Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Effects of atmospheric circulation on summertime precipitation variability and glacier mass balance over the Tuyuksu Glacier in Tianshan Mountains, Kazakhstan


The amount and the form of precipitation have significant effects on glacier mass balances in high altitude mountain areas by controlling the accumulation, the ablation and the energy balance of a glacier through impact on the surface albedo. The liquid precipitation has negative effects on glacier accumulation and may increase the ablation of surface ice through the heat input for melting. The timing and the forms of precipitation over glacierized regions depend on the weather processes both locally and regionally. Early studies showed that regional to large-scale atmospheric circulation processes play a key role in affecting the precipitation events over glaciers. This paper analyzed the relationship between the inter-annual variability of the summertime precipitation over the Tuyuksu Glacier and the atmospheric circulation types, which related to various atmospheric circulation types in the Northern Hemisphere. Results indicated that the decrease in the duration of zonal processes and the increase in the meridional northern processes were observed in the last decade. The total summer precipitation associated with these processes also increased along with an increase of summertime solid precipitation. Although the decadal fluctuation of glaciological parameters were found in dependent of the above large-scale atmospheric circulation processes, global warming was a dominant factor leading to the mass loss in the recent decades under the background of the increase in precipitation over the Tuyuksu Glacier.

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