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Hydro-climatic characteristics of Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin since the Last Glacial Maximum

Hydro-climatic characteristics of Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin since the Last Glacial Maximum
Hydro-climatic characteristics of Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin since the Last Glacial Maximum
Global climate changes significantly impact the water condition of big rivers in glacierized high mountains. However, there is a lack of studies on hydrological changes within river basins caused by climate change over a geological timescale due to the impossibility of direct observations. In this study, we examine the hydro-climatic variation of the Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin in the Tibet Plateau since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) by combining δ18O proxy records in Indian and Omani caves with the simulated Indian summer monsoon, surface temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration and runoff via Community Climate System Model and reconstructed glacier coverage via Parallel Ice Sheet Model. The mean river runoff was kept around a low level of 145 billion cubic meters per year until an abrupt increase at a rate of 8.7 million cubic meters per year in the Bølling-Allerød interval (BA). The annual runoff reached a maximum of 250 billion cubic meters in the early Holocene and then reduced to the current value of 180 billion cubic meters at a rate of 6.4 million cubic meters per year. The low runoff in the LGM and Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1) is likely attributed to such a small contribution of precipitation to runoff and large glacier cover. The percentage of precipitation to runoff was only 20% during the LGM and HS1. Comparison of glacier area among different periods indicates that the fastest deglaciation occurred during the late HS1, when nearly 60% of glacier area disappeared in the middle reach, 50% in the upper reach, and 30% in the lower reach. The rapid deglaciation and increasing runoff between the late HS1 and BA may accelerate widespread ice-dam breaches and lead to extreme outburst flood events. Combining local geological proxy records and regional simulations could be a useful approach for the study of paleo-hydrologic variations in big basins.
Indian summer monsoon, Glacier change, Runoff variability, LGM, Yarlung Tsangpo River
0256-1530
Liu, Shuang
44ea7600-f7e3-4dda-b8e0-627601ce2505
Hu, Kaiheng
c6f0b83e-43b9-47d4-a93c-541ef328ddd8
Liu, Weiming
166536c3-6ad8-456d-9b0d-48148d676815
Carling, Paul
8d252dd9-3c88-4803-81cc-c2ec4c6fa687
Liu, Shuang
44ea7600-f7e3-4dda-b8e0-627601ce2505
Hu, Kaiheng
c6f0b83e-43b9-47d4-a93c-541ef328ddd8
Liu, Weiming
166536c3-6ad8-456d-9b0d-48148d676815
Carling, Paul
8d252dd9-3c88-4803-81cc-c2ec4c6fa687

Liu, Shuang, Hu, Kaiheng, Liu, Weiming and Carling, Paul (2021) Hydro-climatic characteristics of Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin since the Last Glacial Maximum. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Global climate changes significantly impact the water condition of big rivers in glacierized high mountains. However, there is a lack of studies on hydrological changes within river basins caused by climate change over a geological timescale due to the impossibility of direct observations. In this study, we examine the hydro-climatic variation of the Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin in the Tibet Plateau since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) by combining δ18O proxy records in Indian and Omani caves with the simulated Indian summer monsoon, surface temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration and runoff via Community Climate System Model and reconstructed glacier coverage via Parallel Ice Sheet Model. The mean river runoff was kept around a low level of 145 billion cubic meters per year until an abrupt increase at a rate of 8.7 million cubic meters per year in the Bølling-Allerød interval (BA). The annual runoff reached a maximum of 250 billion cubic meters in the early Holocene and then reduced to the current value of 180 billion cubic meters at a rate of 6.4 million cubic meters per year. The low runoff in the LGM and Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1) is likely attributed to such a small contribution of precipitation to runoff and large glacier cover. The percentage of precipitation to runoff was only 20% during the LGM and HS1. Comparison of glacier area among different periods indicates that the fastest deglaciation occurred during the late HS1, when nearly 60% of glacier area disappeared in the middle reach, 50% in the upper reach, and 30% in the lower reach. The rapid deglaciation and increasing runoff between the late HS1 and BA may accelerate widespread ice-dam breaches and lead to extreme outburst flood events. Combining local geological proxy records and regional simulations could be a useful approach for the study of paleo-hydrologic variations in big basins.

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Accepted/In Press date: 1 September 2021
Keywords: Indian summer monsoon, Glacier change, Runoff variability, LGM, Yarlung Tsangpo River

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 451208
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/451208
ISSN: 0256-1530
PURE UUID: 186f1c80-609d-4094-81bd-55af08086518

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Sep 2021 16:35
Last modified: 21 Nov 2021 22:23

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Contributors

Author: Shuang Liu
Author: Kaiheng Hu
Author: Weiming Liu
Author: Paul Carling

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