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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-128
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-128
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  25 Jun 2020

25 Jun 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal TC and is expected to appear here in due course.

Central Himalayan tree-ring isotopes reveal increasing regional heterogeneity and enhancement in ice-mass loss since the 1960s

Nilendu Singh1, Mayank Shekhar2, Jayendra Singh3, Anil Kumar Gupta4, Achim Bräuning5, Christoph Mayr5, and Mohit Singhal1 Nilendu Singh et al.
  • 1Centre for Glaciology, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun 248001, India
  • 2Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow 226007, India
  • 3Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun 248001, India
  • 4Center for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Sciences, IIT Kharagpur 721302, India
  • 5Institute of Geography, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen 91058, Germany

Abstract. Tree-ring δ18O values are a sensitive proxy of regional physical climate, while their δ13C values are a strong predictor of local ecohydrology. Utilizing available ice-core and tree-ring δ18O records from central Himalaya (CH), we show an increase in east-west heterogeneity since the 1960s. Further, δ13C records from transitional western glacier valleys provide a robust basis of reconstruction of about three centuries of glacier mass balance (GMB) dynamics. Annually resolved GMB is based on regionally-dominant and diverse plant-functional species since the 1743 CE. Results indicate three major phases: positive GMB up to the mid-nineteenth century, the middle phase of slightly negative but stable GMB, and an exponential ice-mass loss since the 1960s. Reasons of accelerated mass loss are largely attributed to anthropogenic climate change, including concurrent alterations in atmospheric circulations (weakening of the westerlies and Arabian Branch of the Indian summer monsoon). CH-scale, multi-decadal isotopic and climate coherency analyses specify an eastward declining influence of westerlies in this monsoon-dominated region. Besides, our study provides a long-term context for recent GMB variability, which is essential for reliable projection and attribution.

Nilendu Singh et al.

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Nilendu Singh et al.

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Latest update: 03 Dec 2020
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Short summary
Tree-ring isotope records from the central Himalaya provided a basis for lacking regional multi-century glacier mass balance (MB) reconstruction. Isotopic and climate coherency analyses specify an eastward declining influence of the westerlies, an increase in east-west climate heterogeneity, and an increase in ice-mass loss since the 1960s. Reasons are attributed to anthropogenic climate change, including concurrent alterations in atmospheric circulation patterns.
Tree-ring isotope records from the central Himalaya provided a basis for lacking regional ...
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