Prof. Tandong Yao

  Director, Professor, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS

 

Professional Title: Academician (member) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Research Interest:Glacier Environment and Global Change

 

Address:

  Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences,

  No. 16 Lincui Rd., Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, China

 

Tel: 0086-10-84097088 (office)

 

Fax: 0086-10-84097088

 

Email: tdyao@itpcas.ac.cn

 

Latest research effort:

  Third Pole Environment (TPE)!


The current and future environmental changes, shaped by the dynamics of cryosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, in the Tibetan Plateau and surroundings have significant impacts on the lives of more than 1.5 billion people living in the region. Major changes are taking place in this region under global warming. Prof. Yao with his group has dedicated to studying environment changes on the Tibetan Plateau. He has validated stable oxygen isotope (?18O) in precipitation as temperature proxy, and found that ?18O represents local atmospheric processes in the northern Tibetan Plateau and represents large-scale oceanic processes in the southern Tibetan Plateau. He has led more than a dozen of expeditions to drill ice cores on the Tibetan Plateau. His study of ice core records using proxies such as stable oxygen isotope has revealed climate and environment changes on the Tibetan Plateau, and found that the last 30 years was the warmest period since 1900AD, and the last 100 years was the warmest period in the past two millennium. He has conducted large-scale in situ observation, analyzed satellite images and remote sensing data, and applied numerical modeling to glacial fluctuations on the Tibetan Plateau. His study throughout the Tibetan Plateau has revealed three modes of the interaction between the westerlies and Indian monsoon that resulted in the westerlies mode in the northern Tibetan Plateau, Indian monsoon mode in the southern Tibetan Plateau, and transition mode in the central Tibetan Plateau. Such a unique circulation pattern bears directly on the glacial status over the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings under current climate change. His study thereof found the largest retreat of glaciers in the monsoon mode dominated southern Tibetan Plateau, moderate retreat in the transition mode dominated central Tibetan Plateau, and the least retreat, or even slight advance in the westerlies mode dominated northwestern Tibetan Plateau. He thus proposed the enhancing westerly against the weakening summer monsoon as the major driver of current glacial status in the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings. These scientific results have produced more than 200 publications in international journals, including Science, Nature Climate Change, Review of Geophysics, and PNAS. His publications and total citations rank the first in the international Tibetan Plateau research communities. His paper about three modes of stable oxygen isotope in precipitation is the cover story of Review of Geophysics (Volume 51, Issue 4, 2013). His paper about ice core environment record was selected as research highlight in Nature (doi:10.1038/nchina.2008. 265). His research of glacier fluctuations published in Nature Climate Change was reported in Nature (doi:10.1038/nature.2012.11010). Nature (Volume 454, 2008) acknowledged Prof. Yao as the pioneer of the field and was ¡°among the few researchers persevering in difficult field conditions to gather data on the plateau¡¯s past climate history¡±. Science (Volume 334, 2011) highly appraised his research as ¡°best example of activities which address questions of environmental change at high elevations¡±. His road to becoming an internationally recognized glaciologist was the feature story in Nature (Volume 472, 2011).

 

Education:

  1. Ph.D

    Physical Geography,  University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

    1986

    M.S.

    Physical Geography,  Lanzhou University, China

    1982

    B.S.

    Physical Geography,  Lanzhou University, China

    1978

 

Research Experiences:

  1. 2003-now

    Professor, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS

    1999-2003

    Professor, Cold and Arid Regions Environment and Engineering Research Institute, CAS

    1996-1999

    Professor, Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology, CAS

    1996-1997

    Visiting Scholar, the Ohio State University, USA

    1995-1996

    Visiting Scholar, the Ohio State University, USA

    1993-1994

    Visiting Scholar, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environment, Paris, France

    1992-1993

    Visiting Scholar, Byrd Polar Research Center, the Ohio State University, USA

    1988-1990

    Post-doc, Byrd Polar Research Center, the Ohio State University, USA

    1987-1988

    Post-doc, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Geophysique de l’Environmement, France

 

Awards and honors:

    2007 Academician (Member) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
    2005 Distinguished Scientist of China by Science Association of China
    2004 "Distinguished Scientist of National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program)" by Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), P. R. China
    2002 "Award for Creative Research Groups¡± by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NFSC)
    2001 He-Liang and He-Li Award by MOST
    2000 Natural Science Award (for the study of ¡°The Fluctuations and Trend of Climate, Lake and Sea Level¡±) by Chinese Academy of Sciences
    1999 National Natural Science Award (for ¡°A Study on Paleo-Climate and Paleo-Environment¡±) by MOST
    1998 ¡°Expert with Outstanding Contribution to Science¡± by Chinese Academy of Sciences
    1998 Excellent Advisor and Teacher by Chinese Academy of Sciences
    1997 National Natural Science Award (for ¡°Environmental Study in Antarctica¡±) by MOST
    1997 Natural Science Award (for ¡°Study of Climate and environment from ice cores¡±) by Chinese Academy of Sciences
    1996 Natural Science Award (for ¡°Glaciological study in Antarctica¡±) by Chinese Academy of Sciences
    1995 Young Scientist Award in Tibet Scientific Study by China Society on Tibetan Plateau
    1994 Outstanding Young Scientist by NSFC

 

Appointments:

    2011-2013 Member, the Transition Team of Future Earth program (Study for Global Sustainability) initiated by ICSU
    2009-now Co-chair of Third Pole Environment (TPE) Science Committee
    2009-now President of the China Society on Tibetan Plateau
    2007-now Member of the Editorial Committee for Science in China (Earth Science)
    2012-2015 Vice-President of the Chinese Association for Quaternary Research
    2009-now Vice president of Chinese Committee on International Center for Integrated Mountain Development

 

Membership:

    Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
    Member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)
    Member of the International Glaciological Society (IGS)
    Vice-Chairman of the Society of Glaciology and Geocryology
    Member of Association of Geomorphology and Quaternary
    Member of the Committee of Polar Science
    Member of Evaluating Committee of National Natural Science Foundation of China