and easily applied method with a wider application and without the need for adaptation changes in accordance with the subject area, which also allows for the repeated use of this model. In this study, we focused our efforts on the Upper Arun Hydroelectric Project (UAHEP) in the Arun River Basin, and we (1) identified 49 glacial lakes with areas greater than 0.1 km2; (2) geographically represented and analyzed these 49 glacial lakes for the period of 1990–2018; (3) analyzed the correlation between the temperature and precipitation trends and the occurrence of recorded GLOF events in the region; (4) proposed a new method based on the documented affected lengths and volumes derived from historical GLOF events to identify 4 potentially critical lakes; and (5) evaluated the discharge profiles using widely used empirical methods and further discussed the physical properties, triggering factors, and outburst probability of the critical lakes. To achieve these objectives, a series of intensive and integrated desk studies, data collections, and GLOF simulations and analyses were performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Change in the Extent of Glaciers and Glacier Runoff in the Chinese Sector of the Ile River Basin between 1962 and 2012
Water 2019, 11(8), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081668 - 12 Aug 2019
Abstract
Change in glacier area in the Kuksu and Kunes river basins, which are tributaries to the internationally important Ile River, were assessed at two different time steps between 1962/63, 1990/93, and 2010/12. Overall, glaciers lost 191.3 ± 16.8 km2 or 36.9 ± [...] Read more.
Change in glacier area in the Kuksu and Kunes river basins, which are tributaries to the internationally important Ile River, were assessed at two different time steps between 1962/63, 1990/93, and 2010/12. Overall, glaciers lost 191.3 ± 16.8 km2 or 36.9 ± 6.5% of the initial area. Glacier wastage intensified in the latter period: While in 1962/63–1990/93 glaciers were losing 0.5% a−1, in 1990/93–2010/12, they were losing 1.2% a−1. Streamflow of the Ile River and its tributaries do not exhibit statistically significant change during the vegetative period between May and September. Positive trends were observed in the Ile flow in autumn, winter, and early spring. By contrast, the calculation of the total runoff from the glacier surface (including snow and ice melt) using temperature-index method and runoff forming due to melting of multiyear ice estimated from changes in glacier volume at different time steps between the 1960s and 2010s, showed that their absolute values and their contribution to total river runoff declined since the 1980s. This change is attributed to a strong reduction in glacier area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Reconciling High Glacier Surface Melting in Summer with Air Temperature in the Semi-Arid Zone of Western Himalaya
Water 2019, 11(8), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081561 - 29 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In Himalaya, the temperature plays a key role in the process of snow and ice melting and, importantly, the precipitation phase changes (i.e., snow or rain). Consequently, in longer period, the melting and temperature gradient determine the state of the Himalayan glaciers. This [...] Read more.
In Himalaya, the temperature plays a key role in the process of snow and ice melting and, importantly, the precipitation phase changes (i.e., snow or rain). Consequently, in longer period, the melting and temperature gradient determine the state of the Himalayan glaciers. This necessitates the continuous monitoring of glacier surface melting and a well-established meteorological network in the Himalaya. An attempt has been made to study the seasonal and annual (October 2015 to September 2017) characteristics of air temperature, near-surface temperature lapse rate (tlr), in-situ glacier surface melting, and surface melt simulation by temperature-index (T-index) models for Sutri Dhaka Glacier catchment, Lahaul-Spiti region in Western Himalaya. The tlr of the catchment ranges from 0.3 to 6.5 °C km−1, varying on a monthly and seasonal timescale, which suggests the need for avoiding the use of standard environmental lapse rate (SELR ~6.5 °C km−1). The measured and extrapolated average air temperature (tavg) was found to be positive on glacier surface (4500 to 5500 m asl) between June and September (summer). Ablation data calculated for the balance years 2015–16 and 2016–17 shows an average melting of −4.20 ± 0.84 and −3.09 ± 0.62 m w.e., respectively. In compliance with positive air temperature in summer, ablation was also found to be maximum ~88% of total yearly ice melt. When comparing the observed and modelled ablation data with air temperature, we show that the high summer glacier melt was caused by warmer summer air temperature and minimum spells of summer precipitation in the catchment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Glacier Changes in the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China, between the 1960s and 2015
Water 2019, 11(3), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030623 - 26 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Glaciers in the Qilian Mountains are important sources of fresh-water for sustainable development in the Hexi Corridor in the arid northwest China. Over the last few decades, glaciers have generally shrunk across the globe due to climate warming. In order to understand the [...] Read more.
Glaciers in the Qilian Mountains are important sources of fresh-water for sustainable development in the Hexi Corridor in the arid northwest China. Over the last few decades, glaciers have generally shrunk across the globe due to climate warming. In order to understand the current state of glaciers in the Qilian Mountains, we compiled a new inventory of glaciers in the region using Landsat Operational Land Imager (OLI) images acquired in 2015, and identified 2748 glaciers that covered an area of 1539.30 ± 49.50 km2 with an ice volume of 81.69 ± 7.40 km3, among which the Shule River basin occupied the largest portion of glaciers (24.8% in number, 32.3% in area, and 35.6% in ice volume). In comparison to previous inventories, glacier area was found to shrink by 396.89 km2 (20.5%) in total, and 109 glaciers with an area of 8.94 km2 disappeared over the period from the 1960s to 2015. This situation was primarily caused by the increase in air temperature, and also related with the size of glacier and some local topographic parameters. In addition, the change of glaciers in the Qilian Mountains showed a distinct spatial pattern, i.e., their shrinking rate was large in the east and small in the west. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Mass and Energy Balance Estimation of Yala Glacier (2011–2017), Langtang Valley, Nepal
Water 2019, 11(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010006 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Six-year glaciological mass balance measurements, conducted at the Yala Glacier between November 2011 and November 2017 are presented and analyzed. A physically-based surface energy balance model is used to simulate summer mass and energy balance of the Yala Glacier for the 2012–2014 period. [...] Read more.
Six-year glaciological mass balance measurements, conducted at the Yala Glacier between November 2011 and November 2017 are presented and analyzed. A physically-based surface energy balance model is used to simulate summer mass and energy balance of the Yala Glacier for the 2012–2014 period. Cumulative mass balance of the Yala Glacier for the 2011–2017 period was negative at −4.88 m w.e. The mean annual glacier-wide mass balance was −0.81 ± 0.27 m w.e. with a standard deviation of ±0.48 m w.e. The modelled mass balance values agreed well with observations. Modelling showed that net radiation was the primary energy source for the melting of the glacier followed by sensible heat and heat conduction fluxes. Sensitivity of mass balance to changes in temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, surface albedo and snow density were examined. Mass balance was found to be most sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrochemical Changes and Influencing Factors in the Dongkemadi Region, Tanggula Range, China
Water 2018, 10(12), 1856; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121856 - 14 Dec 2018
Abstract
In order to detect the source and controlling factors of hydrochemical ions in glacier meltwater-recharged rivers, the chemical characteristics of the river water, precipitation, and meltwater of the Dongkemadi River Basin, China, in 2014 (from May to October) were systematically analyzed, and combined [...] Read more.
In order to detect the source and controlling factors of hydrochemical ions in glacier meltwater-recharged rivers, the chemical characteristics of the river water, precipitation, and meltwater of the Dongkemadi River Basin, China, in 2014 (from May to October) were systematically analyzed, and combined with the hydrological and meteorological data. The results show that the hydrochemical pattern of the typical river was HCO3-Ca2+. The most cations were Ca2+ and Mg2+, and the predominant anions were HCO3 and SO42−, in the river. The concentration of major ions and total dissolved solids (TDS) in the river water were much larger than that in the precipitation and meltwater. The TDS concentration was ordered: River water > precipitation > meltwater. The water-rock interaction and the dilution effect of the precipitation and meltwater on the runoff ions resulted in a negative correlation between the ion concentration of the river water and the river flow. The chemical ions of the river runoff mainly originated from rock weathering and the erosion (abrasion) caused by glacier movement. In addition, the contributions of different sources to the dissolved components of the Dongkemadi River were ordered: Carbonate (75.8%) > silicate (15.5%) > hydatogenic rock (5.7%) > atmospheric precipitation (3%), calculated by a forward geochemical model. And the hydrochemical weathering rates of carbonate and silicate minerals were 12.30 t·km−2·a−1 and 1.98 t·km−2·a−1, respectively. The CO2 fluxes, consumed by the chemical weathering of carbonate and silicate, were 3.28 × 105 mol·km−2·a−1 and 0.91 × 105 mol·km−2·a−1, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Glacier Changes between 1976 and 2015 in the Source Area of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, Myanmar
Water 2018, 10(12), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121850 - 13 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Ayeyarwady River in Myanmar is one of the largest rivers in Southeast Asia. It is predominantly fed by monsoonal precipitation and, to a lower extent, by meltwater from glaciers located in the Himalaya mountains. Information about the glaciers in its headwater region [...] Read more.
The Ayeyarwady River in Myanmar is one of the largest rivers in Southeast Asia. It is predominantly fed by monsoonal precipitation and, to a lower extent, by meltwater from glaciers located in the Himalaya mountains. Information about the glaciers in its headwater region and glacier changes is scarce. Glaciers, in general, are highly important for the hydrological system and are contributing to river flow, therefore playing a key role in water availability, especially in catchments with (semi-) arid downstream areas as is in parts of Myanmar. This study investigated 130 glaciers in the Ayeyarwady headwaters by analyzing satellite images from Landsat missions between 1976 and 2015. The results of the glacier area and volume change analyses indicate that the glaciers are experiencing unprecedented losses. Over the 39 years, the glaciers lost up to 54.3 ± 7.64% of their area and 60.09 ± 1.56% of their mass and volume. The highest losses occurred in the period 2002–2015, which corresponds to increasing global and local warming. This development will probably have a strong influence on the glaciers’ storage function and will affect the local river runoff in the headwater region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Three-Dimensional Glacier Changes in Geladandong Peak Region in the Central Tibetan Plateau
Water 2018, 10(12), 1749; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121749 - 28 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, contour lines from the topographic maps at a 1:100,000 scale (mapped in 1968), Landsat MSS/TM/OLI images, ASTER images and SPOT 6-7 stereo image pairs were used to study changes in glacier length, area and surface elevation. We summarized the results [...] Read more.
In this study, contour lines from the topographic maps at a 1:100,000 scale (mapped in 1968), Landsat MSS/TM/OLI images, ASTER images and SPOT 6-7 stereo image pairs were used to study changes in glacier length, area and surface elevation. We summarized the results using the following three conclusions: (1) During the period from 1973 to 2013, glaciers retreated by 412 ± 32 m at a mean retraction rate of 10.3 ± 0.8 m·year−1 and the relative retreat was 5.6 ± 0.4%. The glacier area shrank by 7.5 ± 3.4%, which was larger than the glacier length. In the periods of 1968–2000, 2000–2005 and 2000–2013, the glacier surface elevation change rates were −7.7 ± 1.4 m (−0.24 ± 0.04 m·year−1), −1.9 ± 1.5 m (−0.38 ± 0.25 m·year−1) and −5.0 ± 1.4 m (−0.38 ± 0.11 m·year−1), respectively. The changes in the glacier area and thickness exhibited similar trends, both showing a significant increasing reduction after 2000. (2) Eleven glaciers were identified as surging glaciers. Changes of the mass balance in surging glaciers were stronger than in non-surging glaciers between 1968 and 2013. Changes of area in surging glaciers were weaker than in non-surging glaciers. (3) Increasing temperature was the major cause of glacier thickness reduction and area shrinkage. The increase in precipitation, to a certain extent, inhibited glacial ablation but it did not change the status of the shrinkage in the glacial area and the reduction in the glacier thickness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Future Climate Change and Its Impact on Runoff Generation from the Debris-Covered Inylchek Glaciers, Central Tian Shan, Kyrgyzstan
Water 2018, 10(11), 1513; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111513 - 25 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The heavily debris-covered Inylchek glaciers in the central Tian Shan are the largest glacier system in the Tarim catchment. It is assumed that almost 50% of the discharge of Tarim River are provided by glaciers. For this reason, climatic changes, and thus changes [...] Read more.
The heavily debris-covered Inylchek glaciers in the central Tian Shan are the largest glacier system in the Tarim catchment. It is assumed that almost 50% of the discharge of Tarim River are provided by glaciers. For this reason, climatic changes, and thus changes in glacier mass balance and glacier discharge are of high impact for the whole region. In this study, a conceptual hydrological model able to incorporate discharge from debris-covered glacier areas is presented. To simulate glacier melt and subsequent runoff in the past (1970/1971–1999/2000) and future (2070/2071–2099/2100), meteorological input data were generated based on ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 global climate model projections. The hydrological model HBV-LMU was calibrated by an automatic calibration algorithm using runoff and snow cover information as objective functions. Manual fine-tuning was performed to avoid unrealistic results for glacier mass balance. The simulations show that annual runoff sums will increase significantly under future climate conditions. A sensitivity analysis revealed that total runoff does not decrease until the glacier area is reduced by 43%. Ice melt is the major runoff source in the recent past, and its contribution will even increase in the coming decades. Seasonal changes reveal a trend towards enhanced melt in spring, but a change from a glacial-nival to a nival-pluvial runoff regime will not be reached until the end of this century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
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