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Assessment of glacier water resources based on the Glacier Inventory of China

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According to the division into subareas of water-resource distribution in China, and based on the Glacier Inventory of China (GIC), China's total glacier water storage is 5040.2 × 109 m3, 33.0% of which is distributed in the southwest drainage basins and 64.1% in the northwest inland drainage basins, forming enormous solid reservoirs with plentiful freshwater storage. Glacier change in China is estimated for the periods from the Little Ice Age (LIA) maximum to about 1960 and from 1960 to 1995. The relative glacierized area loss is 23% and 8.9% respectively for maritime glaciers and 15% and 4.9% respectively for continental glaciers. The normal annual glacier meltwater runoff is estimated at 60 465 × 106 m3 by the climate parameter temperature-index method, 38.7% of which is distributed in the northwest inland drainage basins, and at 61 574 × 106 m3 by the glacier system temperature-index method, 41.5% of which is distributed in the northwest inland drainage basins. Simulation of glacier meltwater runoff under the temperature change ratio of 0.03 K a–1 by the glacier system model in west China between 1980 and 2000 indicates that the total glacier meltwater runoff increment is 10.8% overall, 14.3% in the inland drainage basins of northwest China and 9.0% in the outflow drainage basins of southwest China.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2010

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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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