Brief Introduction

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Brief Introduction

2015-04-24

The Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences (CETES) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is one of the Centers for Excellence (CFE) set up in 2014 by CAS in accordance with the Pioneer Initiative. CETES is committed to cutting-edge research at the frontiers of Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, with the goal of solving major scientific problems, developing new research areas, achieving scientific breakthroughs and making globally-relevant advances in scientific understanding.

CETES’ supporting institution is the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP). Its sister institutions include the Institute of Geology and Geophysics (IGG), the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment (IMHE), the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI) and the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR).

 

Aims & Objectives

I. Aims

By attracting the finest and best minds working in the field of Tibetan Plateau (TP) research, CETES is committed to establishing a world-class TP scientific research platform, organizing domestic and international major research plans, and creating new, innovative, open, competitive and free-flowing academic mechanisms, so as to become the natural home for great achievements in China’s Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences research, to become an internationally-recognized Earth Science research center that leads the world in new research, and to provide scientific support for regional ecological environment management and sustainable social development.

II. Objectives

By focusing on the current frontiers of Earth Science research, CETES aims to study major scientific issues such as the interactions between the deeper layers of the lithosphere on the TP, the interactions between upper-deeper lithospheres and any intracontinental effects, the interactions between surface spheres on the TP and any ecological and environmental effects; all such aims are also designed to facilitate original and groundbreaking scientific results, to develop the Earth Science theories, and to lead international research into the TP so as to promote social and economic development.

Research Division & Groups

There are four research divisions and twelve working parties at CETES. The four research divisions cover: the systematic processes in the deeper layers of the lithosphere on the TP and its uplift history; the interactions between upper-deeper lithospheres on the TP; the interactions between surface spheres on the TP; and mountain hazards. The first division has four research working parties focusing on geological structure, rocks and minerals, geochemistry and geophysics; the second division has three research working parties focusing on sedimentary stratigraphy, palaeoenvironment and paleoecology, monsoons and simulations; the third division has three research working parties focusing on atmospheric processes, the cryosphere and hydrology, and the ecosystem; and the fourth division has two research working parties focusing on landslides and debris flow.

I. Division 1: Systematic processes in the deeper layers of the lithosphere on the TP and its uplift history (Principal Investigator: Professor Fuyuan Wu)

Research emphasis: To study the interactions between the deeper layers of the lithosphere; to reveal the basic processes and mechanisms of ocean/land subduction, collision and uplift of the TP and lower crust flow; and construction of the Plateau’s surface and transformation processes.

Expected results: An accurate identification of the formulation and extinction of the Neo-Tethys Ocean, and a description of the orogenic processes and changes in palaeoelevation resulting from the India-Eurasia continental collision; discovery of the crust-mantle interactions present during subduction-collision processes and restrictions on metallization and plateau uplift; a realization of an original breakthrough in theoretical research into interactions between the deeper layers of the lithosphere on the TP; and innovative contributions to many aspects of TP Earth Science such as continental dynamics, TP uplift and continental collisional metallogeny.

 

II. Division 2: Interactions between upper-deeper lithospheres on the TP (Principal Investigator: Professor Zhengtang Guo)

Research emphasis: To study the interactions between deep geological processes and surface processes; to focus on revealing the intracontinental effects of different uplift stages and their influence on the regional and global environment.

Expected results: A rebuilding of the evolutionary timelines of ecological change vis-à-vis processes inherent in Asian monsoonal and inland desert environments; an identification and distinguishing of the effects of plateau uplift and global climate patterns in causing changes in the environment of East Asia; proposals of new hypotheses and theories concerning the physical dynamics and biogeochemical mechanisms of plateau uplift and any concomitant regional (Asian) and global climate change, with a clear focus on the impact of such theorems on the global academic community; the attainment of original and systematic results vis-à-vis the linkage between the mechanisms of plateau uplift and geomorphic evolution and changes in atmospheric circulation and regional (Asian) and global climate change, and the assumption of world-leader status in this field.

 

III. Division 3: Interactions between surface spheres on the TP (Principal Investigator: Professor Tandong Yao)

Research emphasis: To investigate scientific questions such as the interactions between westerlies and the monsoon, the transformational processes of the hydrological cycle and its phases, and the effects of human activity on the environment since the Last Glacial Maximum (since 20kaBP), especially in the modern and contemporary eras; to conduct in-depth research into the surface system’s multi-sphere interactions.

Expected results: An identification and categorization of the evolutionary processes of westerlies and the monsoon, and their mechanisms influencing water phase transformations, especially those mechanisms controlling glacier fluctuations and hydrological cycle changes, in order to realize a comprehensive simulation of the surface’s multi-sphere interactions; the discovery of the influential factors and feedback present in the TP’s environment, in addition to changes in surface processes in East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and the effect of human activity.

 

IV. Division 4: Mountain hazards on the TP (Principal Investigator: Professor Peng Cui)

Research emphasis: To focus on studying the formation mechanisms and risk analyses of mountain hazards (debris flow, landslides, mountain torrents and dammed lakes).

Expected results: A definitive study of the formation mechanisms, movement and disaster parameters of mountain hazards under climate change and powerful earthquake conditions; a confirmation of the quantitative relation between extreme events and mountain hazards; an establishment of a practicable risk forecast model; a compilation of risk graphs for mountain hazards; research into, and development of, key technologies for major mountain hazard prevention and mitigation; proposals for countermeasures to be used in response to the risk of mountain hazard events occurring under extreme conditions.

 

Talent Team

CETES has established a talent team based on the four research divisions and twelve working parties. By gathering together those scientists at the forefront of research into Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences from CAS’ different institutes, CETES now has 43 principal scientists, including three CAS Members, 26 Distinguished Young Scholars of National Science Foundation Council (NSFC) standard, and five Outstanding Young Scholars of NSFC standard. Using this team as a foundation, the principal scientists have also chosen 73 young and talented scientists to join the center’s talent team. At present, CETES has a total of 116 scientists.