Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-329
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-329
 
19 Sep 2022
19 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

A tree-ring perspective on the past and future mass balance of a glacier in Tien Shan (Central Asia): an example from the Tuyuksu glacier, Kyrgyzstan

Youping Chen1, Magdalena Opała-Owczarek2, Feng Chen1,3, Piotr Owczarek4, Heli Zhang3,1, Shijie Wang1, Mao Hu1, Rysbek Satylkanov5, Bakytbek Ermenbaev5, Bakhtiyorov Zulfiyor1,6, Huaming Shang3, and Ruibo Zhang3 Youping Chen et al.
  • 1Yunnan Key Laboratory of International Rivers and Transboundary Eco-Security, Institute of International Rivers and Eco-Security, Yunnan University, Kunming, 650500, China
  • 2Institute of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Silesia in Katowice, Ul. Bedzinska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
  • 3Key Laboratory of Tree-ring Physical and Chemical Research of the Chinese Meteorological Administration/Xinjiang Laboratory of Tree-ring Ecology, Institute of Desert Meteorology, Chinese Meteorological Administration, Urumqi, 830002, China
  • 4Institute of Geography and Regional Development, University of Wroclaw, Pl. Uniwersytecki 1, 50-137 Wrocław, Poland
  • 5Tien-Shan Mountain Scientific Center, Institute of Water Problems and Hydro Power, National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • 6Khujand Science Center Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Khujand, Tajikistan

Abstract. The Tien Shan glaciers, known as "Central Asia's Water Tower," have a direct influence on water resource management in downstream parched areas. The limited time periods of currently available observational climate datasets hamper an accurate examination of glacial changes in Central Asia in terms of long-term climate change implications. In this work, we analysed this change by combining tree-ring-based reconstructions of the Tuyuksu Glacier's high-altitude mass balance during the last 382 years with models of the future mass balance of this glacier until the year 2100 CE. The results show that mountain precipitation is an important force driving the cycles of the cryosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere in arid Central Asia. This driving force has broad coherence in spatiotemporal variation, with periodic cycles and decadal shifts caused by the North Atlantic Oscillation and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. The multi-model mean in CMIP6 suggests a downward trend in glacier mass balance until 2100, but this trend will be moderated by increased precipitation. The findings of the study could help to explain how the glacial mass balance has evolved in the Tien Shan Mountains of Central Asia throughout time and its relationship to other geosphere layers.

Youping Chen et al.

Status: open (until 14 Nov 2022)

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Youping Chen et al.

Youping Chen et al.

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Short summary
Mountain precipitation is an important force driving the cycles of the cryosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere in arid Central Asia. This driving force has broad coherence in spatiotemporal variation, with periodic cycles and decadal shifts caused by the North Atlantic Oscillation and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. In the future, the increase of precipitation will delay the impact of the sharp rise in temperature on the melting of glacier mass balance.