Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 65–69

Glacier variations and climate warming and drying in the central Himalayas

  • Jiawen Ren
  • Dahe Qin
  • Shichang Kang
  • Shugui Hou
  • Jianchen Pu
  • Zhefan Jing
Articles

Abstract

Repeat measurements of glacier terminus positions show that glaciers in the central Himalayas have been in a continuous retreat situation in the past decades. The average retreat rate is 5.5–8.7 m/a in Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) since the 1960s and 6.4 m/a in Mt. Xixiabangma since the 1980s. In recent years, the retreat rate is increasing. Ice core studies revealed that the accumulation rate of glaciers has a fluctuating decrease trend in the last century with a rapid decrease in the 1960s and a relatively steady low value afterwards. Meteorological station record indicates that the annual mean temperature has a slow increase trend but summer temperature had a larger increase in the past 30 a. All these suggest that the glacier retreat results from precipitation decrease in combination with temperature increase, and hence glacier shrinkage in this region will speed up if the climatic warming and drying continues.

Keywords

Himalayas glacier retreat climate warming ice core record 

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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiawen Ren
    • 1
  • Dahe Qin
    • 1
  • Shichang Kang
    • 1
  • Shugui Hou
    • 1
  • Jianchen Pu
    • 1
  • Zhefan Jing
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ice Core and Cold Regions Environment, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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