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Journal of Arid Land  2022, Vol. 14 Issue (5): 502-520    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0056-2
Research article     
Spatiotemporal changes of typical glaciers and their responses to climate change in Xinjiang, Northwest China
HUANG Xiaoran1,2, BAO Anming1,3,4,*(), GUO Hao5, MENG Fanhao6, ZHANG Pengfei7, ZHENG Guoxiong1,2, YU Tao1,2, QI Peng8, Vincent NZABARINDA1,2, DU Weibing9
1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
4China-Pakistan Joint Research Center on Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Higher Education Commission, Islamabad 45320, Pakistan
5School of Geography and Tourism, Qufu Normal University, Rizhao 276800, China
6College of Geographical Science, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022, China
7Xuchang University, Xuchang 461000, China
8Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
9School of Surveying and Land Information Engineering, Henan Polytechnic University, Jiaozuo 454000, China
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Abstract  

Glaciers are highly sensitive to climate change and are undergoing significant changes in mid-latitudes. In this study, we analyzed the spatiotemporal changes of typical glaciers and their responses to climate change in the period of 1990-2015 in 4 different mountainous sub-regions in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of Northwest China: the Bogda Peak and Karlik Mountain sub-regions in the Tianshan Mountains; the Yinsugaiti Glacier sub-region in the Karakorum Mountains; and the Youyi Peak sub-region in the Altay Mountains. The standardized snow cover index (NDSI) and correlation analysis were used to reveal the glacier area changes in the 4 sub-regions from 1990 to 2015. Glacial areas in the Bogda Peak, Karlik Mountain, Yinsugaiti Glacier, and Youyi Peak sub-regions in the period of 1990-2015 decreased by 57.7, 369.1, 369.1, and 170.4 km², respectively. Analysis of glacier area center of gravity showed that quadrant changes of glacier areas in the 4 sub-regions moved towards the origin. Glacier area on the south aspect of the Karlik Mountain sub-region was larger than that on the north aspect, while glacier areas on the north aspect of the other 3 sub-regions were larger than those on the south aspect. Increased precipitation in the Karlik Mountain sub-region inhibited the retreat of glaciers to a certain extent. However, glacier area changes in the Bogda Peak and Youyi Peak sub-regions were not sensitive to the increased precipitation. On a seasonal time scale, glacier area changes in the Bogda Peak, Karlik Mountain, Yinsugaiti Glacier, and Youyi Peak sub-regions were mainly caused by accumulated temperature in the wet season; on an annual time scale, the correlation coefficient between glacier area and annual average temperature was -0.72 and passed the significance test at P<0.05 level in the Karlik Mountain sub-region. The findings of this study can provide a scientific basis for water resources management in the arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China in the context of global warming.



Key wordsglacier area change      normalized snow cover index (NDSI)      climate change      remote sensing      Altay Mountains      Tianshan Mountains      Karakorum Mountains     
Received: 13 October 2021      Published: 31 May 2022