Dynamic Response of Glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau to Climate Change

Tibet Panorama

DynRG-TiP Project (finished)

The project took part within the DFG (Deutsche Forschung Gemeinschaft) Priority Programme 1372: “Tibetan Plateau: Formation-Climate-Ecosystems” (TiP).

Zhadang Glacier
Fig.1: One day on Zhadang Glacier,
click to start animation!

Like Antarctica and the Arctic, the Tibetan Plateau (TiP) is a key area of the globe. It is a determining factor for the Asian Monsoon system, and its glaciers are characteristic elements of the natural environment, forming water resources of cardinal importance for both ecosystems and millions of people living in the surrounding regions.

Within a large consortium of Chinese and German research teams, the TU Berlin, in association with the TU Dresden and the RWTH Aachen focused on the Glaciers evolution and response in the last decades.

Because of their remoteness, relatively few is known about Tibetan glacier´s response to climate change: this encouraged further studies of high relevance. The central goal of the project was to improve our understanding of atmosphere-cryosphere interactions on the TiP by adding new data and improved methods combining field studies (meteorology and climatology, glaciology and glacial hydrology), remote sensing and numerical modelling.

Field studies and remote sensing analyses were focused on glaciers in the Nyainqentanglha Mountains near Nam Co, where the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) operates a research station.

Events and Activities:

Research Activities:

Field Investigations

Three field campaigns where carried out in close cooperation with the ITP, they ended successfully with the installation of two Automatic Weather Stations on the Zhadang Glacier.

Field Investigations
Remote Sensing

Remote sensing techniques are essential for all research activities within the project. A glacier inventory for the whole Nyainqentanglha range was generated using automated remote sensing and GIS.

Remote Sensing
Numerical Modelling

Regional Atmospheric Modelling

Glaciological Modelling

A framework combining glaciological and atmospherical models is currently in development. The system is based on the state-of-the-art Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) modeling system.

Numerical Modelling

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Postal address:

Fachgebiet Klimatologie
Institut für Ökologie
TU Berlin
Rothenburgstraße 12
D-12165 Berlin



Elke Thiessenhusen

room: AB1-110
opening hours:
Monday - Thursday
9 - 14
Tel: +49-(0)30-314-73195
Fax: +49-(0)30-314-71355

Scientific work at Uni Zürich:

Press Releases:

Informationsdienst Wissenschaft: Deutsche Wissenschaftler forschen auf "Labor-Gletscher" in Zentralasien

Research in Germany: German researchers work on "laboratory glacier" in Central Asia