Research Articles

Mass balance and near-surface ice temperature structure of Baishui Glacier No.1 in Mt. Yulong

  • 1. State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    4. Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
Du Jiankuo (1985?), Ph.D Candidate, specialized in glaciers and global change. E-mail:

Received date: 2012-11-23

  Revised date: 2013-03-29

  Online published: 2013-08-15

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40971019; No.41273010;The Foundation from the State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Science, No.SKLCS-ZZ-2012-01-02


The accumulation and ablation of a glacier directly reflect its mass income and wastage, and ice temperature indicates glacier's climatic and dynamic conditions. Glaciological studies at Baishui Glacier No.1 in Mt. Yulong are important for estimating recent changes of the cryosphere in Hengduan Mountains. Increased glacier ablation and higher ice temperatures can cause the incidents of icefall. Therefore, it is important to conduct the study of glacier mass balance and ice temperature, but there are few studies in relation to glacier's mass balance and active-layer temperature in China's monsoonal temperate glacier region. Based on the field observations of mass balance and glacier temperature at Baishui Glacier No.1, its accumulation, ablation, net balance and near-surface ice temperature structure were analyzed and studied in this paper. Results showed that the accumulation period was ranged from October to the following mid-May, and the ablation period occurred from mid-May to October, suggesting that the ablation period of temperate glacier began about 15 days earlier than that of continental glaciers, while the accumulation period began about 15 days later. The glacier ablation rate was 6.47 cm d-1 at an elevation of 4600 m between June 23 and August 30, and it was 7.4 cm d-1 at 4800 m between June 26 and July 11 in 1982, moreover, they respectively increased to 9.2 cm d-1 and 10.8 cm d-1 in the corresponding period and altitude in 2009, indicating that glacier ablation has greatly intensified in the past years. The temperature of the main glacier body was close to melting point in summer, and it dropped from the glacier surface and reached a minimum value at a depth of 4-6 m in the ablation zone. The temperature then rose to around melting point with the depth increment. In winter, the ice temperature rose gradually with the increasing depth, and close to melting point at the depth of 10 m. Compared with the data from 1982, the glacier temperature has risen in the ablation zone in recent decades.

Cite this article

DU Jiankuo, HE Yuanqing, LI Shuang, WANG Shijin, NIU Hewen, XIN Huijuan, PU Tao . Mass balance and near-surface ice temperature structure of Baishui Glacier No.1 in Mt. Yulong[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(4) : 668 -678 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1036-4


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