Multi-decadal monsoon characteristics and glacier response in High Mountain Asia

Shaw, T E, Miles, E S, Chen, D, Jouberton, A, Kneib, M, Fugger, S, Ou, T, Lai, H-W, Fujita, K, Yang, W, Fatichi, S and Pellicciotti, Francesca (2022) Multi-decadal monsoon characteristics and glacier response in High Mountain Asia. Environmental Research Letters, 17 (10). p. 104001. ISSN 1748-9326

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Glacier health across High Mountain Asia (HMA) is highly heterogeneous and strongly governed by regional climate, which is variably influenced by monsoon dynamics and the westerlies. We explore four decades of glacier energy and mass balance at three climatically distinct sites across HMA by utilising a detailed land surface model driven by bias-corrected Weather Research and Forecasting meteorological forcing. All three glaciers have experienced long-term mass losses (ranging from −0.04 ± 0.09 to −0.59 ± 0.20 m w.e. a−1) consistent with widespread warming across the region. However, complex and contrasting responses of glacier energy and mass balance to the patterns of the Indian Summer Monsoon were evident, largely driven by the role snowfall timing, amount and phase. A later monsoon onset generates less total snowfall to the glacier in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau during May–June, augmenting net shortwave radiation and affecting annual mass balance (−0.5 m w.e. on average compared to early onset years). Conversely, timing of the monsoon’s arrival has limited impact for the Nepalese Himalaya which is more strongly governed by the temperature and snowfall amount during the core monsoon season. In the arid central Tibetan Plateau, a later monsoon arrival results in a 40 mm (58%) increase of May–June snowfall on average compared to early onset years, likely driven by the greater interaction of westerly storm events. Meanwhile, a late monsoon cessation at this site sees an average 200 mm (192%) increase in late summer precipitation due to monsoonal storms. A trend towards weaker intensity monsoon conditions in recent decades, combined with long-term warming patterns, has produced predominantly negative glacier mass balances for all sites (up to 1 m w.e. more mass loss in the Nepalese Himalaya compared to strong monsoon intensity years) but sub-regional variability in monsoon timing can additionally complicate this response.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was supported by the SNF Sino-Swiss Science and Technology Cooperation (SSSTC) Project (IZLCZ0_189890) 'Understanding snow, glacier and rivers response to climate in High Mountain Asia (ASCENT)' and by JSPS and SNSF under the Joint Research Projects (JRPs: 20191503) scheme. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (41961134035) financially supported the data collection on Mugagangqiong and Parlung No. 4 glaciers. D Chen is supported by the Swedish Research Council (VR: 2019-03954). The computations of the 9 km WRF were enabled by resources provided by the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) at the National Supercomputer Centre in Sweden (NSC) partially funded by the Swedish Research Council through Grant Agreement No. 2018-05973. We acknowledge funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program Grant Agreement No. 772751, RAVEN ('Rapid mass lossess of debris covered glaciers in High Mountain Asia').
Uncontrolled Keywords: glacier, long-term mass balance, monsoon, snowfall
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2022 07:58
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2022 07:58

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