2nd CAS-NASA Workshop on Earth Observation for Global Change in High Mountain Asia Convenes in USA

Source:   Date:2015-09-28

Sponsored by CAS and the US NASA, the 2nd Joint Workshop on Snow and Glacier Change and Related Natural Disasters in High Mountain Asia (HMA) was held on September 9, 2015 in California, the United States. Co-organized by the CAS Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) and the Earth Sciences Division of NASA, the three-day workshop brought together more than 50 experts in the field from several research institutes and universities of the two countries.
The workshop focused on the key science questions of how and why the glaciers and seasonal snow cover of the HMA region are changing; what is the ultimate fate of HMA glaciers and snow cover; and how those changes are affecting and will continue to impact the hydrology, ecosystem and risk of natural hazards in the region.
Within the framework of the China-US Joint Announcement on Climate Change and Cooperation between China and US Governments on Civil Space Technology, the workshop was aimed at promoting substantial Sino-US cooperation in the studies of glacier and snow cover and their secondary disasters by using Earth observation technology.
In their opening remarks, Mr. CAO Jinghua, Deputy Director of the CAS Bureau of International Cooperation, and Mr. Michael Freilich, Director of the NASA Earth Sciences Division, called on Chinese and US scientists to deepen their cooperative research into such scientific question as major characteristics of glacier and snow cover change, modeling systems and lower reach responses. They envisaged an early completion of the white paper on earth observation for glaciers by scientists of the two countries.
Prof. GUO Huadong, Director-General of AIR, reported the research advances of the Chinese team since the first workshop, which took place early this year in Nepal. Since the two sides have made progress in developing series of technologies, methods and modellings for Earth observation in the region, he suggested, the next move should place importance on the integration and complementation of the methods and theories of CAS and NASA.
Jeff Dozier, former chief scientist for NASA’s Earth Observing System and currently a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, gave an account of the research progress made by US scientists on glaciers, snow cover and related natural disasters.
The three working groups delivered reports on process research and modeling, data sharing and exchange, and validation, respectively. Plenary and panel discussions focused on a variety of topics ranging from science questions and theoretical modeling of glacier and snow cover change in the region, capacity to collect variables sensitive to global change from space and the methods of Earth observation for their influence (mostly disasters and ecological impacts) on lower reaches, to the development of multi-source Earth observation parameter sets and their validation.
The joint working team held that glacier and snow cover are significant for hydrology and natural disaster studies in the region, and priority should be given to the better understanding of the current situations of glaciers and seasonal snow cover over HMA and their spatial-temporal changes, and the mechanisms behind Earth observation for the impact of the changes on the region’s hydrology, ecosystem and risk of natural hazards.
The next step is to pool the advantages of the two sides in Earth observation and glacier and snow cover studies, develop decision support tools for the sustainable development of the region, and promote the establishment of a mechanism underlying the long-term Sino-US cooperation on global change over HMA.
It is decided at the conference that the third workshop will be held in March 2016 in China.

A group photo of the workshop participants