Year of selection 2014
Institution The University of Hong Kong
Country Hong Kong
The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), which is termed as the 3rd pole of the earth, is known as the water tower of Asia. The ice stored in the QTP is the third-largest in the world. Due to global warming, the ice and glaciers in the QTP is undergoing a melting process. This process may have an important influence on the groundwater flow systems in Asia. Climate changes have been found to have a significant impact on basin-scale and continentalscale groundwater flow systems. Large-scale numerical models coupling the groundwater flow and glaciation will be used to investigate how ice melting in the QTP controls the groundwater flow systems in Asia by considering the complex processes involved during periods of glaciation and ice melting. Key processes that must be considered in such a continental-scale three-dimensional (3D) numerical model will be examined, including subglacial infiltration, density-dependent groundwater flow, permafrost evolution, isostasy, and ice sheet loading.
This is the first study to explore the impact of climate change induced ice melting in the QTP on 3D continental groundwater flow systems in Asia. Successful completion of this study will improve our understanding of the response of continental groundwater flow systems to climate change. Furthermore, the study will also help understand the evolution of the groundwater flow systems in the future. This research project has not only theoretical but also practical significances in the environmentally and ecologically sensitive plateau which provides water for many world-class rivers.
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