The energy and mass balance of Peruvian glaciers

Fyffe, Catriona, Potter, Emily, Fugger, Stefan, Orr, Andrew, Fatichi, Simone, Loarte, Edwin, Medina, Katy, Hellstrom, Robert A., Bernat, Maud, Aubry-Wake, Caroline, WolGurgiser, Wolfgang, Baker Perry, L., Suarez, Wilsonrez, Quincey, Duncan J. and Pellicciotti, Francesca (2021) The energy and mass balance of Peruvian glaciers. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 126 (23). e2021JD034911. ISSN 2169-8996

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Peruvian glaciers are important contributors to dry season runoff for agriculture and hydropower, but they are at risk of disappearing due to climate change. We applied a physically-based, energy balance melt model at five on-glacier sites within the Peruvian Cordilleras Blanca and Vilcanota. Net shortwave radiation dominates the energy balance, and despite this flux being higher in the dry season, melt rates are lower due to losses from net longwave radiation and the latent heat flux. The sensible heat flux is a relatively small contributor to melt energy. At three of the sites the wet season snowpack was discontinuous, forming and melting within a daily to weekly timescale, and resulting in highly variable melt rates closely related to precipitation dynamics. Cold air temperatures due to a strong La Niña year at Shallap Glacier (Cordillera Blanca) resulted in a continuous wet season snowpack, significantly reducing wet season ablation. Sublimation was most important at the highest site in the accumulation zone of the Quelccaya Ice Cap (Cordillera Vilcanota), accounting for 81 of ablation, compared to 2-4 for the other sites. Air temperature and precipitation inputs were perturbed to investigate the climate sensitivity of the five glaciers. At the lower sites warmer air temperatures resulted in a switch from snowfall to rain, so that ablation was increased via the decrease in albedo and increase in net shortwave radiation. At the top of Quelccaya Ice Cap warming caused melting to replace sublimation so that ablation increased non-linearly with air temperature.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was conducted under the Peru GROWS and PEGASUS projects, which were both funded by NERC (grants NE/S013296/1 and NE/S013318/1, respectively) and CONCYTEC through the Newton-Paulet Fund. The Peruvian part of the Peru GROWS project was conducted within the framework of the call E031-2018-01-NERC "Glacier Research Circles", through its executing unit FONDECYT (Contract N ° 08-2019-FONDECYT). We thank Alejo Cochachin and Autoridad Nacional del Agua (ANA), Perú for providing stake data for the Shallap and Artesonraju Glaciers. We also thank Nilton Montoya and Sandro Arias (SENAMHI) for their management of the Quisoquipina Glacier and Quelccaya Ice Cap meteorological stations, and to SENAMHI for allowing the use of the Quisoquipina data. In addition, we thank Víctor Raúl Rojas Pozo and Gladis Celmi Henostroza for providing the shapefiles used to analyse the WRF data. We are grateful to Evan Miles for supporting the derivation of the snowline elevations for both catchments. Esteban Sagredo kindly provided the data on South American glaciers used within Figure 9 and we thank Álvaro Ayala for providing meteorological data for the Guanaco, Yeso and Juncal Norte Glaciers given in Table S12 and Figure 9.
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2021 12:37
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2021 11:15

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