From ice to microorganisms and humans: Toward an interdisciplinary understanding of climate change impacts on the Third PoleAbout Us
Toward an interdisciplinary understanding of climate change impacts on the Third Pole
Climate-induced changes are dramatic in the high mountains of Asia, but we understand them much less than those in the Arctic or Antarctic. This is despite the importance of these mountains for water supply for societal and environmental use. Supplying water to an otherwise arid region, the Pamir is one of the most important mountain water towers globally. However, the status of the cryosphere in the Pamir region is particularly uncertain due to the lack of measurements since the collapse of the Soviet Union and due to the unique diversity of icy landforms it contains, leading to complex streamflow regimes and geohazards.
The SPI Flagship Programme PAMIR is an interdisciplinary undertaking to characterize the current state of the Pamir cryosphere to an unprecedented degree, as well as its impacts on ecosystems, hazards and water resources. We will: i) extract an ice core to unlock a climate archive of the past millennium; ii) assess the distribution and state of permafrost; iii) measure the mass balance and accumulation of glaciers at a regional level; iv) establish the link between microbial adaptation and a rapidly changing cryosphere; v) disentangle regional cryospheric hazards by understanding glaciological and permafrost drivers; and finally: vi) unravel the lost history of Pamir cryospheric research. Together, these ambitious scientific objectives will generate important historic and contemporary understanding of this key headwater region, enabling a better understanding of the future of this water tower.
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Follow in the footsteps of the team from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Fribourg, who were on a scientific expedition to the Pamirs in the summer of 2022.…LEARN MORE