The largest mountain range in Central Asia Tian Shan lost a substantial glacier mass over the past 50 years. Half of remaining mass will disappear in next 50 years, a new study indicates
Glaciers worldwide are shrinking faster than ever before. According to a new research, one of the longest mountain range in Central Asia Tian Shan could disappear by 2050.
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The Celestial mountains have lost 27% of their mass and 18% of their area over the past 50 years. The rate of loss is about four times high than global average during that time. Keeping in view the rate the half of the remaining ice in Tian Shan will gone by 2050.
People in Central Asia get most of their water from the seasonal melting of snow and glacier ice. Shrinking glacier will deprive large parts of Central Asia and may lead to fuel conflict.
Tian Shan also known as Tien Shan mountain range is extended over 2,500 kilometers in Central Asia. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and some parts of China are heavily dependent on Tian Shan for their water supplies.
“Despite this importance only little was known about how glaciers in this region changed over the last century.” Daniel Farinotti, a glaciologist and lead author of the study said.
To learn more about Tian Shan glaciers, Daniel Farinotti and his colleges at German Research Center analyzed the data obtained from satellite “Gravity Recovery And Climate Experience.” The satellite was launched in 2002. A tool laser altimetry was utilized to measure the height and elevation of terrain from a satellite. Computer models were also developed on the basis of readings taken from glacier surfaces.
“Here we use three ensembles of independent approaches based on satellite gravimetry, laser altimetry and glaciological modeling to estimate the total glacier mass change in the Tian Shan,” said Farinotti. “This way, we were able to reconstruct the evolution of every single glacier. Currently, the Tian Shan is losing ice at a pace that is roughly twice the annual water of consumption entire Germany.”
The pace of glacier melting began to accelerate in 1070s. Researchers link it to the increased temperatures in the region.
“The long-term signal is clearly related to the rise of temperature. In fact, the study shows that the rise in temperature and summer temperature in particular is primary control for glacier evolution in the region.” Farinotti said.
“Decline is driven primarily by summer melt and possibly linked to the combined effects of general climatic warming and circulation variability over the north Atlantic and north Pacific.”
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The study was published online on journal Nature Geoscience