Skip to main content

Tropical glaciers, recorders and indicators of climate change, are disappearing globally

Buy Article:

$30.69 plus tax (Refund Policy)


In this paper we review the interaction of El NiƱo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability and warming trends recorded in ice-core records from high-altitude tropical glaciers, discuss the implications of the warming trends for the glaciers and consider the societal implications of glacier retreat. ENSO has strong impacts on meteorological phenomena that directly or indirectly affect most regions on the planet and their populations. Many tropical ice fields have provided continuous annually resolved proxy records of climatic and environmental variability preserved in measurable parameters, especially oxygen and hydrogen isotopic ratios (δ18O, δD) and the net mass balance (accumulation). These records present an opportunity to examine the nature of tropical climate variability in greater detail and to extract new information on linkages between rising temperatures on tropical glaciers and equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures in critical ENSO indicator regions. The long-term climate records from a collection of high-altitude tropical ice cores provide the longer-term context essential for assessing the significance of the magnitude and rate of current climate changes that are in large measure driving glacier retreat. The well-documented ice loss on Quelccaya in the Peruvian Andes, Naimona'nyi in the Himalaya, Kilimanjaro in eastern Africa and the ice fields near Puncak Jaya in Papua, Indonesia, presents a grim future for low-latitude glaciers. The ongoing melting of these ice fields (response) is consistent with model predictions for a vertical amplification of temperature in the tropics (driver) and has serious implications for the people who live in these areas.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • 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.

  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more