Impacts from changes in the cryosphere on the biota and societies in the arid Central Asia

Topic leader
Dahe Qin
The Central Asian cryosphere  (CAC) is highly relevant to regional weather/climate and is a critical source for water for the most populated region of the world. Eight large rivers originate from (CAC): among them, the Yangtze and Yellow rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean; the Ganges, Indus, Yarlung Zangbo/Brahmaputra and Lantsang/Meikong rivers flow into the Indian Ocean; while the Ob and Yenisei rivers flow into the Arctic Ocean. Interior rivers originating from high altitudes feed large oases in the hinterland of Asia.

The largest basin, Tarim River Basin, has a large population (about 20 million people), along with the Hexi Corridor (5 million people). Life would not exist in these dry basins without snow/ice in the high mountains. Cryospheric changes in High Asia directly impacts sustainable development in the local and adjacent regions, along with potential socio-economic impacts on downstream regions.

In the last several years, within the framework of the IGBP synthesis, several conferences and workshops have been organised in China under the auspices of the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences (SKLCS).