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Responsivity of glacier to climate change in China

CHEN Hongju;YANG Jianping;TAN Chunping;State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences,Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute,Chinese Academy of Sciences;University of Chinese Academy of Sciences;  
Clarifying the responsivity of glacier to climate change and revealing the spatial variation of the responsivity are the basis for carrying out a quantitative research of glacier change and the quantization study of glacier change influence on the society economy. Using the summer temperature and precipitation records from 1958 through 2010 from 150 meteorological stations in the western regions of China and the first and second "Glacier Inventory of China",climate change and glacier change were identified quantitatively with the change rates of glacierized area. The methods of referencing and comparison were used innovatively. The response of glacier to climate change was studied in West China by geographic information system( GIS) technology.According to equal interval classification method,the responsivity was classified into five classes: extremely low,low,medium,high and extremely high responsivities. The results showed that the degree and style of glacier response to climate change was various,which had positive response to summer temperature change and negative response to precipitation change. Moreover,glacier accumulation increase due to precipitation increase in the glacierized area is not sufficient to offset the ablation increase due to air temperature increase. Warming is the decisive factor for glacier retreat in West China. On the whole,glacier change had low response to summer temperature change,but had extremely high sensitivity on temperature change with high or extremely high response in some areas. Different types of glacier change have different degree of response to summer temperature change.The maritime glaciers had medium or high responsivity. However,extreme-continental glacier change had extremely low or low responsivity; continental glaciers had two polarized responsivity.
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