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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Spatially heterogeneous wastage of Himalayan glaciers, PNAS, Koji Fujita & Takayuki Nuimura

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print August 1, 2011; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1106242108

Spatially heterogeneous wastage of Himalayan glaciers

  1. Koji Fujita1 and 
  2. Takayuki Nuimura
  1. Edited by James E. Hansen, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, and approved June 29, 2011 (received for review April 19, 2011).


We describe volumetric changes in three benchmark glaciers in the Nepal Himalayas on which observations have been made since the 1970s. Compared with the global mean of glacier mass balance, the Himalayan glaciers showed rapid wastage in the 1970s–1990s, but similar wastage in the last decade. In the last decade, a glacier in an arid climate showed negative but suppressed mass balance compared with the period 1970s–1990s, whereas two glaciers in a humid climate showed accelerated wastage. A mass balance model with downscaled gridded datasets depicts the fate of the observed glaciers. We also show a spatially heterogeneous distribution of glacier wastage in the Asian highlands, even under the present-day climate warming.

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