Glacier Ablation and Temperature Indexed Melt Models in the Nepalese Himalaya (2019)

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Temperature index (TI) models are convenient for modelling glacier ablation since they require only a few input variables and rely on simple empirical relations. The approach is generally assumed to be reliable at lower elevations (below 3500 m above sea level, a.s.l) where air temperature (Ta) relates well to the energy inputs driving melt. We question this approach in High Mountain Asia (HMA). We study in-situ meteorological drivers of glacial ablation at two sites in central Nepal, between 2013 and 2017, using data from six automatic weather stations (AWS). During the monsoon, surface melt dominates ablation processes at lower elevations (between 4950 and 5380 m a.s.l.). As net shortwave radiation (SWnet) is the main energy input at the glacier surface, albedo (α) and cloudiness play key roles while being highly variable in space and time. For these cases only, ablation can be calculated with a TI model, or with an Enhanced TI (ETI) model that includes a shortwave radiation (SW) scheme and site specific ablation factors. In the ablation zone during other seasons and during all seasons in the accumulation zone, sublimation and other wind-driven ablation processes also contribute to mass loss, and remain unresolved with TI or ETI methods.
Year: 2019
Language: English
In: Scientific Reports, 9 (1): 5264 p.

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 Record created 2019-10-01, last modified 2019-10-01