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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-289
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-289
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Feb 2019

Research article | 21 Feb 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Changes of the tropical glaciers throughout Peru between 2000 and 2016 – Mass balance and area fluctuations

Thorsten Seehaus1, Philipp Malz1, Christian Sommer1, Stefan Lippl1, Alejo Cochachin2, and Matthias Braun1 Thorsten Seehaus et al.
  • 1Institute of Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Wetterkreuz 15, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
  • 2Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos (UGRH), Autoridad Nacional del Agua (ANA), 02001 Huaraz, Perú

Abstract. Glaciers in tropical regions are very sensitive to climatic variations and thus strongly affected by climate change. The majority of the tropical glaciers worldwide are located in the Peruvian Andes, which have shown significant ice loss in the last century. Here, we present the first multi-temporal, region wide survey of geodetic mass balances and glacier area fluctuations throughout Peru covering the period 2000–2016. Glacier extents are derived from Landsat imagery by performing automatic glacier delineation based on a combination of the NDSI and band ratio method and final manual inspection and correction. A total glacier area loss of −548.5 ± 65.7 km2 (−29 %, −34.3 km2 a−1) is obtained for the study period. Using interferometric satellite SAR acquisitions, bi-temporal geodetic mass balances are derived. An average specific mass balance of −357 ± 43 kg m−2 a−1 is found throughout Peru for the period 2000–2016. However, there are strong regional and temporal differences in the mass budgets ranging from 68 ± 102 kg m−2 a−1 to −990 ± 476 kg m−2 a−1. The ice loss increased towards the end of the observation period. Between 2013 and 2016, a retreat of the glaciated area of −203.8 ± 65.7 km2 (− 16 %, −101.9 km2 a−1) is mapped and the average mass budget amounts to −836 ± 188 kg m−2 a−1. The glacier changes revealed can be attributed to changes in the climatic settings in the study region, derived from ERA-Interim reanalysis data and the Oceanic Niño Index. The intense El Niño activities in 2015/16 are most likely the trigger for the increased change rates in the time interval 2013–2016. Our observations provide fundamental information on the current dramatic glacier changes for local authorities and for the calibration and validation of glacier change projections.

Thorsten Seehaus et al.
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Short summary
The glaciers in Peru are strongly affected by climate change and have shown significant ice loss in the last century. We present the first multi-temporal, countrywide quantification of glacier area and ice mass changes. A glacier area loss of −548.5 ± 65.7 km2 (−29 %) and ice mass loss of −9.18 ± 1.10 Gt is obtained for the period 2000–2016. The ice loss rate increased towards the end of the observation period. The glacier changes revealed can be attributed to regional climatic changes and the ENSO.
The glaciers in Peru are strongly affected by climate change and have shown significant ice loss...
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