Knowledge about the long-term response of High Mountain Asian glaciers to climatic variations is paramount because of their important role in sustaining Asian river flow. Here, a satellite-based time series of glacier mass balance for seven climatically different regions across High Mountain Asia since the 1960s shows that glacier mass loss rates have persistently increased at most sites. Regional glacier mass budgets ranged from −0.40 ± 0.07 m w.e.a−1 in Central and Northern Tien Shan to −0.06 ± 0.07 m w.e.a−1 in Eastern Pamir, with considerable temporal and spatial variability. Highest rates of mass loss occurred in Central Himalaya and Northern Tien Shan after 2015 and even in regions where glaciers were previously in balance with climate, such as Eastern Pamir, mass losses prevailed in recent years. An increase in summer temperature explains the long-term trend in mass loss and now appears to drive mass loss even in regions formerly sensitive to both temperature and precipitation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)