Shrinking Glaciers and Growing Lakes As Temperatures Rise on the Tibetan Plateau

October 12, 1987

October 9, 2021

As temperatures rise on the Tibetan Plateau, lakes are growing larger and deeper.
Glaciologists often call the Tibetan Plateau and its many mountain ranges the “Third Pole” because the rugged, high-elevation landscapes contain the largest reserve of freshwater outside the polar regions. Much of that water is stored for now within tens of thousands of glaciers scattered across the region. However, rising temperatures, accelerating ice loss, and meltwater runoff are starting to change that.
These images of lakes west of the Tanggula Mountains—a small range in the central part of the Tibetan Plateau—offer a view of …