Contributions of natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing to mass loss of Northern Hemisphere mountain glaciers and quantifying their uncertainties

Yukiko Hirabayashi, Kazunari Nakano, Yong Zhang, Satoshi Watanabe, Masahiro Tanoue, Shinjiro Kanae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Observational evidence indicates that a number of glaciers have lost mass in the past. Given that glaciers are highly impacted by the surrounding climate, human-influenced global warming may be partly responsible for mass loss. However, previous research studies have been limited to analyzing the past several decades, and it remains unclear whether past glacier mass losses are within the range of natural internal climate variability. Here, we apply an optimal fingerprinting technique to observed and reconstructed mass losses as well as multi-model general circulation model (GCM) simulations of mountain glacier mass to detect and attribute past glacier mass changes. An 8,800-year control simulation of glaciers enabled us to evaluate detectability. The results indicate that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the decreased area-weighted average masses of 85 analyzed glaciers. The effect was larger than the mass increase caused by natural forcing, although the contributions of natural and anthropogenic forcing to decreases in mass varied at the local scale. We also showed that the detection of anthropogenic or natural influences could not be fully attributed when natural internal climate variability was taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29723
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 20
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

radiative forcing
Northern Hemisphere
glacier
mountain
climate
loss
simulation
general circulation model
global warming
greenhouse gas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Contributions of natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing to mass loss of Northern Hemisphere mountain glaciers and quantifying their uncertainties. / Hirabayashi, Yukiko; Nakano, Kazunari; Zhang, Yong; Watanabe, Satoshi; Tanoue, Masahiro; Kanae, Shinjiro.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, 29723, 20.07.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{0facba2aa87f4d41b8e1820f2f03c672,
title = "Contributions of natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing to mass loss of Northern Hemisphere mountain glaciers and quantifying their uncertainties",
abstract = "Observational evidence indicates that a number of glaciers have lost mass in the past. Given that glaciers are highly impacted by the surrounding climate, human-influenced global warming may be partly responsible for mass loss. However, previous research studies have been limited to analyzing the past several decades, and it remains unclear whether past glacier mass losses are within the range of natural internal climate variability. Here, we apply an optimal fingerprinting technique to observed and reconstructed mass losses as well as multi-model general circulation model (GCM) simulations of mountain glacier mass to detect and attribute past glacier mass changes. An 8,800-year control simulation of glaciers enabled us to evaluate detectability. The results indicate that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the decreased area-weighted average masses of 85 analyzed glaciers. The effect was larger than the mass increase caused by natural forcing, although the contributions of natural and anthropogenic forcing to decreases in mass varied at the local scale. We also showed that the detection of anthropogenic or natural influences could not be fully attributed when natural internal climate variability was taken into account.",
author = "Yukiko Hirabayashi and Kazunari Nakano and Yong Zhang and Satoshi Watanabe and Masahiro Tanoue and Shinjiro Kanae",
year = "2016",
month = "7",
day = "20",
doi = "10.1038/srep29723",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
journal = "Scientific Reports",
issn = "2045-2322",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Contributions of natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing to mass loss of Northern Hemisphere mountain glaciers and quantifying their uncertainties

AU - Hirabayashi, Yukiko

AU - Nakano, Kazunari

AU - Zhang, Yong

AU - Watanabe, Satoshi

AU - Tanoue, Masahiro

AU - Kanae, Shinjiro

PY - 2016/7/20

Y1 - 2016/7/20

N2 - Observational evidence indicates that a number of glaciers have lost mass in the past. Given that glaciers are highly impacted by the surrounding climate, human-influenced global warming may be partly responsible for mass loss. However, previous research studies have been limited to analyzing the past several decades, and it remains unclear whether past glacier mass losses are within the range of natural internal climate variability. Here, we apply an optimal fingerprinting technique to observed and reconstructed mass losses as well as multi-model general circulation model (GCM) simulations of mountain glacier mass to detect and attribute past glacier mass changes. An 8,800-year control simulation of glaciers enabled us to evaluate detectability. The results indicate that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the decreased area-weighted average masses of 85 analyzed glaciers. The effect was larger than the mass increase caused by natural forcing, although the contributions of natural and anthropogenic forcing to decreases in mass varied at the local scale. We also showed that the detection of anthropogenic or natural influences could not be fully attributed when natural internal climate variability was taken into account.

AB - Observational evidence indicates that a number of glaciers have lost mass in the past. Given that glaciers are highly impacted by the surrounding climate, human-influenced global warming may be partly responsible for mass loss. However, previous research studies have been limited to analyzing the past several decades, and it remains unclear whether past glacier mass losses are within the range of natural internal climate variability. Here, we apply an optimal fingerprinting technique to observed and reconstructed mass losses as well as multi-model general circulation model (GCM) simulations of mountain glacier mass to detect and attribute past glacier mass changes. An 8,800-year control simulation of glaciers enabled us to evaluate detectability. The results indicate that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the decreased area-weighted average masses of 85 analyzed glaciers. The effect was larger than the mass increase caused by natural forcing, although the contributions of natural and anthropogenic forcing to decreases in mass varied at the local scale. We also showed that the detection of anthropogenic or natural influences could not be fully attributed when natural internal climate variability was taken into account.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84978819022&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84978819022&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/srep29723

DO - 10.1038/srep29723

M3 - Article

VL - 6

JO - Scientific Reports

JF - Scientific Reports

SN - 2045-2322

M1 - 29723

ER -