8. August 2019 | Press releases:

Exploration of the Third Pole Second expedition of the International Research Training Group to Tibet

In August 2019, doctoral students and professors of the international research training group TransTiP will embark on their second expedition to Tibet. “TransTiP” stands for “Geo-ecosystems in transition on the Tibetan Plateau” and deals with the changes of the geoecosystems on the Tibetan Plateau in China. The main focus is on the investigation of sediment fluxes, carbon fluxes and water fluxes as well as water quality in and around Lake Nam Co.

The Tibetan Plateau is of great importance for the global water and energy balance and is home to one of the most sensitive geo-ecosystems. This high mountain region in South Asia – the Hindukush-Karakorum-Himalaya region – is also known as the third pole: It stores more snow and ice than any other region on earth except the North and South Poles. As a result, the Tibetan Highlands are particularly sensitive to climate change, which makes them important for the analysis of climate impacts. In this “natural laboratory”, the international research team aims to quantify the extent and causes of short- and long-term changes in sediment and carbon fluxes and water availability with high temporal and spatial resolution.

This year, the trip begins with a two-week summer school in Chengdu, China, the city of the panda bears. The “2019 TPE & TransTiP Science and Technology Training” will take place from 12 to 23 August 2019 and will bring together 85 young scientists from China, Germany, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Iran and Singapore.

The summer school will include an excursion to the Hailuogou Glacier in the Gongga Mountains and to the 2,000-year-old Dujiangyan irrigation system. The summer school is supported by the Sino-German-Center, the TPE Programme (Third Pole Environment) and TransTiP.

Following the summer school, the TransTiP scientists will leave for Lhasa on 25 August 2019, from where the field work will start. This year a total of 22 researchers from Germany are on their way to Nam Co, the second largest salt lake on the Tibetan Plateau. They will work on their research projects on the Zhadang Glacier, the surrounding steppes and wetlands and on the lake. They will return at the end of September 2019.

About the Research Training Group

The Research Training Group “Geoecosystems in Transition on the Tibet Plateau” (TransTiP) is a cooperation of German and Chinese institutions under the auspices of the Technische Universität Braunschweig. Spokesperson of the research training group is Professor Antje Schwalb from the Institute of Geosystems and Bioindication. TransTiP is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), started in January 2018 and runs until June 30, 2022.

The Leibniz University Hannover, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ Potsdam), the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER) of CAS in Lanzhou and Lanzhou University are involved.