About forty international scientists from different countries in the world gathered in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 29-30 to discuss climate change impacts on the Third Pole and how the region and societies in the region might respond.
This is the ninth Third Pole Environment (TPE) workshop since its start in 2009 and focuses on the integration of existing knowledge on the observed and expected impact as well as adaptation to climate change on the Tibetan Plateau system. Through the development of scenarios under the RCP-scenarios 2.6 and 8.5 of IPCC-AR5, for the future of ice, water, geo-ecosystems and human activities on the Tibetan Plateau for the years till 2100, this workshop aimed to propose possible adaptation strategies taking sustainable development goals (SDGs) for the region into consideration.
"Third Pole environment changes will affect not only China, but also Asia or even the entire globe.” said Prof. Tandong Yao of the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Co- chair of the TPE program, "This region wins its reputation as the Third Pole, because like the Arctic and Antarctica, it has an important global impact."
Prof. Tandong Yao giving a keynote on the impact of climate change on Asian water towers
The Third Pole, the vast region encompassing Earth’s highest mountain ranges in the great Asian mountain system, is a myriad of inhospitable physical landscapes. Cooperative, multinational and transboundary research on the area’s uniquely dynamic environmental processes is needed to tackle extremely challenging and increasingly pressing scientific questions of societal relevance. The TPE program was established in 2009 by Profs. Tandong Yao, Lonnie G. Thompson, and Volker Mosbrugger in response to the demand for heightened scientific coverage of the largely-glaciated region which aptly bears the moniker “Asia’s Water tower.”
“Climate change is happening here and now and we are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts.” remarked another co-chair of the TPE program, Prof. Lonnie G. Thompson of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, Ohio State University.
TPE has hosted eight international workshops since 2009, bringing together scientists and stakeholders from all over the world to discuss past, current and planned research initiatives in the Third Pole. “This workshop orients itself as a synthesis workshop, with the publication of synthesis papers on high-impact journals as its goal” said co- chair of the TPE program, Prof. Volker Mosbrugger.
“I see this program as very interesting in three ways,” said Prof. Deliang Chen of University of Gothenburg, “high internationalization degree, timely scientific question of common concerns and significant implications for people in the region and beyond. “
Another noteworthy event taking place during this workshop was the official opening of the German TPE office based at the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research. This is its fifth TPE office of TPE, with the other four located in, respectively, Beijing/China, Kathmandu/Nepal, Columbus/U.S., and Gothenburg/Sweden. The German TPE office will be mainly engaged in young scientists’ education, knowledge transfer and outreach. An MoU was also signed during this workshop, and will contribute to the joint cultivation of German young scientists interested in earth science research on the Third Pole.
Unveiling ceremony of the TPE German Center at Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (from right to leftt: Volker Mosbrugger, Deliang Chen, Andreas Mulch, Tandong Yao, Lonnie G. Thompson and Fahu Chen)
"We always pay special attention to the collaboration with Chinese scientists and will continue doing so in the future." said Prof. Andreas Mulch, vice general director of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research.