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Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 129, Issue 1–2, pp 213–227 | Cite as

Recent trends in annual snowline variations in the northern wet outer tropics: case studies from southern Cordillera Blanca, Peru

  • Bijeesh Kozhikkodan VeettilEmail author
  • Shanshan Wang
  • Ulisses Franz Bremer
  • Sergio Florêncio de Souza
  • Jefferson Cardia Simões
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper describes the changes in the annual maximum snowlines of a selected set of mountain glaciers at the southern end of the Cordillera Blanca between 1984 and 2015 using satellite images. Furthermore, we analysed the existing glacier records in the Cordillera Blanca since the last glacial maximum to understand the evolution of glaciers in this region over a few centuries. There was a rise in the snowline altitude of glaciers in this region since the late 1990s with a few small glacier advances. Historical to the present El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) records were also analysed to understand whether there was a teleconnection between the glacier fluctuations in the region and the phase changes of ENSO and PDO. We also assessed the variations in three important climatic parameters that influence the glacier retreat—temperature, precipitation, and relative humidity—over a few decades. We calculated the anomalies as well as the seasonal changes in these variables since the mid-twentieth century. There was an increase in temperature during this period, and the decrease in precipitation was not so prominent compared with the temperature rise. There was an exceptionally higher increase in relative humidity since the early 2000s, which is relatively higher than that expected due to the observed rate of warming, and this increase in humidity is believed to be the reason behind the unprecedented rise in the snowline altitudes since the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Keywords

Pacific Decadal Oscillation Glacier Retreat Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index Glacier Change Equilibrium Line Altitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

First author acknowledges Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS) for his research funding. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the US Geological Survey (USGS) for the Landsat images, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) for Resourcesat images, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the ENSO indices, and the Japan Meteorological Agency for the PDO indices. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, and NOAA are highly acknowledged for the meteorological datasets. We are indebted to three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bijeesh Kozhikkodan Veettil
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Shanshan Wang
    • 2
  • Ulisses Franz Bremer
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sergio Florêncio de Souza
    • 1
  • Jefferson Cardia Simões
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro Estadual de Pesquisas em Sensoriamento Remoto e Meteorologia (CEPSRM)Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Reducing Disaster of Gansu Province and Key Open Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction of CMAInstitute of Arid Meteorology CMALanzhouChina
  3. 3.Centro Polar e ClimáticoFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil

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