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Influence of ENSO and PDO on mountain glaciers in the outer tropics: case studies in Bolivia

Veettil, Bijeesh Kozhikkodan, Bremer, Ulisses Franz, de Souza, Sergio Florêncio, Maier, Éder Leandro Bayer, Simões, Jefferson Cardia
Theoretical and applied climatology 2016 v.125 no.3-4 pp. 757-768
El Nino, Landsat, altitude, case studies, cold, data collection, dry season, glaciers, meteorological data, mountains, phase transition, spatial data, temperature, tropics, Andes region, Bolivia
This paper emphasize on the observational investigation of an ice-covered volcano and two glaciated mountains in the Central Andes from 1984 to 2011. Annual snowlines of the Nevado Sajama in the Cordillera Occidental and the Nevado Cololo and the Nevado Huanacuni in the Cordillera Apolobamba in Bolivia were calculated using remote sensing data. Landsat TM, Landsat ETM+, and LISS-III images taken during the end of dry season were used in this study. Changes in the highest annual snowline during May–September is used an indirect measure of the changes in the equilibrium line altitude of the glaciers in the outer tropics. We tried to understand the combined influence of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on the variations in the annual snowline altitude of the selected glaciers. Meteorological data in the form of gridded datasets were used for calculating the anomalies in precipitation and temperature during the study period. It is found that the glaciated areas were fluctuated with the occurrence of warm and cold phase of ENSO but the magnitude of the influence of ENSO is observed to be controlled by the phase changes of PDO. Snowline of the Nevado Sajama fluctuated heavily when cold and warm phases of ENSO occur during the cold and warm regimes of PDO, respectively. Nevado Cololo and Nevado Huanacuni are showing a continuous retreating trend during the same period. This clearly indicates that the changes in the Pacific SST patterns have more influence on glaciers in the Cordillera Occidental compared with those in the Cordillera Oriental of the Bolivian Andes.