Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 165-176.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1160-4

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Variations of the alpine precipitation from an ice core record of the Laohugou glacier basin during 1960-2006 in western Qilian Mountains, China

Xiang QIN1(), Xiaoqing CUI1, Wentao DU1, Zhiwen DONG1, Jiawen REN1, Jizu CHEN1,2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute/Qilian Shan Station of Glaciology and Ecologic Environment, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
    2. Resource and Environment College of Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2014-04-16 Accepted:2014-05-16 Online:2015-02-15 Published:2015-02-15
  • About author:

    Author: Qin Xiang, Associate Professor, specialized in glaciology and global change research.

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41371091;No.41201067;No.41301064;National Basic Research Program of China, No.2013CBA01801


The net accumulation record of ice core is one of the most reliable indicators for reconstructing precipitation changes in high mountains. A 20.12 m ice core was drilled in 2006 from the accumulation zone of Laohugou Glacier No.12 in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, China. We obtained the precipitation from the ice core net accumulation during 1960-2006, and found out the relationship between Laohugou ice core record and other data from surrounding sites of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Results showed that during 1960-2006, the precipitation in the high mountains showed firstly an increasing trend, while during 1980 to 2006 it showed an obvious decreasing trend. Reconstructed precipitation change in the Laohugou glacier basin was consistent with the measured data from the nearby weather stations in the lower mountain of Subei, and the correlation coefficient was 0.619 (P<0.001). However, the precipitation in the high mountain was about 3 times more than that of the lower mountain. The precipitation in Laohugou Glacier No.12 of the western Qilian Mountains corresponded well to the net accumulation of Dunde ice core during the same period, tree-ring reconstructed precipitation, the measured data of multiple meteorological stations in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, and also the changes of adjacent PDSI drought index. Precipitation changes of the Laohugou glacier basin and other sites of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau had significantly positive correlation with ENSO, which implied that the regional alpine precipitation change was very likely to be influenced by ENSO.

Key words: alpine precipitation, ice core, Laohugou Glacier No.12, Qilian Mountains