Nam Co and Zhadang Glacier 2009-2014
Dynamic response of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau to climate change (DynRG-TiP)Von 04/2009 bis 10/2014
Mitarbeiter: Dieter Scherer, Manfred Buchroithner, Christoph Schneider, Tandong Yao, Tobias Bolch, Fabien Maussion, Eva Huintjes, Tino Pieczonka, Marinka Spieß
Between April 2009 and September 2011 six campaigns were carried out within the project “Dynamic response of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau to climate change” (DynRG-TiP) in the framework of the DFG Program SPP 1372 (TiP). In collaboration with the Chinese partners from the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) scientists from TU Berlin, TU Dresden and RWTH Aachen focus on glacier mass balance and glacier change in the region of Nam Co during the last decades and their future response to climate change by combining field studies, remote sensing and numerical modelling.
The research area is located at Zhadang Glacier (~ 5.500 m a.s.l.) about 50 km southwest of Nam Co Station in the Nyainqentanglha Mountains. In April 2009 two automatic weather stations (AWS) have been installed on the glacier, complementing an AWS operated by the ITP. The setup provides one of the most elaborately equipped "laboratory glaciers" in. Both AWS are inspected (and repaired, if required) every six months and will record meteorological data during at least two years. The data is used to set up and calibrate atmospheric and mass balance models. In October 2010 one AWS had to be moved and reinstalled on the terminal moraine due to rapid changes in surface elevation and slope near the glacier front.
In addition to the AWS, two cameras were installed on a lateral moraine in October 2009 and May 2010. They each take one picture a day simultaneously to record glacier area and volume changes. The position of the glacier tongue was measured at every campaign. An animation of the full image time series of summer 2010 can be accessed online .
In May 2010 a hydrological sensor was installed in one of the glacier melt water channels to investigate the contribution of permafrost thawing to the runoff through conductivity measurements. In addition, conductivity measurements have been carried out in the different melt water channels manually.
In April 2009 a laser precipitation sensor w as installed at Nam Co Station. These highly accurate measurements of precipitation amount, intensity and type complement the Chinese atmospheric measurements at Nam Co Research Station. WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) model validation studies using existing data sets, both from weather stations and remote sensing systems have been carried out. The data demonstrate the large-scale influences of monsoonal and westerly winds and the strong seasonal course of near-surface air temperature. Monthly values are aggregated and the full time series can be viewed online
In 2011 two field campaigns were carried out to collect the measured data and to rebuilt and replace sensors that have been damaged through the harsh environment.In August 2012 another field campaign was carried out together with the initial campaign of the WET project as part of the BMBF-CAME joined program. At Zhadang glacier recently measured meteorological data was downloaded form the autmatic weather stations (AWS), additonal GPS measurements were perfomed, the camera was taken down and two AWS were officially handed over to the Chinese partner ITP-CAS for continued operation in the future.
from left to right: ascending to the glacier, Christoph Schneider installing the AWS, scientists in front of the AWS
from left to right: base camp in the early morning, Dieter Scherer and Fabien Maussion repairing the AWS, the kitchen tent
from left to right: Tobias Sauter and Eva Huintjes de-icing the cables, Tino Pieczonka next to the camera
on the way back to Nam Co Station