Numerical modelling of historical front variations and dynamic response of Sofiyskiy glacier, Altai mountains, Russia
Abstract:The recent fluctuation of the central Asian climate, and its effect on the region's glaciers, is poorly known, largely because of a lack of knowledge of the dynamic behaviour of so-called summer-accumulation-type glaciers. In this study, a one-dimensional numerical glacier model is used to simulate the dynamic response of Sofiyskiy glacier, Altai mountains, Russia, to climate forcing. A successful simulation of the observed historical front variations was accomplished by dynamic calibration. This resulted in a reconstruction of the recent mass-balance history of the glacier, showing a distinct decline in surface mass balance in the second half of the 19th century, a slightly higher mass balance at the beginning of the 20th century, followed by a steady decline towards present conditions. The future response of Sofiyskiy glacier was projected for six 21st-century climate scenarios. Under a "no-change" scenario, the glacier will retreat >2 km by 2100. If air temperature gradually rises by >5°C during this century, the glacier will vanish around 2100. Basic response characteristics of Sofiyskiy glacier were determined. These indicate rather low mass-balance sensitivity to temperature change, but a strong front reaction due to geometric conditions.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2003
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