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First in situ record of decadal glacier mass balance (2003–2014) from the Bhutan Himalaya

  • Phuntsho Tshering (a1) (a2) and Koji Fujita (a1)
Abstract

This study presents the first decadal mass-balance record of a small debris-free glacier in the Bhutan Himalaya, where few in situ measurements have been reported to date. Since 2003 we have measured the mass balance of Gangju La glacier, which covers an area of 0.3km2 and extends from 4900 to 5200ma.s.l., using both differential GPS surveys (geodetic method) and stake measurements (direct method). The observed mass balance ranged from –1.12 to –2.04mw.e. a–1 between 2003 and 2014. The glacier exhibited much greater mass loss than neighbouring glaciers in the eastern Himalaya and southeastern Tibet, which are expected to be sensitive to climate change due to the monsooninfluenced humid climate. Observed mass-balance profiles suggest that the equilibrium-line altitude has been higher than Gangju La glacier since 2003, implying that the entire glacier has experienced net ablation for at least the past decade.

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      First in situ record of decadal glacier mass balance (2003–2014) from the Bhutan Himalaya
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      First in situ record of decadal glacier mass balance (2003–2014) from the Bhutan Himalaya
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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Phuntsho Tshering <beejob808@yahoo.com>; Koji Fujita <cozy@nagoya-u.jp>
References
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
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