WET Project

Variability and Trends in Water Balance Components of Benchmark Drainage Basins
on the Tibetan Plateau

Study Region
Fig.1: Research region with detailed benchmark drainage basins.
© Chair of Climatology TU Berlin

The project was part of the BMBF F&E (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Forschung & Entwicklung) cooperative project: ‘Tibet and Central Asia: Monsoon Dynamics and Geo-Ecosystems’ (CAME) .

Recent changes in the Tibetan Plateau hydrological cycle are threatening local populations and impacts the livelihood of millions of people in surrounding regions.

With a cooperation of six German Universities and Chinese partners of the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) , the WET project investigated the coupling of climate and hydrological cycles on the example of benchmark drainage basins on the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent mountain ranges (Fig. 1). The selected drainage basins are hydrological systems with glaciers, lakes, rivers and wetlands with characteristic structural properties for the Tibetan Plateau.

The main objective of the WET project was the development of an integrative Model- and Research System (iMoRe-WET), which combines numerical models and satellite observations for the monitoring of all relevant atmospheric, hydrological and glaciological variables. This system provides and analyses spatially distributed data sets of the major hydrological components (precipitation, evaporation, snow accumulation and melt, river discharge...) for the last decade and will eventually become a tool for real-time monitoring and sensitivity analysis.