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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014, Article ID 215162, 12 pages
Research Article

Accumulation Studies at a High Elevation Glacier Site in Central Karakoram

1Commission for Geodesy and Glaciology, Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Alfons-Goppel Straße 11, 80539 München, Germany
2Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
3Paul Scherrer Institute, Labor für Radio- und Umweltchemie, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
4Associazione EvK2CNR, Via San Bernardino 145, 24126 Bergamo, Italy
5Institut für Umweltsozialwissenschaften und Geographie, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Werthmannstraße 4, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
6OECOS GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
7Ardito Desio Earth Sciences Department, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Mangiagalli 34, 20133 Milan, Italy

Received 4 July 2014; Accepted 26 August 2014; Published 17 September 2014

Academic Editor: Eduardo García-Ortega

Copyright © 2014 Christoph Mayer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The precipitation conditions in central Karakoram are investigated on the basis of snow samples from high elevated snow pits at Urdok glacier from 2006 and the analysis of atmospheric transport trajectories in combination with the general, large scale pressure distribution. Our analysis shows that accumulation at the high elevated regions of the central Karakoram is dominated by the west wind circulation (WWC). Incursions of the South Asian monsoon (SAM) occur sometimes during the summer months accompanied by strong precipitation but play a minor role for the total accumulation amount. Dust layers found in the snow pits show a rare earth elements signature which indicates that the dust very likely originates from the arid regions of western China and Central Asia. Our trajectory calculations based on NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data confirm that especially during late spring and early summer the westerly flow is redirected over the Tarim basin to reach central Karakoram from an East/Southeast direction. The preservation of the layer structure and the clear seasonal signals in the snow pits indicate that locations above 5200 m in central Karakoram will be suitable places for retrieving longer climate records from ice cores.