Introduction to the Langtang Paper

The paper, Mass balance and runoff of the partially debris-covered Langtang Glacier, Nepal, is being revised and the records of daily precipitation and temperature at Kathmandu used for calculating the mass balance will be extended from 1987-97 to 1987-2012. 

This paper is noteworthy since it represents the first time that the mass balance and runoff from a Himalayan glacier has been successfully modeled.

Verification of the results is made by comparing simulated ablation for the glacier with measured ablation on the nearby Lirung Glacier during the same time period and at nearly the same elevation.

In addition to the longer data record, the revision will also demonstrate the model's calibration process and provide an explanation of how the glacier's area-altitude distribution is instrumental for producing accurate glacier balances from routine weather observations.   

The effect of the glacier's debris cover on the mass balance and runoff will also be examined.

A detailed mass balance report for Langtang glacier, with a similar format to existing reports, will be added to the PTAAGMB Project website.

The mass balance of Himalayan glaciers is especially important now due to the critical link these high elevation glaciers provide to the earth's changing climate. 

Recently there has been a significant controversy regarding whether these glaciers have been shrinking for the past ten years, while glaciers in other parts of the world obviously are. The revised Langtang paper will address the possible cause for this discrepancy.

The Langtang Glacier project is the result of a collaboration between the Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology,  Kathmandu, Nepal and HyMet Inc., Vashon Island, Washington.  Further collaboration is planned.

The Langtang Paper can be downloaded here:

Langtang Paper