Kuhle Herterich Calov 1989 GeoJournal


On the ice age glaciation of the Tibetan Highlands and its transformation into a 3-D model

by M. Kuhle, K. Herterich, R. Calov

We present an interdisciplinary study on data and modeling intercomparison, concerning the possible existence of a Tibetan ice sheet and its climatological implications during the ice age. In the ice sheet model the fields of ice flow and temperature are calculated, and a highly parameterized formulation of the yearly snow balance is used, defining the forcing at the surface of the ice sheet. The data set used, supplies the height of the equilibrium line of the glaciers (=ELA) and documents the maximum extension of the glaciated areas. With prescribed snow accumulation above the ELA and melting below, the model is integrated for 10 000 model years and the model glaciation is then compared with the data.

The main results are: Provided the height of the glacial equilibrium line has been reconstructed correctly, a Tibetan ice sheet can be bult up within 10 000 model years, using moderate rates of precipitation (maximum snow fall: 100 mm/year). Comparison of data and model glaciation suggests an increase of precipitation from the NW to the E of Tibet and from the S to the NE, which reflects the presently observed pattern of the monsoon circulation.

GeoJournal 19 (2): 201-206 (1989)

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