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18 Jun 2017

China plans scientific expedition to Tibet after nearly 40 years

CPEC included in China's scientific expedition to Tibet

China has included the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, an area earmarked under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of a scientific expedition to study climatic, environmental and biodiversity changes in the region over the past few decades.

The region adjacent to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is known "as the roof of the world".

Let's see what the Chinese scientists plan to study!

In context

CPEC included in China's scientific expedition to Tibet
Why is the study being conducted?


Why is the study being conducted?

The first expedition to study the region was conducted back in the 1970s.

According to Yao Tandong, director of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the scientists intend to study the changes that have occurred in the plateau since the last expedition and the ways to cope with them.

It covers four areas including climate change and plateau glaciers.


The Qinghai-Tibetan plateau

The Qinghai-Tibetan plateau is the world's largest and highest plateau. It stretches through most of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, to Central Asia and Ladakh, part of Jammu & Kashmir in India.

The plateau is home to thousands of glaciers and feeds massive rivers including the Brahmaputra and Yangtze.

Impact of global warming on the glaciers is a subject of great scientific interest.

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What changes have occurred over the past few years?

The expansion in volume of 1000 lakes in Tibet to 100 billion cubic metres in three decades can be taken as an indicator of glaciers melting. Xu Baqing, another scientist with the expedition notes that the plateau has also gotten warmer and humid over time.

What are the highlights of the study?


What are the highlights of the study?

The study attempts to measure ecological changes and its possible link to flooding and drought in the eastern low-lying areas.

They further intend to drill ice cores in three major glacier groups in the plateau to study the impact of climate change.

Archaeological studies further intend to explore various historical and anthropological questions including where did the region's inhabitants come from.

Expected outcomes

The data will be used to draw a topographic map of the region and also formulate proposals for conservation and mindful exploitation of resources. The research on biodiversity further intends to put together a habitat map for tourism and conservation purposes.

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