Nav: Home

A 3D view of climatic behavior at the third pole

June 19, 2019

Research across several areas of the "Third Pole" - the high-mountain region centered on the Tibetan Plateau - shows a seasonal cycle in how near-surface temperature changes with elevation. Near-surface temperature, which reflects the energy balance at the land surface, is crucial because it drives climate processes.

The research was conducted by a team led by Dr. D. B. Kattel, a researcher at the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology, with Dr. Kattel as the lead author.

The Third Pole stores more snow and ice than anywhere else in the world outside the Arctic and the Antarctic, thus earning it the "Third Pole" sobriquet.

The unique cryospheric (i.e., involving frozen water) processes at the Third Pole make the area particularly sensitive to global environmental changes. Slight changes in climate can result in large-scale melting of glaciers, permafrost and persistent snow, thus altering the land-surface energy balance at the Third Pole and air and water cycles in the region and beyond.

As many major Asian rivers originate from Third Pole glaciers - thus making the area the "water tower of Asia" - changes in such glaciers can be felt ecologically and economically through those rivers by almost one-fifth of the world's population across more than 10 countries.

In his most recent research, Dr. Kattel and his team examined 53 in situ climate records from Pakistan. Combining these data with climate records from Nepal, Bhutan and the southeastern Tibetan Plateau, the team identified different forces behind variations in near-surface temperature with elevation, time and space, thus offering a three-dimensional view of climatic behavior on the Third Pole.

For example, their research showed different factors controlling temperature variability in the northern and southern slopes of the Himalayas.

"The monsoon controls the near-surface temperature throughout the region during summer," said Dr. Kattel. "However, micro- and topoclimatic effects are [a stronger influence on] minimum temperature on the southern slopes and the maximum temperature on the northern slopes of the Himalayas."

These results provide a more accurate basis than earlier studies for modeling and prediction related to glacier movement, forestry as well as agriculture at the Third Pole, all of which are very sensitive to temperature.
-end-


Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

Related Glaciers Articles:

New 'law' to explain how glaciers flow over soft ground
Addressing a major source of uncertainty in glacier-flow models, researchers present a new slip law to describe glaciers sliding on soft, deformable material.
Melting glaciers will challenge some salmon populations and benefit others
A new Simon Fraser University-led study looking at the effects that glacier retreat will have on western North American Pacific salmon predicts that while some salmon populations may struggle, others may benefit.
How the ocean is gnawing away at glaciers
The Greenland Ice Sheet is melting faster today than it did only a few years ago.
Last remaining glaciers in the Pacific will soon melt away
The last remaining tropical glaciers between the Himalayas and the Andes will disappear in the next decade -- and possibly sooner -- due to climate change, a new study has found.
Drones help map Iceland's disappearing glaciers
Dr. Kieran Baxter from the University of Dundee has created composite images that compare views from 1980s aerial surveys to modern-day photos captured with the help of state-of-the-art technology.
Disappearing Peruvian glaciers
It is common knowledge that glaciers are melting in most areas across the globe.
New insight into glaciers regulating global silicon cycling
A new review of silicon cycling in glacial environments, led by scientists from the University of Bristol, highlights the potential importance of glaciers in exporting silicon to downstream ecosystems.
Tidewater glaciers: Melting underwater far faster than previously estimated?
A tidewater glacier in Alaska is melting underwater at rates upwards of two orders of magnitude greater than what is currently estimated, sonar surveys reveal.
Asia's glaciers provide buffer against drought
A new study to assess the contribution that Asia's high mountain glaciers make to relieving water stress in the region is published this week (May 29, 2019) in the journal Nature.
Melting small glaciers could add 10 inches to sea levels
A new review of glacier research data paints a picture of a future planet with a lot less ice and a lot more water.
More Glaciers News and Glaciers Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.