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GLACIERS of China

# #China is one of the countries possessing most amounts of mid- and low-latitudinal mountain glaciers in the world. Modern glaciers occur extensively over the country's six northwestern and southwestern provinces or autonomous regions--Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan. According to the preliminary estimates, the total glacial area of the country is about 58 651 km2, amounting to 0.36% of the world total (16 200 000 km2). It is quite uneven in the
dimension and distribution of glaciers. The glacier coverage in Tibet is 27 770 km2, about 47% that of the country and ranking the first; as for Xinjiang, the next one, the corresponding values are 25 752 km2 and 44%; while the rest 9% appear in Qinghai, Gansu and part of other provinces or autonomous regions. When estimating according to mountain ranges, those with glacier coverage over 10000 km2 are the mountains of Kunlun and Himalayas those with 7000-10 000 km2 are the mountains of Tianshan and Nyaingentanglha Shah; the total glacier coverage of them contributes about 70% to that of the country. Whereas for the Qilian Mountains, the Pamirs, the Karakorum Mountains, the Qiangtang Plateau, the Gangdise Mountains, the Tanggula Mountains, the Hengduan Mountains and the Altay, each has a glacier area less than 3 500 km2, Of the total glacier cover over the country, 61% is located in the inland drainage area.
The country's glacier storage is around 5 100 billion ms in total and the amount of mean annual glacier melt water is about 56 billion m3. The latter, being an annually replaceable and changeable constituent part of stream runoff, is the glacier water resources.

# #From the calculation of glacier water resources for various autonomous regions and provinces, Tibet is the richest one possessing 33.8 billion ma, about 60.3% that of the country; Xinjiang, being the next, has 19.1 billion m*, about 34%; while Qinghai and Gansu occupy 2.2 billion m3 and 0.95 billion ms, making up 4% and 1.7%, respectively. As to mountain ranges, the Nyaingentanglha Shan takes the first place having 15 billion m3, the Himalayas and the Tianshan occupy 10.1 billion ma and 9.6 billion m3 respectively. The amount of glacier water resources of inland drainage areas is 23.6 billion m3, contributing 24% to the total water resources of inland rivers and thus being an Important constituent of the latter.

The country's glacier coverage, storage and melt water volume calculated according to mountains are listed in Table I-3.

# #The distribution of glacier water resources in a year is concentrative, especially for those inland glaciers developing under dry and cold continental climate, the ablation season is generally from May to September, but runoff from June to August contributes 90% to that of ablation season.

# #As for the maritime glaciers forming under oceanic monsoon climate, the ablation
season is relatively longer, generally from April to October, and runoff process appears less concentrative with about 60% of ablation-seasonal runoff amount producing in June through August. Meanwhile, summer time with strong glacier ablation coincides just with rainy season, therefore glacier melt water runoff enhances the concentration of stream flow in summer.
The glacier melting runoff plays a role in regulating the interannual stream flow variation. This can be explained that the former, being mainly controlled by temperature, will be lesser than normal during wet years with lower temperature and large amount of solid precipitation stored in mountain glaciers, while for dry and warmer years, vice versa. Therefore, it leads to the fact that rivers with lar
ger portion of glacier melt water supply are characterized by runoff being not so insufficient in dry years and having smaller interannual variability.

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# #History of China
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# #Pedogeography
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# #Water Resources

 


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