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Response of glaciers to climate change: Mass balance sensitivity, sea level rise and runoff
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to enhance our understanding of the response of glaciers to climate change. Global sea level is affected by changes in glacier ice volume, and melt-water from glaciers is a principal water source in many regions. This study applies glacier mass balance modelling, with varying complexity and spatial resolution, ranging from individual glaciers to regional and global assessments of glacier mass losses. Glaciers located in maritime environments generally show considerably higher mass balance sensitivities than those in continental settings. On average, an assumed increase in annual precipitation of +10% tends to offset the effect of an annual temperature change of +1 K, by roughly 20%. Two case studies, at Storglaciären, Sweden, and Hofsjökull, Iceland, involve model results of future mass balance change and glacier melt induced changes in runoff. Applying a temperature and precipitation scenario for Iceland in 2050 results in increased total runoff from Hofsjökull by roughly one third, and results emphasize the role of the firn layer in delaying water flow through glaciers, yielding a redistribution of discharge within the year. Based on a global gridded data set of glacierized area, the sea level equivalent from all mountain glaciers and ice caps outside the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica during 1961–2004, caused by changes in temperature and precipitation, is estimated to be 0.58±0.34 mm a–1. The mountain glaciers and ice caps around Antarctica alone contribute almost 40% of the global estimate, and hence their contribution is considerably larger than previously assumed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för naturgeografi och kvartärgeologi , 2008. , 95 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 13
Keyword [en]
glacier, mass balance modelling, mass balance sensitivity, sea level rise, glacial runoff, Hofsjökull, Storglaciären
National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7521ISBN: 978-91-7155-639-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-7521DiVA: diva2:198494
Public defence
2008-05-30, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-04-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Static mass-balance sensitivity of Arctic glaciers and ice caps using a degree-day approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Static mass-balance sensitivity of Arctic glaciers and ice caps using a degree-day approach
2005 In: Annals of Glaciology, ISSN 0260-3055, Vol. 42, no 1, 217-224 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24896 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7521Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-04-23Bibliographically approved
2. Global glacier mass losses 1961–2004 and mass balance sensitivities assessed from modelling and gridded climate data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Global glacier mass losses 1961–2004 and mass balance sensitivities assessed from modelling and gridded climate data
Manuscript (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24897 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7521Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-04-23 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved
3. Climate sensitivity of Storglaciären, Sweden: an intercomparison of mass-balance models using ERA-40 re-analysis and regional climate model data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate sensitivity of Storglaciären, Sweden: an intercomparison of mass-balance models using ERA-40 re-analysis and regional climate model data
2007 (English)In: Annals of glaciology, ISSN 0260-3055, Vol. 46, no 1, 342-348 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Estimates of glacier contributions to future sea-level rise are often computed from mass-balance sensitivities derived for a set of representative glaciers. Our purpose is to investigate how mass-balance projections and sensitivities vary when using different approaches to compute the glacier mass balance. We choose Storglaciären, Sweden, as a test site and apply five different models including temperature-index and energy-balance approaches further varying in spatial discretization. The models are calibrated using daily European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts re-analysis (ERA-40) data. We compute static mass-balance sensitivities and cumulative mass balances until 2100 based on daily temperatures predicted by a regional climate model. Net mass-balance sensitivities to a +1 K perturbation and a 10% increase in precipitation spanned from −0.41 to −0.61 and from 0.19 to 0.22 m a−1, respectively. The cumulative mass balance for the period 2002-2100 in response to the climate-model predicted temperature changes varied between −81 and −92 m for four models, but was −121 m for the fully distributed detailed energy-balance model. This indicates that mass losses may be underestimated if temperature-index methods are used instead of detailed energy-balance approaches that account for the effects of temperature changes on all energy-balance components individually. Our results suggest that future glacier predictions are sensitive to the choice of the mass-balance model broadening the spectrum in uncertainties.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24898 (URN)10.3189/172756407782871503 (DOI)
Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-04-23 Last updated: 2009-03-09Bibliographically approved
4. Firn layer impact on glacial runoff: a case study at Hofsjökull, Iceland
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Firn layer impact on glacial runoff: a case study at Hofsjökull, Iceland
Show others...
2006 In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, Vol. 20, no 10, 2171–2185- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24899 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7521Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-04-23Bibliographically approved

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