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Cryosphere and Hydrology


The objective of this project will be concentrated on two parts. First, this project will monitor glacier and frozen ground dynamics in the Pan Third Pole region (PTP) by the synergistic use of multi-platform earth remote sensing as well as in-situ observations. Second is to establish multi physical-based distributed models to inverse other key elements of cryosphere dynamic in PTP region, which also aims to analyze the impacts of different cryospheric component changes including exorheic region and upper basin of great rivers basing on multi-mission observations on glaciers, frozen ground and surface runoffs. Cryosphere over PTP is the largest component outside the polar regions, it dynamic and impacts on global changes are essential. In the last few decades, glaciers over PTP generally suffered from quick and heterogeneous degradation at different sub-regions and contribute greatly to sea level risings. Evidence from satellite geodesy presented that glaciers mass loss rate were accelerating in the past few decades along Himalaya. PTP is also called as Asia Water Tower because several great rivers rise from this region, its water supply safety is essential to billions of people. Water volumes for endorheic plateau lakes and surface runoffs experienced quick changes in recent decades. All these indicate the importance of monitoring cryosphere status and dynamic over the PTP and analyzing its impacts to surface hydrology. In the cryosphere key elements monitoring part, status and dynamic of the glacier and frozen ground in each sub-region of PTP including Eastern Nyainqentanglha, Himalayan, Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Pamir, Tien Shan and Inner Tibetan Plateau will be monitored with integrated earth observations including optical and microwave remote sensing as well as in-situ observations. Several new algorithms will be designed for new satellite datasets for deriving cryosphere features. Glacier equilibrium line altitude (ELA), flow rates and mass balance, frozen ground active layer thickness and ice-rich layer lost rates will be derived quantitatively at different sub-regions over PTP with various methods. In the cryospheric key elements modelling and inversion parts, we seek to employ and/or modify several empirical and/or physical-based models for simulating the key elements that can hardly be monitored by either in-situ observation or remote sensing. Afterward, we will perform GCMs to different scenarios of emission (RCPs) to project the fates of the cryosphere over the PTP and evaluating its impacts to the hydrological process in the future. Water supply safety at important irritation systems such as Indus and Yarlung Zangbo River will be analyzed. The primary goals will be: (1) A synergistic analyzing and interpretation of multi-source of optical and SAR images for the purposes of monitoring glacier outlines, summer end snowline altitudes, flow velocities, and height changes over the PTP in multi-temporal scale. (2) Applying multi-mission SAR images to monitor seasonal and decadal frozen ground changing associate with in-situ observations. (3) Inversion of glacier ice thickness, precipitations on glaciers, glacier melting, the albedo of glaciers, frozen groundwater lost rates, and their hydrological effects. (4) Simulate cryosphere fate over PTP and analyze its impacts to surface runoffs with different scenarios of radiative forcings. (5) An integrated OVGE platform for multi-dimensional visualization, geospatial analysis, dynamical modeling and decision-making for geological and environmental processes. Under the funding support from the National Basic Research Program of China (973), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Hong Kong General Research Funding, European ERC Consolidator Grant, and Horizon 2020, this project will be implemented based on the planned schedule. The potential deliverables will include new developed methodologies and an integrated OVGE analysis prototype.


PI Europe
Dr. Andrew Hooper, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK
PI China
Prof.. Hui Lin, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, CHINA