Headline: Linking atmospheric pollution to cryospheric change in the Third Pole region. Current progress and future prospects

The Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings are known as the Third Pole (TP). This region is noted for its high rates of glacier melt and the associated hydrological shifts that affect water supplies in Asia. Atmospheric pollutants contribute to climatic and cryospheric changes through their effects on solar radiation and the albedos of snow and ice surfaces; moreover, the behavior and fates within the cryosphere and environmental impacts of environmental pollutants are topics of increasing concern. In this review, we introduce a coordinated monitoring and research framework and network to link atmospheric pollution and cryospheric changes (APCC) within the TP region. We then provide an up-to-date summary of progress and achievements related to the APCC research framework, including aspects of atmospheric pollution's composition and concentration, spatial and temporal variations, trans-boundary transport pathways and mechanisms, and effects on the warming of atmosphere and changing in Indian monsoon, as well as melting of glacier and snow cover. We highlight that exogenous air pollutants can enter into the TP’s environments and cause great impacts on regional climatic and environmental changes. At last, we propose future research priorities and map out an extended program at the global scale. The ongoing monitoring activities and research facilitate comprehensive studies of atmosphere–cryosphere interactions, represent one of China's key research expeditions to the TP and the polar regions and contribute to the global perspective of earth system science.

Publication Year
Publication Type
Academic Articles

Kang, S., Zhang, Q., Qian, Y., Ji, Z., Li, C., Cong, Z., Zhang, Y., Guo, J., Du, W., Huang, J., You, Q., Panday, A. K., Rupakheti, M., Chen, D., Gustafsson, Ö., Thiemens, M. H., & Qin, D. (2019). Linking atmospheric pollution to cryospheric change in the Third Pole region. Current progress and future prospects. National Science Review, 6(4), 796-809. doi:10.1093/nsr/nwz031.

Staff involved
Projects involved
A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)