Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (7): 958-968.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201407008

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Theoretical glacial equilibrium line altitudes and their influencing factors in the typical mountains of China

Wei ZHANG1(), Beibei LIU1(), Zhijiu CUI2, Yangyang LI1, Liang LIU1   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
    2. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2014-01-16 Revised:2014-05-19 Online:2014-07-20 Published:2014-07-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271093, 41230743, 40971010


It is important to reconstruct the past environmental changes for unglaciated area in the typical mountains of the Tibetan Plateau and in eastern China by using modern theoretical equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs). Based on the data from 28 meteorological stations of 17 typical mountains, the ELAs were calculated by the methods of Maximum Precipitation Zoneand Empirical Curve (MPC), Maximum Precipitation Zone and Empirical Formula (MPF) and Meteorological Precipitation and Empirical Formula (WPF). Research results show that, MPF is better than WPF through the comparison of the applicability between these two methods in the study areas. The results also indicate that the factors affecting the ELAs are precipitation, temperature, altitude of the meteorological stations and lapse rate of temperature. Based on the in-depth analysis of the principle, parameter selection, computational process and error sources, the authors put forward a newly improved method for calculating modern theoretical ELAs.

Key words: equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs), Tibetan Plateau, lapse rate of precipitation, temperature, glacier