Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Chinese Version)


Asian Water Tower; natural hazards; hazard characteristics; disaster risk; climate change

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Tibetan Plateau, known as the "Asian Water Tower", has complex natural environment, significant climate differences, diverse landforms, developed glaciers, and strong crustal uplift and river undercut. It is highly prone to natural hazards, such as debris flow, flash flood, and glacial lakes outburst, which often happen suddenly, widely, causing serious damages and often with chained effects. They are mainly distributed along the fault zones and deep-incised valleys, and controlled by climatic and local hydrothermal conditions of horizontal and vertical zonality. Besides, the types of hazards, predisposing factors, and responses to climate change at different altitudes are different. Temperature and precipitation rising induced by global warming have influence on water source, materials, energy, and conditions combination, leading to more vulnerable hazard inducing environment. Global warming is inevitably leading to increased disaster risk, which will increase as population and economic volume goes up. At present, major problems in disaster risk reduction research and practices in the Tibet Plateau are lack of systematic basic data and insufficient understanding of formation mechanism. Therefore, it cannot precisely predict disaster risk under climate change or propose appropriate risk control strategies. In order to effectively deal with the increased disaster risks induced by climate change, it is of necessity to conduct comprehensive disaster investigations, utilize cutting-edge technologies to acquire first-hand disaster data, establish disaster database, improve understanding of hazard-inducing environment, formation, and evolution mechanism, understand response rules of disasters towards climate change, predict disaster development trend under climate change, develop monitoring and prevention technologies for catastrophic disasters, establish multi-national disaster risk reduction cooperation mechanisms, and improve abilities to cope with disaster risk.

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Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences


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