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Journal of Arid Land  2017, Vol. 9 Issue (6): 900-910    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0067-6
Orginal Article     
Multi-decadal variations in glacier flow velocity and the influencing factors of Urumqi Glacier No. 1 in Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China
Puyu WANG1,*(), Zhongqin LI1,2, Chunhai XU1, Wucheng XING2, Ping ZHOU1, Hui ZHANG1
1 State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Science/Tianshan Glaciological Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2 College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
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Urumqi Glacier No. 1 is a representative glacier in the inland areas of Central Asia and is the only Chinese reference glacier in the World Glacier Monitoring Service. In this study, we explored multi-decadal variations in the flow velocity of the glacier and the influencing factors based on continuous field observations and path coefficient analysis. Results show that the glacier flow velocity decreased from 5.5 m/a in 1980/1981 to 3.3 m/a in 2010/2011. The annual variation in the direction of glacier flow velocity in the western branch and eastern branch was less than 1°-3°, and the change of glacier flow velocity in the western branch was more dramatic than that in the eastern branch. Glacier flow velocity was influenced by glacier morphology (including glacier area, glacier length, and ice thickness), glacier mass balance and local climate conditions (air temperature and precipitation), the glacier morphology being the leading factor. The long-term flow velocity data set of Urumqi Glacier No. 1 contributes to a better understanding of glacier dynamics within the context of climatic warming.

Key wordsglacier flow velocity      glacier change      path coefficient analysis      Urumqi Glacier No. 1      Chinese Tianshan Mountains     
Received: 04 March 2017      Published: 20 December 2017
Corresponding Authors: Puyu WANG     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Puyu WANG, Zhongqin LI, Chunhai XU, Wucheng XING, Ping ZHOU, Hui ZHANG. Multi-decadal variations in glacier flow velocity and the influencing factors of Urumqi Glacier No. 1 in Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(6): 900-910.

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