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Glacier surface albedo dominates glacier energy balance, thus strongly affecting the glacier mass balance. Glaciers in the Western Nyainqentanglha Mountains (WNM) experienced large mass losses in the past two decades, but long-term changes of glacier albedo and its drivers are less understood. In this study, we retrieved glacier albedo with MODIS reflectance data to characterize the spatiotemporal variability of albedo from 2001 to 2020. Air temperature, rainfall, snowfall and deposition of light-absorbing impurities (LAIs) were evaluated as potential drivers of the observed variability in glacier albedo. The results showed that: (1) the glacier albedo experienced large inter-annual fluctuations, with the mean albedo being 0.552 ± 0.002 and a clear decreasing trend of 0.0443 ± 2 × 10−4 dec−1 in the WNM. The fastest decline was observed in autumn and in the vicinity of the equilibrium line altitude, indicating an extended melt season and an expansion of the ablation region to higher elevation; (2) local meteorology and LAIs deposition are the main drivers of glacier albedo change, but their effects on seasonal albedos are different due to different glacier processes. Both air temperature and the balance between liquid and solid precipitation affect summer and autumn albedos due to glacier ablation. Air temperature is the main driver of spring and winter albedos due to sublimation and metamorphism of snow, while snowfall carried by westerlies has limited influence on these two seasonal albedos due to less snowfall. LAIs mainly affect spring albedo due to high concentration coupled with the southerly wind in spring. These findings highlight the significance of changes in glacier albedo and the key role of local meteorology and LAIs deposition in determining such changes, which play an important role in glaciological and cryosphere processes.
There is controversy over previous findings that a high ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes helps obese animals harvest energy from the diet. To further investigate the relationship between microbial composition and energy harvest, microbial adaptation to diet and time should be considered. In this study, lean and obese rats were successfully induced with low-fat and high-fat diets. An 8-week high soyabean fibre (HSF)-containing diet was then fed to investigate the interaction between the diet and the rats’ gut microbiota, as well as their influence on rats’ growth. Rats’ body weight (BW) was recorded weekly; their plasma lipids and their gut microbiota at week 11, 15 and 19 were analysed. After the consumption of the HSF diet, BW of lean rats increased significantly (P<0·05), but no significant alteration in BW was found in obese rats. The average content of plasma cholesterol was lowered and that of TAG was upgraded in both the groups when fed the HSF diet. There was no significant difference observed at each period between lean and obese rats. In the group of lean rats, the diversity of gut microbiota was elevated strongly (P<0·01), and bacteria from phylum Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were both increased largely (P<0·01); however, the bacterial diversity and composition in obese rats were less altered after the HSF diet control. In conclusion, the increased Firmicutes and Bacteriodetes might relate to lean rats’ higher BW gain; ‘obese microbiota’ could not help the hosts harvest more energy from the HSF diet.
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