Amplified warming over the Third Pole and its impact
Prof. Deliang Chen
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
The Third Pole (TP) is the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau and all the mountain ranges that surround it. It is the highest and most extensive highland in the world and contains the most glacially-stored fresh water (snow and ice) outside of the Arctic and the Antarctic. The headwater areas of the major rivers in Asia including Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Brahmaputra and Indus, are all located in the region. It is experiencing rapid warming and at its warmest period in the past 2000 years. In 2009, a group of scientists from more than 10 countries initiated an international research program called Third Pole Environment (TPE). This is an international program in which Chinese scientists have being instrumental and leading. During 2013 and 2015 some 100 scientists from the TPE community mainly from China organized an IPCC-like process to systematically assess the past changes and future outlooks for climate, water bodies, ecosystems, land surface, human activities, geo-hazards, and risks in the TP (陈德亮, 徐柏青, 姚檀栋, 郭正堂, 崔鹏, 陈发虎, 张人禾, 张宪州, 张镱锂, 樊杰, 侯增谦, 张天华, 2015: 青藏高原环境变化科学评估: 过去、现在与未来. 科学通报, doi: 10.1360/N972014-01370). This talk will provide an overview of what we have learned about the environmental changes over the TP with a focus on climate and water cycle under the elevated warming. Further, future development and outlook will also be discussed, based on the latest development in multi-disciplinary researches in the TPE community. Particularly, a recently started Pan-TPE program will be introduced.