Tropical Glaciology and Climate Dynamics


At low latitudes, seasonal temperature varies little but the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone causes a pronounced seasonality in atmospheric moisture (cloudiness, air humidity, precipitation). Inter-annual variability in both amplitude and length of each season may be prominent. Analysis of modern glacier fluctuations as well as energy balance studies on tropical glaciers demonstrate the strong impact of moisture variability on glacier behavior. Studying low latitude glaciers thus opens the view to a variety of climate variables, and to a broad spectrum of scales: from micrometeorological processes at the glacier-atmosphere interface (e.g., sublimation) over regional-scale water supply by glaciers, to the large-scale circulation systems that create the climatic boundary conditions for the glaciers. - - In our group we have developed two glacier mass balance models (of different physical complexity) for particular application purposes. We also run numerical atmospheric models and analyze output from global climate models. Direct meteorological measurements at high altitude in the tropics provide the essential data for our studies