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Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 1345–1357 | Cite as

Climate change and glacier area variations in China during the past half century

  • Hong-zhen Tian
  • Tai-bao Yang
  • Hui Lv
  • Cheng-xiu Li
  • Ying-bin HeEmail author
Article

Abstract

Glacier variations in the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountain ranges in China affect the livelihood of over one billion people who depend on water from the Yellow, Yangtze, Brahmaputra, Ganges and Indus rivers originating in these areas. Based on the results of the present study and published literature, we found that the glaciers shrank 15.7% in area from 1963 to 2010 with an annual area change of -0.33%. The shrinkage generally decreased from peripheral mountain ranges to the interior of Tibet. The linear trends of annual air temperature and precipitation at 147 stations were 0.36°C (10a)-1 and 8.96 mm (10a)-1 respectively from 1961 to 2010. The shrinkage of glaciers was well correlated with the rising temperature and the spatial patterns of the shrinkage were influenced by other factors superimposed on the rising temperature such as glacier size, type, elevation, debris cover and precipitation.

Keywords

Glacier area Climate change Air temperature Precipitation China 

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong-zhen Tian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tai-bao Yang
    • 2
  • Hui Lv
    • 2
  • Cheng-xiu Li
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ying-bin He
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of ManagementTianjin Polytechnic UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Institute of Glaciology and Ecogeography, College of Earth and Environmental SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of GeographyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina

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