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Deciphering the contrasting climatic trends between the central Himalaya and Karakoram with 36 years of WRF simulations

TitleDeciphering the contrasting climatic trends between the central Himalaya and Karakoram with 36 years of WRF simulations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsNorris J., Carvalho L.MV, Jones C., Cannon F.
JournalClimate Dynamics
Date Published2019/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0930-7575
Accession NumberWOS:000460619200009
Keywords4-dimensional data assimilation; area mesoscale model; Asia; basin; era-interim; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; monsoon convection; patterns; precipitation; region; temperature; winter

Glaciers over the central Himalaya have retreated at particularly rapid rates in recent decades, while glacier mass in the Karakoram appears stable. To address the meteorological factors associated with this contrast, 36 years of Climate Forecast System Reanalyses (CFSR) are dynamically downscaled from 1979 to 2015 with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model over High Mountain Asia at convection permitting grid spacing (6.7 km). In all seasons, CFSR shows an anti-cyclonic warming trend over the majority of High Mountain Asia, but distinctive differences are observed between the central Himalaya and Karakoram in winter and summer. In winter and summer, the central Himalaya has been under the influence of an anti-cyclonic trend, which in summer the downscaling shows has reduced cloud cover, leading to significant warming and reduced snowfall in recent years. Contrastingly, the Karakoram has been near the boundary between large-scale cyclonic and anti-cyclonic trends and has not experienced significant snowfall or temperature changes in winter or summer, despite significant trends in summer of increasing cloud cover and decreasing shortwave radiation. This downscaling does not identify any trends over glaciers in closer neighboring regions to the Karakoram (e.g., Hindu Kush and the western Himalaya) where glaciers have retreated as over the central Himalaya, indicating that there are other factors driving glacier mass balance that this downscaling is unable to capture. While this study does not fully explain the Karakoram anomaly, the identified trends detail important meteorological contributions to the observed differences between central Himalaya and Karakoram glacier evolution in recent decades.

Short TitleClim. Dyn.
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