New Study Finds ‘Remarkable’ Growth Of Tibetan Glaciers

  • Date: 04/03/14
  • The Hockey Schtick

A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth finds the high Asian mountain inner Tibet Plateau glaciers are gaining remarkable quantities of ice mass. According to the authors, there is a “remarkable positive signal (+30 Gigatons/yr) in the inner Tibet Plateau, which is challenging to explain” and almost completely offsets loss of 35Gt/yr elsewhere in the region.

The authors explain a 5-year cycle found in other Asian high mountain glacier mass as due to the natural “influence of Arctic Oscillation and El Niño-Southern Oscillation.”

Evaluation of Glacier Changes in High Mountain Asia Based on 10-year GRACE-RL05 Models
Shuang Yi*, Wenke Sun

In this paper, 10 years of time-variable gravity data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Release 05 have been used to evaluate the glacier melting rate in High Mountain Asia (HMA) using a new computing scheme, i.e., the Space Domain Inverse (SADI) method. We find that in HMA area there are three different kinds of signal sources that should be treated together. The two generally accepted sources, glacier melting and India underground water depletion, are estimated to change at the rate of -35.0 ± 5.8 Gt/yr (0.09 mm/yr sea level rising) and -30.6 ± 5.0 Gt/yr, respectively. The third source is the remarkable positive signal (+30 Gt/yr) in the inner Tibet Plateau, which is challenging to explain. Further, we have found that there is a five-year undulation in Pamir and Karakoram, which can explain the controversies of the previous studies on the glacier melting rate here. This five-year signal can be explained by the influence of Arctic Oscillation and El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

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