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Progress on Observation of Cryospheric Components and Climate-Related Studies in China


doi: 10.1007/s00376-008-0164-8

  • Systematic studies on the cryosphere in China started in the late 1950s. Significant achievements have been made by continuous investigation of glacier inventories, frozen ground observations, paleo-climate analyses of ice cores, process studies and the modeling of cryopsheric/atmospheric interactions. The general facts and understanding of these changes include: (1) Solid precipitation, including the number of days with frost and hail storms, shows a decreasing tendency over the past half century. (2) In most areas glaciers are retreating or have completely vanished (>80%), some glaciers are still advancing (5%--20% depending upon time period). The annual glacial melt water has been increasing since the 1980s. This increased supply of melt water to river runoff in Northwest China is about a 10%--13%. (3) The long-term variability of snow cover in western China is characterized by a large inter-annual variation superimposed on a small increasing trend. Snow cover variability in the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau (QXP) is influenced by the Indian monsoon, and conversely impacts monsoon onset and strength and eventually the drought and flood events in middle-low reaches of Yangtze River. (4) Frozen ground, including permafrost, is decaying both in QXP and in Northeast China. The most significant changes occurred in the regions with thickest seasonal frozen ground (SFG), i.e., inland QXP, then northeastern and northwestern QXP. The cold season air temperature is the main factor controlling SFG change. The increase of ground surface temperatures is more significant than air temperature. (5) The sea ice coverage over the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea has deceased since the 1980s. (6) River ice duration and ice thickness is also decreasing in northern China. In 2001, the Chinese National Committee of World Climate Research Program/Climate and Cyosphere (WCRP/CliC) (CNC-CliC) was organized to strengthen research on climate and cryosphere in China. Future monitoring of the cryosphere in China will be enhanced both in spatial coverage and through the use of new techniques. Interactions between atmosphere/cryosphere/ hydrosphere/land-surface will be assessed to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of cryospheric change.
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Manuscript History

Manuscript received: 10 March 2008
Manuscript revised: 10 March 2008
通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
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    沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142

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Progress on Observation of Cryospheric Components and Climate-Related Studies in China

  • 1. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000;Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081;State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000;State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000;Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085;State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000;State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000;State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000;National Satellite Meteorological Centre of China, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081

Abstract: Systematic studies on the cryosphere in China started in the late 1950s. Significant achievements have been made by continuous investigation of glacier inventories, frozen ground observations, paleo-climate analyses of ice cores, process studies and the modeling of cryopsheric/atmospheric interactions. The general facts and understanding of these changes include: (1) Solid precipitation, including the number of days with frost and hail storms, shows a decreasing tendency over the past half century. (2) In most areas glaciers are retreating or have completely vanished (>80%), some glaciers are still advancing (5%--20% depending upon time period). The annual glacial melt water has been increasing since the 1980s. This increased supply of melt water to river runoff in Northwest China is about a 10%--13%. (3) The long-term variability of snow cover in western China is characterized by a large inter-annual variation superimposed on a small increasing trend. Snow cover variability in the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau (QXP) is influenced by the Indian monsoon, and conversely impacts monsoon onset and strength and eventually the drought and flood events in middle-low reaches of Yangtze River. (4) Frozen ground, including permafrost, is decaying both in QXP and in Northeast China. The most significant changes occurred in the regions with thickest seasonal frozen ground (SFG), i.e., inland QXP, then northeastern and northwestern QXP. The cold season air temperature is the main factor controlling SFG change. The increase of ground surface temperatures is more significant than air temperature. (5) The sea ice coverage over the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea has deceased since the 1980s. (6) River ice duration and ice thickness is also decreasing in northern China. In 2001, the Chinese National Committee of World Climate Research Program/Climate and Cyosphere (WCRP/CliC) (CNC-CliC) was organized to strengthen research on climate and cryosphere in China. Future monitoring of the cryosphere in China will be enhanced both in spatial coverage and through the use of new techniques. Interactions between atmosphere/cryosphere/ hydrosphere/land-surface will be assessed to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of cryospheric change.

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