Medicine and Health

  • Glaciers in High Mountain Asia generate meltwater that supports the water needs of 250
    million people, but current knowledge of annual accumulation and ablation is limited to
    sparse field measurements biased in location and glacier size. Here, we present altitudinallyresolved
    specific mass balances (surface, internal, and basal combined) for 5527 glaciers in
    High Mountain Asia for 2000–2016, derived by correcting observed glacier thinning patterns
    for mass redistribution due to ice flow. We find that 41% of glaciers accumulated mass over
    less than 20% of their area, and only 60% ± 10% of regional annual ablation was compensated
    by accumulation. Even without 21st century warming, 21% ± 1% of ice volume will
    be lost by 2100 due to current climatic-geometric imbalance, representing a reduction in
    glacier ablation into rivers of 28% ± 1%. The ablation of glaciers in the Himalayas and Tien
    Shan was mostly unsustainable and ice volume in these regions will reduce by at least 30%
    by 2100. The most important and vulnerable glacier-fed river basins (Amu Darya, Indus, Syr
    Darya, Tarim Interior) were supplied with >50% sustainable glacier ablation but will see longterm
    reductions in ice mass and glacier meltwater supply regardless of the Karakoram

  • Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland



    Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021

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