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Nordenskjöld Lecture: Glacier melt on the Third Pole


With an average elevation above 4,000 meters, the Third Pole (TP) is a unique region with many high mountains centered on the Tibetan Plateau stretching over 5 million square kilometers. Major environmental changes are taking place on the TP characterized by complex interactions of atmospheric, cryospheric, hydrological, geological and environmental processes. These processes are critical for the well-being of the three billion people inhabiting the plateau and the surrounding regions.

Glacier melt is one of the most significant environmental changes observed on the TP. Over the past decade, most of the glaciers on the TP have undergone considerable melt. The Third Pole Environment (TPE) has focused on the causes of the glacier melt by conducting large-scale ground in-situ observation and monitoring, analyzing satellite images and remote sensing data, and applying numerical modeling to environmental research on the TP. The studies of long-term record of water stable isotopes in precipitation and ice core throughout the TP have revealed different features with regions, thus proposing significant influence of atmospheric circulations on spatial precipitation pattern over the TP. Validation of the result by isotope-equipped general circulation models confirms the spatial distribution of different atmospheric circulation dominances on the TP, with northern part dominated by the westerlies, southern part by the summer monsoon, and central part featuring the influences of both circulation systems. Such unique circulation patterns also bear directly on the status of glaciers and lakes over the TP and its surroundings. The studies therefore found the largest glacier melt in the monsoon-dominated southern part, moderate melt in the central part of transition, and the least melt, or even slight advance in the westerlies-dominated northern TP. It is clear that some mountains on the TP are undergoing rapid melt and the consequence of without ice and snow will be very soon. The glacier malt on the TP is causing to more intensified water cycles and more frequent hazards, including lake expansion, glacial lake outburst and discharge flood. Our society needs quick response to the process and to its potential consequence.

Föreläsare: Dr. Tandong Yao, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Datum: 2015-08-21

Tid: 14:00 - 15:00

Kategorier: Naturvetenskap

Plats: Geovetarcentrum, Guldhedsgatan 5 A

Kontaktperson: Deliang Chen

Sidansvarig: Robert Karlsson|Sidan uppdaterades: 2015-11-13

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