Research Topic

Climatic and Associated Cryospheric and Hydrospheric Changes on the Third Pole

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About this Research Topic

The Third Pole (TP) is the high-elevation area in Asia centered on the Tibetan Plateau and is home to around 1,000,000 km2 of glaciers, containing the largest volumes of ice outside the polar regions. It is the source of all the major Asian rivers and serves as the main source of water for nearly ...

The Third Pole (TP) is the high-elevation area in Asia centered on the Tibetan Plateau and is home to around 1,000,000 km2 of glaciers, containing the largest volumes of ice outside the polar regions. It is the source of all the major Asian rivers and serves as the main source of water for nearly 1.4 billion people. TP is covered by snow, glaciers, permafrost, and seasonally frozen ground. It exerts a profound climatic influence on adjacent and distant world regions due to the environmental and climatic influences of the Indian monsoon, East Asian monsoon, and westerlies on the TP.

TP is getting warmer and wetter, and air temperature has increased significantly, particularly since the 1980s. Most significant warming trends have occurred in the northern TP. Slight increases in precipitation have occurred over the entire TP with clear spatial variability. Intensification of surface air temperature is associated with variation in precipitation and decreases in snow cover depth, spatial extent, and persistence. Rising surface temperatures have caused recession of glaciers, permafrost thawing, and thickening of the active layers over the permafrost. This special issue aims to cover recent climate changes over TP and associated responses of cryospheric and hydrological variables. It focuses on surface air temperature, precipitation, seasonal snow cover, mountain glaciers, permafrost, lakes, and streamflow changes.

We welcome contributions on recent climate changes over the Third Pole (TP) and associated responses of cryospheric and hydrological variables, which could boost our understanding of significant cryosphere and hydrosphere changes over TP under climate change. This Research Topic includes, but is not limited to, the following themes:
• Novel approach to study the variation in river discharges;
• Lake variation and their impacts on regional climate;
• Change in glacier and snow as well as their contribution to water resources;
• Evolution of permafrost and seasonal frozen soil as well as their impacts on hydrology;
• Projection of the changes in cryosphere and their impacts on society under 1.5 or 2 ℃ global warming;
• Studies in regional climate change;
• Vegetation/land cover change and the impact on regional water cycle; and
• Remote-sensing based methodology in studying regional water cycle.

All article types are welcome, and we particularly encourage Original Research, Reviews and Perspectives.


Keywords: the Third Pole, river, lake, glacier, snow, permafrost


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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