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Recent shrinkage and hydrological response of Hailuogou glacier, a monsoon temperate glacier on the east slope of Mount Gongga, China

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Temperate glaciers are more sensitive to climate changes than polar or continental glaciers, and can drive remarkable runoff variation in local water catchments. Here we present recent glacier shrinkage and runoff change for Hailuogou glacier, a typical monsoon temperate glacier on the east slope of Mount Gongga (Minya Konga), China. The surface area of Hailuogou glacier has decreased by 3.5% (0.92 km2) between 1966 (aerial photographs) and 2007 (ASTER images). Flow measurements at a stream gauge about 500 m down-glacier commencing in 1994 display a remarkable increase in annual runoff (mostly during July–September) since 1999. Annual runoff over the same period in a non-glacierized but forested subcatchment (9.17 km2) did not experience significant change. By separating the daily rainfall component from the daily total discharge, monthly catchment water-balance series were calculated for the period 1994–2005, which shows an increasing trend of glacier storage loss. We concluded that air-temperature rise (with a trend of +0.2°C (10 a)−1 between 1988 and 2005, recorded at nearby weather stations) has had an increased effect on glacier mass loss and river runoff change during the past 20 years.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-06-01

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.

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