Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 13–28 | Cite as

Response of Xiao Dongkemadi Glacier in the central Tibetan Plateau to the current climate change and future scenarios by 2050

  • Pei-hong ShiEmail author
  • Ke-qin DuanEmail author
  • Huan-cai Liu
  • Jun-hua Yang
  • Xiao Zhang
  • Jian-yong Sun


The Tibetan Plateau (TP) holds ten thousands of alpine glaciers in mid-latitude. They have shrunk with an accelerating retreat rate recently. We applied a distributed temperature-index massbalance model developed by Regine Hock, and coupled with a volume-area scaling method to Xiao Dongkemadi Glacier (XDG) in the central TP, to assess its response to climate change. The result shows the simulated mass balance is in a good agreement with observations (R 2=0.75, p<0.001) during the period of 1989-2012. The simulated mean annual mass balance (-213 mm w.e.) is close to the observation (-233 mm w.e.), indicating the model can be used to estimate the glacier variation in the future. Then the model was forced by the output of RegCM4 under the climate scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 from 2013 to 2050. The simulated terminus elevation of the glacier will rise from 5454 m a.s.l. in 2013 to 5533 m a.s.l. (RCP4.5) and 5543 m a.s.l. (RCP8.5) in 2050. XDG will lose its volume with an increasing rate of 600-700 m3 a-1 during the period of 1989-2050, indicating the melting water will enhance the river runoff. But for the long term, the contribution to the river runoff will decrease for the shrinkage of glacier scale.


Xiao Dongkemadi Glacier Numerical simulation Climate change Mass balance Temperature-index model Volume-Area scaling method 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Tourism and EnvironmentalShanxi Normal UniversityXianChina

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