Advertisement

Low Latitude Glaciers: Unique Global Climate Indicators and Essential Contributors to Regional Fresh Water Supply. A Conceptual Approach

  • Georg Kaser
  • Christian Georges
  • Irmgard Juen
  • Thomas Mölg
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 23)

Abstract

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap energy and, if their concentrations increase, e.g. from anthropogenic sources, the aggregate energy of the earth system increases as well. As a consequence, intensities of fluid dynamic processes (atmosphere and oceans), phase changing processes, biochemical processes, and the thermal status of the system will change in a complex and highly interactive manner. Manifold changes in local, regional and global climate are therefore to be expected, but are anything but easy to detect because: Firstly, climate itself is characterised by multi-scale dynamic variability of interacting processes and states. Thus, trends, fluctuations or changes can only be analysed for selected parameters and must be extracted from noise. Secondly, instrumental records, which concentrate on isolated parameters, are limited in time, and proxy-indicators, although covering longer time scales, show complex dependencies on climate, which can be difficult to interpret unequivocally. This paper emphasizes the role of low-latitude glaciers as i) climate proxies and ii) climate-dependent freshwater sources.

Keywords

Glacier-climate relationships Low latitudes Modeling Runoff 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Braithwaite, R., and Zhang, Y. (2000). Sensitivity of mass balance of five Swiss glaciers to temperature changes assessed by tuning a degree-day model. Journal of Glaciology 46, 7–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Francou, B., Vuille, M., Wagnon, P., Mendoza, J., and Sicart, J.-E. (2003). Tropical climate change recorded by a glacier in the central Andes during the last decades of the 20th century: Chacaltaya, Bolivia, 16° S. Journal of Geophysical Research — Atmospheres 108, 4154–4165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hastenrath, S. (1984). “The glaciers of Equatorial East Africa.” Reidel, Dordrecht.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hastenrath, S. (2001). Variations of East African climate during the past two centuries. Climatic Change 50, 209–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Juen, I., Georges, C., and Kaser, G. (2002). Modelling Younger Dryas glacier extents in the tropical Cordillera Blanca. European Geophysical Society XXVII General Assembly. Nice, France, 21–26 April 2002 (http://www.copernicus.org/EGS/egsga/nice02/programme/overview.htm).Google Scholar
  6. Kaser, G. (2001). Glacier-climate interaction at low-latitudes. Journal of Glaciology 47, 195–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kaser, G. (2002). Glacier mass balance and climate in the South American Andes: An example from the tropics and a long term and large scale concept for the Southern Patagonian Icefield. In “The Patagonian icefields: A unique natural laboratory for environmental and climate change studies.” (G. Casassa, F. Seplveda, and R. Sinclair, Eds.), pp. 89–99. Series of the Centro de Estudios Científicos. Kluwer, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kaser, G., and Georges, Ch. (1997). Changes in the equilibrium line altitude in the tropical Cordillera Blanca (Perú) between 1930 and 150 and their spatial variations. Annals of Glaciology 24, 344–349.Google Scholar
  9. Kaser, G., and Osmaston, H. (2002). “Tropical Glaciers.” International Hydrological Series. UNESCO-IHP/Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kaser, G., Fountain, A., and Jansson, P. (2003a). “A manual for monitoring the mass balance of mountain glaciers with particular attention to low latitude characteristics.” A contribution from the International Commission on Snow and Ice (ICSI) to the UNESCO HKH-FRIEND program. UNESCO technical paper.Google Scholar
  11. Kaser, G., Juen, I., Georges, Ch., Gómez, J., and Tamayo, W. (2003b). Glaciers and Hydrology in the Tropical Cordillera Blanca, Perú. Journal of Hydrology 282, 130–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kaser, G., Hardy, D. R., Mölg, T., Hyera, T., and Bradley, R. S. (in press). Modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro as evidence of climate change: Observations and facts. International Journal of Climatology Google Scholar
  13. Kraus, H. (1972). Energy exchange at air-ice interface. IAHS Publication 107, 128–164.Google Scholar
  14. Kruss, P. (1983). Climate change in East Africa: A numerical simulation from the 100 years of terminus record at Lewis glacier, Mount Kenya. Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie 19, 43–60.Google Scholar
  15. Kruss, P. D. (1984). Terminus response of Lewis Glacier, Mount Kenya, to sinusoidal net balance forcing. Journal of Glaciology 30, 212–217.Google Scholar
  16. Kruss, P. D., and Hastenrath, S. (1987). The role of radiation geometry in the climate response of Mount Kenya’s glaciers, part 1: Horizontal reference surfaces. International Journal of Climatology 7, 493–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kuhn, M. (1980). Climate and glaciers. Sea level, ice and climate change. In “Proceedings of the Camberra Symposium, December 1979.” IAHS Publications 131, 3–20.Google Scholar
  18. Kull, Ch., and Grosjean, M. (2000). Late Pleistocene climate conditions in the north Chilean Andes drawn from a climate-glacier model. Journal of Glaciology 46, 622–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mölg, T., Georges, C., and Kaser, G. (2003a). The contribution of increased incoming shortwave radiation to the retreat of the Rwenzori Glaciers, East Africa, during the 20th century. International Journal of Climatology 23, 291–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mölg, T., Hardy, D. R., and Kaser, G. (2003b). Solar radiation-maintained glacier recession on Kilimanjaro drawn from combined ice-radiation geometry. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, 4731 (doi: 10.1029/2003JD003546) (in press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nicholson, S. E., Yin, X., and Ba, M. B. (2000). On the feasibility of using a lake water balance model to infer rainfall: An example from Lake Victoria. Hydro logical Science-Journal-des Sciences Hydrologiques 45, 75–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nicholson, S. E., and Yin, X. (2001). Rainfall conditions in Equatorial East Africa during the nineteenth century as inferred from the record of Lake Victoria. Climatic Change 48, 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Oerlemans, J. (2001). “Glaciers and climate change.” Balkema, Lisse.Google Scholar
  24. Ohmura, A. (2001). Physical basis for the temperature/melt-index method. Journal of Applied Meteorology 40, 753–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ribstein, R., Tiriau, R., Francou, B., and Saravia, R. (1995). Tropical climate and glacier hydrology: A case study in Bolivia. Journal of Hydrology 165, 221–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rodbell, D. T., and Seltzer, G. (2000). Rapid ice margin fluctuations during the Younger Dryas in the tropical Andes. Quaternary Research 54, 328–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Verschuren, D., Laird, K. R., and Cumming, B. F. (2000). Rainfall and drought in equatorial east Africa during the past 1,100 years. Nature 403, 410–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wagnon, P., Ribstein, P., Kaser, G., and Berton, P. (1999a). Climate variability, energy balance and runoff on a tropical Glacier. Global and Planetary Change 22, 49–58.Google Scholar
  29. Wagnon, P., Ribstein, P., Francou, B. and Pouyaud, B. (1999b). Annual cycle of energy balance of Zongo Glacier, Cordillera real, Bolivia. Journal of Geophysical Research 104, 3907–3924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wagnon, P., Ribstein, P., Francou, B., and Sicart, J. (2001). Anomalous heat and mass budget of Glaciar Zongo, Bolivia, during the 1997/98 El Niño year. Journal of Glaciology 47, 21–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georg Kaser
    • 1
  • Christian Georges
    • 1
  • Irmgard Juen
    • 1
  • Thomas Mölg
    • 1
  1. 1.Tropical Glaciology Group, Department of GeographyInnsbruck UniversityInnsbruckAustria

Personalised recommendations