Articles | Volume 14, issue 9
24 Sep 2020
Research article | 24 Sep 2020
Towards understanding the pattern of glacier mass balances in High Mountain Asia using regional climatic modelling
Remco J. de Kok et al.
No articles found.
Stefan Fugger, Catriona L. Fyffe, Simone Fatichi, Evan Miles, Michael McCarthy, Thomas E. Shaw, Baohong Ding, Wei Yang, Patrick Wagnon, Walter Immerzeel, Qiao Liu, and Francesca Pellicciotti
The Cryosphere, 16, 1631–1652,Short summary
The monsoon is important for the shrinking and growing of glaciers in the Himalaya during summer. We calculate the melt of seven glaciers in the region using a complex glacier melt model and weather data. We find that monsoonal weather affects glaciers that are covered with a layer of rocky debris and glaciers without such a layer in different ways. It is important to take so-called turbulent fluxes into account. This knowledge is vital for predicting the future of the Himalayan glaciers.
Wouter J. Smolenaars, Sanita Dhaubanjar, Muhammad K. Jamil, Arthur Lutz, Walter Immerzeel, Fulco Ludwig, and Hester Biemans
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 26, 861–883,Short summary
The arid plains of the lower Indus Basin rely heavily on the water provided by the mountainous upper Indus. Rapid population growth in the upper Indus is expected to increase the water that is consumed there. This will subsequently reduce the water that is available for the downstream plains, where the population and water demand are also expected to grow. In future, this may aggravate tensions over the division of water between the countries that share the Indus Basin.
Maurice van Tiggelen, Paul C. J. P. Smeets, Carleen H. Reijmer, Bert Wouters, Jakob F. Steiner, Emile J. Nieuwstraten, Walter W. Immerzeel, and Michiel R. van den Broeke
The Cryosphere, 15, 2601–2621,Short summary
We developed a method to estimate the aerodynamic properties of the Greenland Ice Sheet surface using either UAV or ICESat-2 elevation data. We show that this new method is able to reproduce the important spatiotemporal variability in surface aerodynamic roughness, measured by the field observations. The new maps of surface roughness can be used in atmospheric models to improve simulations of surface turbulent heat fluxes and therefore surface energy and mass balance over rough ice worldwide.
Paul H. Whitfield, Philip D. A. Kraaijenbrink, Kevin R. Shook, and John W. Pomeroy
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 2513–2541,Short summary
Using only warm season streamflow records, regime and change classifications were produced for ~ 400 watersheds in the Nelson and Mackenzie River basins, and trends in water storage and vegetation were detected from satellite imagery. Three areas show consistent changes: north of 60° (increased streamflow and basin greenness), in the western Boreal Plains (decreased streamflow and basin greenness), and across the Prairies (three different patterns of increased streamflow and basin wetness).
Obbe A. Tuinenburg, Jolanda J. E. Theeuwen, and Arie Staal
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 3177–3188,Short summary
We provide a global database of moisture flows through the atmosphere using the most recent ERA5 atmospheric reanalysis. Using this database, it is possible to determine where evaporation will rain out again. However, the reverse is also possible, to determine where precipitation originated from as evaporation. This dataset can be used to determine atmospheric moisture recycling rates and therefore how much water is lost for a catchment through the atmosphere.
Pleun N. J. Bonekamp, Chiel C. van Heerwaarden, Jakob F. Steiner, and Walter W. Immerzeel
The Cryosphere, 14, 1611–1632,Short summary
Drivers controlling melt of debris-covered glaciers are largely unknown. With a 3D turbulence-resolving model the impact of surface properties of debris on micrometeorological variables and the conductive heat flux is shown. Also, we show ice cliffs are local melt hot spots and that turbulent fluxes and local heat advection amplify spatial heterogeneity on the surface.This work is important for glacier mass balance modelling and for the understanding of the evolution of debris-covered glaciers.
Obbe A. Tuinenburg and Arie Staal
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 2419–2435,Short summary
Several models exist to track water through the atmosphere from its evaporation location to the next rain location. These models are typically driven by atmospheric wind and humidity data. Recently, a new version of these driving data sets has become available, with a higher spatial resolution of about 25 km. Here, we test the assumptions of these atmospheric moisture tracking models, given the high-resolution forcing data and find that the vertical mixing assumptions are the most important.
Paul H. Whitfield, Philip D. A. Kraaijenbrink, Kevin R. Shook, and John W. Pomeroy
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript not acceptedShort summary
Using partial year streamflow records a regime and change classification were produced for ~ 400 watersheds in the Saskatchewan and Mackenzie River basins, and trends in water storage and vegetation were detected from satellite imagery. Three areas show consistent changes; north of 60° [increased streamflow and basin greenness], in the western Boreal Plains [decreased streamflow and basin greenness], and across the Prairies [three different patterns of increased streamflow and basin wetness].
Teun van Woerkom, Jakob F. Steiner, Philip D. A. Kraaijenbrink, Evan S. Miles, and Walter W. Immerzeel
Earth Surf. Dynam., 7, 411–427,Short summary
Using data obtained from multiple UAV flights over a debris-covered glacier in the Himalaya between 2013 and 2018, we show that the adjacent moraines erode at rates of up to 16 cm per year, contributing to this debris cover. With retreating ice and resulting instability of moraines, this causes the glacier to cover a narrow zone along the lateral moraines in ever-thicker layers of rocks, resulting in a possible future decrease of local melt.
René Reijer Wijngaard, Hester Biemans, Arthur Friedrich Lutz, Arun Bhakta Shrestha, Philippus Wester, and Walter Willem Immerzeel
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 6297–6321,Short summary
This study assesses the combined impacts of climate change and socio-economic developments on the future water gap for the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra river basins until the end of the 21st century. The results show that despite projected increases in surface water availability, the strong socio-economic development and associated increase in water demand will likely lead to an increase in the water gap, indicating that socio-economic changes will be the key driver in the evolving water gap.
Fanny Brun, Patrick Wagnon, Etienne Berthier, Joseph M. Shea, Walter W. Immerzeel, Philip D. A. Kraaijenbrink, Christian Vincent, Camille Reverchon, Dibas Shrestha, and Yves Arnaud
The Cryosphere, 12, 3439–3457,Short summary
On debris-covered glaciers, steep ice cliffs experience dramatically enhanced melt compared with the surrounding debris-covered ice. Using field measurements, UAV data and submetre satellite imagery, we estimate the cliff contribution to 2 years of ablation on a debris-covered tongue in Nepal, carefully taking into account ice dynamics. While they occupy only 7 to 8 % of the tongue surface, ice cliffs contributed to 23 to 24 % of the total tongue ablation.
Jakob F. Steiner, Philip D. A. Kraaijenbrink, Sergiu G. Jiduc, and Walter W. Immerzeel
The Cryosphere, 12, 95–101,Short summary
Glaciers that once every few years or decades suddenly advance in length – also known as surging glaciers – are found in many glaciated regions in the world. In the Karakoram glacier tongues are additionally located at low altitudes and relatively close to human settlements. We investigate a very recent and extremely rapid surge in the region that has caused a lake to form in the main valley with possible risks for downstream communities.
Emmy E. Stigter, Niko Wanders, Tuomo M. Saloranta, Joseph M. Shea, Marc F. P. Bierkens, and Walter W. Immerzeel
The Cryosphere, 11, 1647–1664,
Koji Fujita, Hiroshi Inoue, Takeki Izumi, Satoru Yamaguchi, Ayako Sadakane, Sojiro Sunako, Kouichi Nishimura, Walter W. Immerzeel, Joseph M. Shea, Rijan B. Kayastha, Takanobu Sawagaki, David F. Breashears, Hiroshi Yagi, and Akiko Sakai
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 749–764,Short summary
We create multiple DEMs from photographs taken by helicopter and UAV and reveal the deposit volumes over the Langtang village, which was destroyed by avalanches induced by the Gorkha earthquake. Estimated snow depth in the source area is consistent with anomalously large snow depths observed at a neighboring glacier. Comparing with a long-term observational data, we conclude that this anomalous winter snow amplified the disaster induced by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal.
Ruud J. van der Ent and Obbe A. Tuinenburg
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 779–790,Short summary
This research seeks out to answer a fundamental question about the functioning of the water cycle in the atmosphere: how much time does a water particle spend in the atmosphere? Based on state-of-the-art data, we derive a global average residence time of water in the atmosphere of 8–10 days. We further show in this paper how the residence time of water varies in time and space. This serves to illustrate why it is so difficult to make weather predictions on timescales longer than a week.
Walter Immerzeel, Philip Kraaijenbrink, and Liss Andreassen
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript not acceptedShort summary
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have become increasingly popular in environmental monitoring. In this study we use a UAV to derive a very detailed digital elevation model (DEM) of Storbreen in Norway. We compare our results with a past DEM to derive the mass balance of this glacier. Our results confirm strong mass loss and retreat of continental glaciers in southern Norway and we conclude that UAVs are effective tools in stuyding mountain glaciers at a high level of detail.
Christian Vincent, Patrick Wagnon, Joseph M. Shea, Walter W. Immerzeel, Philip Kraaijenbrink, Dibas Shrestha, Alvaro Soruco, Yves Arnaud, Fanny Brun, Etienne Berthier, and Sonam Futi Sherpa
The Cryosphere, 10, 1845–1858,Short summary
Approximately 25 % of the glacierized area in the Everest region is covered by debris, yet the surface mass balance of these glaciers has not been measured directly. From terrestrial photogrammetry and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) methods, this study shows that the ablation is strongly reduced by the debris cover. The insulating effect of the debris cover has a larger effect on total mass loss than the enhanced ice ablation due to supraglacial ponds and exposed ice cliffs.
W. W. Immerzeel, N. Wanders, A. F. Lutz, J. M. Shea, and M. F. P. Bierkens
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 4673–4687,Short summary
The water resources of the upper Indus river basin (UIB) are important for millions of people, yet little is known about the rain and snow fall in the high-altitude regions because of the inaccessibility, the climatic complexity and the lack of observations. In this study we use mass balance of glaciers to reconstruct the amount of precipitation in the UIB and we conclude that this amount is much higher than previously thought.
E. Collier, F. Maussion, L. I. Nicholson, T. Mölg, W. W. Immerzeel, and A. B. G. Bush
The Cryosphere, 9, 1617–1632,Short summary
We investigate the impact of surface debris on glacier energy and mass fluxes and on atmosphere-glacier feedbacks in the Karakoram range, by including debris in an interactively coupled atmosphere-glacier model. The model is run from 1 May to 1 October 2004, with a simple specification of debris thickness. We find an appreciable reduction in ablation that exceeds 5m w.e. on glacier tongues, as well as significant alterations to near-surface air temperatures and boundary layer dynamics.
W. Terink, A. F. Lutz, G. W. H. Simons, W. W. Immerzeel, and P. Droogers
Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 2009–2034,Short summary
This paper introduces the Spatial Processes in HYdrology (SPHY) model (v2.0), its underlying concepts, and some example applications. SPHY has the flexibility to be applied in a wide range of hydrologic applications, on various scales, and can easily be implemented. The most relevant hydrologic processes integrated in the SPHY model are rainfall--runoff, cryosphere processes, evapotranspiration processes, the dynamic evolution of evolution of vegetation cover, and lake/reservoir outflow.
R. J. van der Ent, O. A. Tuinenburg, H.-R. Knoche, H. Kunstmann, and H. H. G. Savenije
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 4869–4884,
Related subject area
Discipline: Glaciers | Subject: Atmospheric InteractionsThe role of föhn winds in eastern Antarctic Peninsula rapid ice shelf collapseThe distribution and evolution of supraglacial lakes on 79° N Glacier (north-eastern Greenland) and interannual climatic controlsAtmospheric extremes caused high oceanward sea surface slope triggering the biggest calving event in more than 50 years at the Amery Ice ShelfSpatio-temporal flow variations driving heat exchange processes at a mountain glacierMeasurements and modeling of snow albedo at Alerce Glacier, Argentina: effects of volcanic ash, snow grain size, and cloudinessA multi-season investigation of glacier surface roughness lengths through in situ and remote observationVariability in individual particle structure and mixing states between the glacier–snowpack and atmosphere in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau
Matthew K. Laffin, Charles S. Zender, Melchior van Wessem, and Sebastián Marinsek
The Cryosphere, 16, 1369–1381,Short summary
The collapses of the Larsen A and B ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) occurred while the ice shelves were covered with large melt lakes, and ocean waves damaged the ice shelf fronts, triggering collapse. Observations show föhn winds were present on both ice shelves and increased surface melt and drove sea ice away from the ice front. Collapsed ice shelves experienced enhanced surface melt driven by föhn winds, whereas extant ice shelves are affected less by föhn-wind-induced melt.
Jenny V. Turton, Philipp Hochreuther, Nathalie Reimann, and Manuel T. Blau
The Cryosphere, 15, 3877–3896,Short summary
We assess the climatic controls of melt lake development, melt duration, melt extent, and the spatial distribution of lakes of 79°N Glacier. There is a large interannual variability in the areal extent of the lakes and the maximum elevation of lake development, which is largely controlled by the summertime air temperatures and the snowpack thickness. Late-summer lake development can be prompted by spikes in surface mass balance. There is some evidence of inland expansion of lakes over time.
Diana Francis, Kyle S. Mattingly, Stef Lhermitte, Marouane Temimi, and Petra Heil
The Cryosphere, 15, 2147–2165,Short summary
The unexpected September 2019 calving event from the Amery Ice Shelf, the largest since 1963 and which occurred almost a decade earlier than expected, was triggered by atmospheric extremes. Explosive twin polar cyclones provided a deterministic role in this event by creating oceanward sea surface slope triggering the calving. The observed record-anomalous atmospheric conditions were promoted by blocking ridges and Antarctic-wide anomalous poleward transport of heat and moisture.
Rebecca Mott, Ivana Stiperski, and Lindsey Nicholson
The Cryosphere, 14, 4699–4718,Short summary
The Hintereisferner Experiment (HEFEX) investigated spatial and temporal dynamics of the near-surface boundary layer and associated heat exchange processes close to the glacier surface during the melting season. Turbulence data suggest that strong changes in the local thermodynamic characteristics occur when westerly flows disturbed prevailing katabatic flow, forming across-glacier flows and facilitating warm-air advection from the surrounding ice-free areas, which potentially promote ice melt.
Julián Gelman Constantin, Lucas Ruiz, Gustavo Villarosa, Valeria Outes, Facundo N. Bajano, Cenlin He, Hector Bajano, and Laura Dawidowski
The Cryosphere, 14, 4581–4601,Short summary
We present the results of two field campaigns and modeling activities on the impact of atmospheric particles on Alerce Glacier (Argentinean Andes). We found that volcanic ash remains at different snow layers several years after eruption, increasing light absorption on the glacier surface (with a minor contribution of soot). This leads to 36 % higher annual glacier melting. We find remarkably that volcano eruptions in 2011 and 2015 have a relevant effect on the glacier even in 2016 and 2017.
Noel Fitzpatrick, Valentina Radić, and Brian Menounos
The Cryosphere, 13, 1051–1071,Short summary
Measurements of surface roughness are rare on glaciers, despite being an important control for heat exchange with the atmosphere and surface melt. In this study, roughness values were determined through measurements at multiple locations and seasons and found to vary across glacier surfaces and to differ from commonly assumed values in melt models. Two new methods that remotely determine roughness from digital elevation models returned good performance and may facilitate improved melt modelling.
Zhiwen Dong, Shichang Kang, Dahe Qin, Yaping Shao, Sven Ulbrich, and Xiang Qin
The Cryosphere, 12, 3877–3890,Short summary
This study aimed to provide a first and unique record of physicochemical properties and mixing states of LAPs at the glacier and atmosphere interface over the northeastern Tibetan Plateau to determine the individual LAPs' structure aging and mixing state changes through the atmospheric deposition process from atmosphere to glacier–snowpack surface, thereby helping to characterize the LAPs' radiative forcing and climate effects in the cryosphere region.
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Glaciers worldwide are shrinking, yet glaciers in parts of High Mountain Asia are growing. Using models of the regional climate and glacier growth, we reproduce the observed patterns of glacier growth and shrinkage in High Mountain Asia of the last decades. Increases in snow, in part from water that comes from lowland agriculture, have probably been more important than changes in temperature to explain the growing glaciers. We now better understand changes in the crucial mountain water cycle.
Glaciers worldwide are shrinking, yet glaciers in parts of High Mountain Asia are growing. Using...