Changes in terrestrial total water storage in the High Asia region

Authors: Yaning Chen*, State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Haijun Deng, State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhi Li, State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Gonghuan Fang, State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Topics: Earth Science, Asia
Keywords: climate change, total water storage, glacier shrinkage, snow cover, High Asia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


High Asia region takes Tibet Plateau as the center, includes the Tibet Plateau, the Pamirs, the Kunlun Mountains and the Tienshan Mountains. etc, and is located in high mountain regions in the center of Asia. High Asia represents the third largest ice masses in the world outside the polar regions, broadly defined as “the Third Pole”. The warming rate in the Third Pole region is significantly higher than the global average, especially in the higher altitude, suggesting a greater vulnerability of the cryosphere environment to climate change. Approximately 97.52% of glaciers in the Tienshan Mountains showed a retreating trend, which was obvious in the North and East parts. However, the retreat rate in 2000-2010s was slower than the rate in 1960s-2000 in the western of the Tienshan Mountains. The snow cover area in Middle Tienshan Mountains decreased significantly, while that in West Tienshan Mountains increased slightly. The total water storage (TWS) is composed mostly by glaciers/snow/lake water/soil water and precipitation, etc. What has happened to TWS in the high Asia region? The TWS in the Tienshan Mountanins also experienced a significant decreasing trend, indicated the ‘water tower’ had lost about -2.23×109 m3/a in just 10 years. It is interesting in the Tibetan Plateau, TWS had an increasing trend from 2002 to 2012, but it converted to decrease since 2012, at a rate of -0.68 mm/month. Spatially, with the north latitude 33 degree line as the boundary, the TWS in the south area is reduced, but increased in the north area.

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