Responses of Glaciers and Glacial Lakes to Climate Variation between 1975 and 2005 in the Rongxer Basin of Tibet, China and Nepal (2012)

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This research presents an evaluation of glacier recession and glacial-lake expansion in the Rongxer basin in the Mount Qomolangma National Reserve of central Himalaya. Changes in glacier and glacial-lake surface areas in the Reserve between 1975, 1992 and 2005 have been estimated using remote sensing and GIS techniques that have integrated field data from 2009, 1:50,000 scale topographic maps, ASTER satellite data from 2009, and Landsat MSS/TM images in 1975, 1992 and 2005. By 2005, the glacier surface area had declined from 596.52 to 451.58 km2 with a total area loss of 144.94 km2, and glacial lakes had increased from 3.55 to 7.87 km2, an increase of 121.69 %. The volume of glaciers was reduced by 69.99 km3 from 1975 to 2005. The observed changes in the extent of glaciers are in line with the observed atmospheric warming in the Rongxer basin. Records from the Tingri station and Nyalam station have revealed warming during the ablation season since the 1970s at a rate of 0.03–0.04 °C a−1 in the northern and central Rongxer basin. At higher elevations in the study area, represented by the Tingri and Nyalam meteorological stations, the summer warming was accompanied by negative anomalies in annual precipitation since the 1970s, likely enhancing glacier retreat and glacial lake expansion.
Year: 2012
Language: English
In: Regional Environmental Change, 12 (4): 887-898 p.

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 Record created 2013-08-15, last modified 2014-03-19