The Northeast Asia mountain glaciers in the near future by AOGCM scenarios 1Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119017, Russia
06 Oct 2010
2National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Received: 31 March 2010 – Published in The Cryosphere Discuss.: 18 May 2010 Abstract. We studied contrasting glacier systems in continental (Orulgan, Suntar-Khayata and Chersky) mountain
ranges, located in the region of the lowest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere at the boundary of
Atlantic and Pacific influences – and maritime ones (Kamchatka Peninsula) – under Pacific influence.
Our purpose is to present a simple projection method to assess the main parameters of these glacier
regions under climate change. To achieve this, constructed vertical profiles of mass balance
(accumulation and ablation) based both on meteorological data for the 1950–1990s (baseline period) and
ECHAM4 for 2049–2060 (projected period) are used, the latter – as a climatic scenario.
The observations and scenarios were used to define the recent and future equilibrium line altitude and
glacier terminus altitude level for each glacier system as well as areas and balance components. The
altitudinal distributions of ice areas were determined for present and future, and they were used for
prediction of glacier extent versus altitude in the system taking into account the correlation
between the ELA and glacier-terminus level change. We tested two hypotheses of ice distribution versus
altitude in mountain (valley) glaciers – "linear" and "non-linear". The results are estimates of the possible
changes of the areas and morphological structure of northeastern Asia glacier systems and their mass
balance characteristics for 2049–2060. Glaciers in the southern parts of northeastern Siberia and those
covering small ranges in Kamchatka will likely disappear under the ECHAM4 scenario; the best
preservation of glaciers will be on the highest volcanic peaks of Kamchatka. Finally, we compare
characteristics of the stability of continental and maritime glacier systems under global warming.
Revised: 13 September 2010 – Accepted: 18 September 2010 – Published: 06 October 2010
Citation: Ananicheva, M. D., Krenke, A. N., and Barry, R. G.: The Northeast Asia mountain glaciers in the near future by AOGCM scenarios, The Cryosphere, 4, 435-445, doi:10.5194/tc-4-435-2010, 2010.