PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (12): 2073-2085.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.12.008

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Glacier change and response to climate in the northern slope of the middle Nyainqêntanglha Mountains during 1990-2020

ZHANG Wei1(), LI Yapeng1, CHAI Le2, TANG Qianyu1, GE Runze1, MA Haonan1   

  1. 1. School of Geography, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
    2. School of Earth Sciences, East China University of Technology, Nanchang 330127, China
  • Received:2021-01-18 Revised:2021-06-30 Online:2021-12-28 Published:2021-12-24
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42071013);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41671005)


Located on the southeast edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Nyainqêntanglha Mountains are an important area of mountain paleoglaciers. Affected by the monsoon, the glacier change characteristics in each region are obviously different. Based on Landsat TM/ETM+/OLI data, ASRTMGDEM and meteorological data, using the method of threshold ratio, visual interpretation, VOLTA model and combined with field investigations, this study analyzed the advance and retreat conditions, area changes, ice reserves changes, and glacier changes deal with climate change of modern glaciers in the middle Nyainqêntanglha Mountains from 1990 to 2020. The results show that: 1) During the period 1990-2020, the elevation of the five studied glaciers (G094383E30581N, G094574E30563, G094637E30633N, G094770E30626N and G094928E30607N) gradually increased. The glacier area and ice reserves decreased by 30.38 km2 and 64 km3 respectively. 2) The ice reserve of each glacier decreased by 0.14-1.92 km3, with an overall change rate of 0.40%·a-1. By 2020, the reserves of the above glaciers will account for 0.70, 0.99, 0.98, 0.91 and 0.82 in 1990 respectively, which shows that the larger the scale of the glacier, the smaller the change is in a short time. 3) Through the analysis of meteorological data, during 1990-2020, the average temperature change rate of the study area was 0.51 ℃, which shows that the overall glacier change was dominated by the temperature rise. It is predicted that the glacier change in the future will be controlled by the temperature and show a trend of accelerated retreat. 4) The regional comparative study showed that the glacier area change in the Nyainqêntanglha Mountains is generally in a state of retreat, but the characteristics of glacier change in different regions are obviously different. The research on glacier ice reserves in the region is relatively weak, and the simulation results of different research methods for the same glacier ice reserves have large errors, with the relative error range of 34.45%-115.49%.

Key words: remote sensing image interpretation, glacier change, VOLTA model, response to climate, middle Nyainqêntanglha Mountains;