Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (3): 397-406.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201703003

• Climate Change and Surface Processes • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Altitude structure characteristics of the glaciers in China based on the Second Chinese Glacier Inventory

Xianhe ZHANG1(), Xin WANG1,2(), Shiyin LIU2, Wanqin GUO2, Junfeng WEI1   

  1. 1. Department of Geography, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan 411201, Hunan, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2016-11-17 Revised:2017-01-11 Online:2017-03-15 Published:2017-03-15
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271091, No.41271095, No.41501070


According to the Second Chinese Glacier Inventory (SCGI), Distribution of Glacier at Different Altitudes (DGDA), the Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA) field and the Accumulation Area Ratio (AAR) in different mountains of western China were calculated and discussed systematically. The results show that: (1) The DGDA presents a pattern of normal distribution, the ratio of the percentage that the largest glacier area accounted for the total area to altitude difference of the glacier distribution can be used as the morphological parameters to delineate the character of the DGDA. (2) The ELA, affected by climate and topography, gradually decreases from south to north, and increases from east to west. Additionally, the ELA of the northwest and southern edges of the high mountains is more intensive than that of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. (3) The distribution of the AAR is related to the water vapor and topography. The AAR of the mountain exterior side and marine type glacier region is lower than 0.5, while that of the mountain interior side, the Tibetan Plateau inland and maximal continental glacier region is higher than 0.7.

Key words: Second Glacier Inventory, area altitude distribution, equilibrium line altitude, accumulation area ratio, western China