The Tibetan Plateau (TP), known as the "Third Pole" of the world, is not only the highest plateau on planet Earth, but it is also considered the "Asian Water Tower". Its watershed nourishes more than ten major rivers in Asia.
Scientists are racing to understand the "Third Pole", because the TP, like the North and South Poles, is also extremely vulnerable to climate change. Glaciers on the TP have been retreating extensively in recent decades. Atmospheric warming, circulation changes associated with increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, aerosols in the atmosphere, and light-absorbing particles, such as black carbon and dust on snow are all contributing to glacial retreat. Many researchers have curated their "Third Pole" climate studies into a special issue of Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
The cover of the special issue on Third Pole Atmospheric Physics, Chemistry, and Hydrology. (Image by Advances in Atmospheric Sciences)
"This special issue focuses on the analysis of observational and modelling data to better understand the roles that the Tibetan Plateau plays in Asia's climate and even globally." said Prof. ZHAO Chun with the University of Science and Technology of China, and one of the guest editors of the special issue.
A video introducing studies conducted by CAS scientist and published in the special issue. (All rights reserved: ScienceApe)
Regarding the TP's future climatology as indicated in the preface
of the special issue, so far, scientists have not reached a consensus on a robust method of obtaining reliable climate projections. A complete physical attribution of climate change over the TP needs further analysis. The studies published in the special issue also suggest that the regional feedbacks from topography, snow cover, and the chemical-radiative-dynamical coupling processes are critical processes in climate systems. Future research should aim to better resolve these parameters to improve simulations of regional climate and air quality over the TP.
Scientists from the CAS Institutes, and universities and operational centers in the United States, the Netherlands, and China contribute to the special issue. They hope the special issue will reach out to researchers and the public to champion and safeguard our Third Pole of the Earth.
Media contact: Ms. LIN Zheng, firstname.lastname@example.org