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Journal of Arid Land  2015, Vol. 7 Issue (2): 159-165    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0011-y
Research Articles     
Five decades of glacier changes in the Hulugou Basin of central Qilian Mountains, Northwest China
Hui CHEN1,2, ZhongQin LI1,2, PuYu WANG2, ZhongPing LAI2, RenSheng CHEN2, BaoJuan HUAI2
1 College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China;
2 Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Abstract  The Heihe River Basin is the second largest inland river basin in the arid regions of Northwest China. Glaciers account for a large proportion of water resources for production and people's living. Studies of glacier changes and their impact on water resources in the arid lands are of vital importance. A joint expedition was carried out in 2010 for investigating glaciers in the Hulugou Basin, which is located in the upper reaches of Heihe River. Therefore, glacier changes in the Hulugou Basin of central Qilian Mountains during the past 50 years were studied in this study by comparing topographic maps, satellite images, digital elevation models and field observation data in the different periods. Results showed that the total area of the 6 glaciers in the Hulugou Basin decreased by 0.590±0.005 km2 during the period 1956–2011, corresponding to a loss of 40.7% of the total area in 1956. The average area reduction rate of the 6 glaciers is 0.011 km2/a. During the past five decades, the glacier shrinkage was accelerated. The changes in glacier ice surface elevation ranged from –15 to 3 m with an average thinning of 10±8 m or an annual decrease of 0.23±0.18 m (0.20±0.15 m/a water equivalent) for the period 1956–2000. The area of Shiyi Glacier in the Hulugou Basin decreased from 0.64 km2 in 1956 to 0.53 km2 in 2011 with a reduction rate of 17.2%. The Shiyi Glacier had been divided into two separated glaciers because of severe melting. Com-parative analysis showed that glacier shrinkage in the Hulugou Basin is more serious than that in the other regions of Qilian Mountains.

Key words temperate semiarid steppe      nitrous oxide      nitrogen availability      precipitation     
Received: 16 February 2014      Published: 10 April 2015

The National Basic Research Pro-gram of China (2013CBA01801), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41301069, 41471058), the Funds for Creative Research Groups of China (41121001), the Special Financial Grant from the China Postdoctoral Science Founda-tion (2014T70948) and the West Light Program for Talent Cul-tivation of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Corresponding Authors: PuYu Wang     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Hui CHEN, ZhongQin LI, PuYu WANG, ZhongPing LAI, RenSheng CHEN, BaoJuan HUAI. Five decades of glacier changes in the Hulugou Basin of central Qilian Mountains, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(2): 159-165.

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