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Numerical modelling of historical front variations and dynamic response of Sofiyskiy glacier, Altai mountains, Russia

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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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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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