Held in Beijing, China, this workshop’s mission was to encourage the initiation and interest in establishing a research program dedicated to the Third Pole region. 70 scientists from 15 countries gathered in Beijing with the following intentions:
– Discuss the status of current research most relevant to the Third Pole region.
– Assess the multi-institutional interest in future research projects relating to the Third Pole.
– Provide an open forum for the discussion of current and past scientific investigations within the Third Pole region in order to prioritize future research directions.
– Articulate the suggestions and voice the support in launching a long-term multi-national research program dedicated to the Third Pole environment.
The successful academic exchanges, discussions, and planning of the Third Pole Environment research program resulted from the efforts and ideas of researchers from the international scientific community. The significant turnout of scientists from 15 countries highlighted the importance of the Third Pole region and the growing interest in a more complete understanding of the processes and interactions observed in this unique high mountain region. A recurring theme of discussion was the importance of integrating the various scientific projects, data sets, and goals relevant to the Third Pole region.
The first day of the workshop was dedicated to presentations that provided a framework for the relevant scientific topics and questions. A wide range of presentations formed a solid background for the workshop discussions to follow. Prior and ongoing research relevant to the Third Pole was presented in the context of local, regional, and global perspectives. In addition, suggestions for future research and project directions were put forth. Workshop participants have kindly made the academic presentations available online, which can be accessed through the TPE website here.
1) What and how have environmental and ecological changes occurred on different time scales in the past?
2) What are the characteristics of water and energy cycles and what are their relationships to the Indian monsoon?
3) How will TPE ecosystems by impacted global warming, especially at high elevations?
4) What are the environmental impacts of glacial retreat and mass balance changes in terms of water and energy cycle components?
5) What are the consequences of anthropogenic activity in the region and how to deal with them?
With regard to a deepened human understanding of the TPE as the final goal of the workshop, participants suggested involving more organizations, academic and interest groups to conduct the multidisciplinary study of water-ice-air-ecology-human interactions. A long-term perspective was planned for the project, though in the near future collaborative focuses will be on joint expeditions covering Third Pole transects, establishment of observation stations and data sharing platforms, hosting summer schools for young scientists from involved nations, and organization of science committee comprised of expert from a broad range of nations and academic interests.
These topics were discussed in more detail during individual sessions throughout the second day. If you are interested in obtaining transcriptions of specific workshop discussions, please contact the TPE program office at email@example.com.
The first TPE workshop concluded on August 16, 2009 with all participants encouraged by the expressed interest and motivation of those who attended. The goals of the workshop were successfully achieved through the sharing of academic research, the discussion of priority scientific topics within the Third Pole Region, and significant dialog regarding the planning and future directions of the TPE program. With the TPE project initiated, the following lead Science Committee members were nominated: Tandong Yao (Chair), Lonnie G. Thompson (Co-chair), and Volker Mosbrugger (Co-chair). Their responsibilities are to coordinate and nominate other members of the Science Committee. To support regional activities, workshops, web development, and research dissemination, a TPE program office was established in Beijing with the support of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The breadth of scientific and environmental questions opened for discussion highlighted the uniqueness of the TPE program as a total environmental study of the past, ongoing, and future environmental changes affecting the Third Pole region and its inhabitants. To continue the development and progress of the TPE program, the 2nd workshop was plannedto take place in 2010. Participants agreed that the second TPE workshop should be hosted in Kathmandu, Nepal, with a target timeframe of November, 2010.
A TPE newsletter is scheduled for distribution in December. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please email the TPE office at the address listed below.
For additional information regarding the first TPE workshop or the Third Pole Environment research program in general, please contact the program office:
Address: No.18, Shuangqing Rd., Beijing, China
P.O. Box 2871, Beijing, 100085, P.R. China
Phone: +86-10-6284 9309
Fax: +86-10-6284 9886