A global heat wave in summer accelerates the melting of mountain glaciers in China

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The world experienced an unprecedented heat wave in 2022, and this prolonged and intense heat wave event triggered widespread concern. Heat wave events have a major impact on the melting of global glaciers.

Urumqi Glacier no. Only 1 in China has more than 30 years of continuous glacier mass balance measurements, which can reflect large-scale glacier conditions.

A research team led by Professor Wang Feiteng from Northwest Ecosystem-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi Glacier no. 1 documented the response of glacier mass balance to extreme warming based on in situ mass balance measurements. .

study Published in Journal of Clasticology.

In 2022 Urumqi Glacier no. 1's net mass balance of -1,251 mm was slightly higher than the lowest net mass balance observed in 2010, the researchers found.

In addition, in 2022 Urumqi glacier no. 1's summer mass balance reached its lowest value since the observational record (1958-2022), which was -1,503 mm. Urumqi Glacier no. 1.

Urumqi Glacier no. The summer temperature in 2022 at the Toxico Meteorological Station near No. 1 was 6.4 °C, the highest temperature since the observational record, and the heat wave caused a strong material loss of Glacier No. 1 by melting. .

The researchers found that the heat wave resulted in severe glacier melting at higher elevations and a reduction in solid and liquid precipitation rates in high-temperature glacier regions.

When the temperature was higher than 2°C, the proportion of solid precipitation in the headwaters of the Urumqi River was less than 40%, and the average daily temperature in the summer of 2022 was higher than 2°C, indicating that liquid precipitation was the main precipitation. In glacial regions.

In addition, the glaciers absorbed more shortwave solar radiation due to the albedo beneath the glacier surface, accelerating glacier melting.

Landsat remote sensing image inversion results show that glacier surface albedo was relatively low during the strong ablation season (July–August) in 2022, with the proportion of surface albedo below 0.3 accounting for 79%–91% of the total glacier area.

More information:
Chunhai Xu et al, 2022 summer heat waves melt glacier no. 1, causing considerable mass loss in China, Journal of Clasticology (2024) DOI: 10.1017/jog.2024.4

Press Information:
Journal of Clasticology

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