Low Latitude Glaciers: Unique Global Climate Indicators and Essential Contributors to Regional Fresh Water Supply. A Conceptual Approach
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.
KeywordsGlacier-climate relationships Low latitudes Modeling Runoff
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