A New “Polar” Program: Third Pole Environment (TPE) Workshop; Beijing, China, 14–16 August 2009



The highland core of Asia—the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and the mountain ranges that surround it—has a large and complex cryosphere, which alone would earn it the title the “Third Pole” and justify greater attention. Like the other two poles, a geographic shift in the freezing line will drastically change the cryosphere, the water cycle, and the biosphere. Unlike the other two poles, the Third Pole is inhabited, and a considerable fraction of humanity in South Asia and East Asia depends on its resources, especially its water. To launch an international research program to study this important region, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP) hosted the Third Pole Environment (TPE) Workshop in Beijing. Approximately 70 scientists from 15 different countries attended the workshop.