Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2008, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (2): 190-200.doi: 10.1007/s11442-008-0190-6

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Sensitivity analysis of glacier systems to climate warming in China

WANG Xin1,2, XIE Zichu3, LI Qiaoyuan3, WANG Shuhong3, CHENG Lei3   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China|
    2. Research Institute of Geo-spatial Information Science, Hunan University of Science &|Technology, Xiangtan 411201, China|
    3. College of Resources and Environment, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
  • Received:2007-12-06 Revised:2008-02-18 Online:2008-06-25 Published:2010-09-18
  • Supported by:

    Knowledge Innovation Project of the CAS, No.KZCX2-YW-301; National Basic S&T Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, No.2006FY110200; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.4084002


Data of 44 glacier systems in China used in this paper were obtained from Chinese Glacier Inventories and the meteorological data were got from Meteorological Atlas of Plateau of west China. Based on the statistical analysis and functional model simulation results of the 44 glacier systems in China, the glacier systems were divided into extremely-sensitive glacier system, semi-sensitive glacier system, extremely-steady glacier system and semi-steady glacier system in terms of glacier system’s level of water-energy exchange, rising gradient of the equilibrium line altitudes and retreating rate of area to climate warming, their median size and vertical span distribution, and their runoff characteristics to climate warming. Furthermore, the functional model of glacier system to climate warming was applied in this paper to predict the average variation trends of the 4 types of glacier systems, which indicate that different sensitivity types of glacier systems respond to the climate warming differently.

Key words: glacier system, functional model, response to climate warming, type of sensitivity