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Scientists Evaluate Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Glacier Service Value in the Qilian Mountains



Glaciers are an important component of the cryosphere. They are not only considered to be a sensitive indicator of climate change, but also have a profound impact on the natural and human systems of the surrounding region. 

Glaciers and their meltwater play an important role in the regulation of river runoff in the arid areas of northwest China, and constitute the material and cultural basis for the sustainable development of population, resources, ecology, environment, and the socio-economy in the Hexi Corridor. 

However, as a special and important part of the ecosystem, glacier service value has not been given sufficient attention due to a lack of public awareness. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate how much glaciers contribute to human well-being. 

Recently, scientists from the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), together with their colleagues from Northwest Normal University, quantitatively evaluated the service value of glaciers in the Qilian Mountains and its spatiotemporal changes using the methods of unit area service price, value equivalent factor and glacial service value change index. 

In this study, based on the first and second glacier inventories of the Qilian Mountains, scientists established a glacier service value evaluation system, and then assessed the glacier service value and its spatiotemporal variation by combining the methods of unit area service price, value equivalent factor, and the glacier service value change index. 

This study first constructed a system to evaluate glacial service value, which was guided by theoretical work in the fields of glaciology, geography and ecological economics, which has been published in the Journal of Geographical Sciences in an article entitled “Evaluation and spatiotemporal characteristics of glacier service value in the Qilian Mountains”. 

Distribution of glaciers in the Qilian Mountains (Image by SUN Meiping) 



SUN Meiping 


Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China. 


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