10 Oct 2022
10 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Assessment of rock glaciers, water storage, and permafrost distribution in Guokalariju, Tibetan Plateau

Mengzhen Li, Yanmin Yang, Zhaoyu Peng, and Gengnian Liu Mengzhen Li et al.
  • College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China

Abstract. Rock glaciers are important hydrological reserves in arid and semi-arid zones, their activity status can indicate the existence of permafrost. We provided a more detailed rock glaciers inventory of Guokalariju (GKLRJ) to explore the development mechanism of rock glaciers in the transition belt between the semi-arid zone and humid zone, as well as estimate the water volume equivalent (WVEQ) and permafrost distribution probability. Results show that about 5053 rock glaciers were identified, covering a total area of 428.71 km2 at 4600–5300 m a.s.l. The main climate types in semi-arid zones and the extensive existence of ancient glaciers remain provided a basis for developing a large number of talus-derived rock glaciers. Rock glaciers are most developed in the alpine and moderate dry climate, and their altitude decreases with the increase of precipitation, and they depend on the original terrain strongly and are most concentrated on the west-facing aspect. The ratio of WVEQ in the intact rock glaciers of GKLRJ to glaciers is about 1:1.63, and the permafrost in the central and western regions has shown an apparent degradation trend in recent decades. These findings enrich the research on the evolution rules of rock glaciers in the semi-arid to humid alpine mountains in the Tibetan Plateau and further guide the development and management of local water resources and disaster prevention and reduction.

Mengzhen Li et al.

Status: open (until 29 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-178', Wilfried Haeberli, 04 Nov 2022 reply
    • CC2: 'Reply on CC1', Wilfried Haeberli, 04 Nov 2022 reply
  • CC3: 'Review on tc-2022-178', Wilfried Haeberli, 04 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-178', Wilfried Haeberli, 08 Nov 2022 reply

Mengzhen Li et al.

Mengzhen Li et al.


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Short summary
We mapped a detailed rock glaciers inventory to further explore the climate significance, water storage and permafrost probability distribution in GKLRJ. Results show that (i) precipitation and regional terrain prominently dominated the landscape development and present complex regular from west to east; (ii) the water storage in rock glaciers is about 61% of the ice glacier across GKLRJ; (iii)the permafrost in the central and western regions show an apparent degradation trend in recent decades.