Picea schrenkiana tree ring blue intensity reveal recent glacier mass loss in High Mountain Asia is unprecedented within the last four centuries

Published: 1 August 2023| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/8yxfjh5ngk.2
Feng Chen, Weipeng Yue


Studies on long-term fluctuations in glacier volume and mass are crucial for understanding past climate change. In this paper, we utilized Picea schrenkiana to develop a 525-year chronology of latewood blue intensity (LWBI) in the Tianshan Mountains. Relying on temperature as the main controlling factor for tree growth and glacier mass balance (GMB) variations, the LWBI chronology was used to reconstruct the summer temperature (JJA, R2adj = 47%) and the annual glacier mass balance (annual GMB, R2adj = 39%) in the Tianshan Mountains over the past 400 years. The reconstruction results show that the rapid warming since 1974 has caused the Tianshan No.1 glacier (TS No.1) to experience an unprecedented melting trend within the last four centuries. It is disturbing that the glacier still remain in an ablation state for the next 80 years under both representative concentration paths (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios, which will exacerbate the adverse environmental impacts of glacial hazards. Our study provides a continuous record for glacier research in high mountains Asian and contributes to a more detailed assessment of glacier and climate change in this region.