Articles | Volume 16, issue 3
Research article
05 Feb 2016
Research article |  | 05 Feb 2016

Observed high-altitude warming and snow cover retreat over Tibet and the Himalayas enhanced by black carbon aerosols

Y. Xu, V. Ramanathan, and W. M. Washington

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Cited articles

Bahadur, R., Praveen, P. S., Xu, Y., and Ramanathan, V.: Solar absorption by elemental and brown carbon determined from spectral observations, P. Natl. Acad. Sci., 109, 17366–17371,, 2012.
Bajracharya S. R., Pradeep K. M., and Basanta R. S.: Global climate change and melting of Himalayan glaciers. Melting glaciers and rising sea levels: Impacts and implications, edited by: Ranade, P. S., The Icfai's University Press, Punjagutta, India, 28–46, 2008.
Cheng, G. and Wu, T.: Responses of permafrost to climate change and their environmental significance, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 112, F02S03,, 2007.
Chýlek, P., Ramaswamy, V., and Srivastava, V.: Albedo of soot-contaminated snow, J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 88, 10837–10843,, 1983.
Short summary
We show that black carbon aerosol pollution is likely the dominant factor in causing the accelerated retreat of snowpack in Himalayas. The simulated snow fraction and surface albedo change at the surface, as well as the enhanced warming at higher elevations, are remarkably similar to observations in past decades. The reason for the model's ability to simulate the observed trends is that we replace the model-simulated black carbon forcing with one that is constrained by observations.
Final-revised paper