Snow accumulation rate on Qomolangma (Mount Everest), Himalaya: synchroneity with sites across the Tibetan Plateau on 50–100 year timescales
Abstract:Annual-layer thickness data, spanning AD 1534–2001, from an ice core from East Rongbuk Col on Qomolangma (Mount Everest, Himalaya) yield an age–depth profile that deviates systematically from a constant accumulation-rate analytical model. The profile clearly shows that the mean accumulation rate has changed every 50–100 years. A numerical model was developed to determine the magnitude of these multi-decadal-scale rates. The model was used to obtain a time series of annual accumulation. The mean annual accumulation rate decreased from ∼0.8 m ice equivalent in the 1500s to ∼0.3 m in the mid-1800s. From ∼1880 to ∼1970 the rate increased. However, it has decreased since ∼1970. Comparison with six other records from the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau shows that the changes in accumulation in East Rongbuk Col are broadly consistent with a regional pattern over much of the Plateau. This suggests that there may be an overarching mechanism controlling precipitation and mass balance over this area. However, a record from Dasuopu, only 125 km northwest of Qomolangma and 700 m higher than East Rongbuk Col, shows a maximum in accumulation during the 1800s, a time during which the East Rongbuk Col and Tibetan Plateau ice-core and tree-ring records show a minimum. This asynchroneity may be due to altitudinal or seasonal differences in monsoon versus westerly moisture sources or complex mountain meteorology.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2008
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