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  • Station or cluster: CryoNet Cluster
  • Type: Integrated
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: polygon
  • Latitude, longitude: 33.01, 91.974
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 5050-6104
  • Landscape: Coastal
  • Year established: 1989
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Xiaobo He
  • Science contact: Xiaobo He
  • Data contact: Xiaobo He

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Tanggula Cryosphere and Environment Observation Station [Candidate]
Integrated CryoNet Cluster Information

The Tanggula Cryophere Observatory is located in the central of the Tibet Plateau at an elevation of 5050m a.s.l. It is situated at the Tanggula mountain main divide, which is a crucial climate demarcation line. The railway and highway that reaches the peak has the highest elevation in the world. It also is lies in one of the source of the Dangqu River, the geographic headwaters of the Yangtze. Therefore, it is important to conduct hydrological and climatological observations at Tanggula Pass.
In 1989, an observation program focusing on glacier and climatic change was initiated and the half-positioning observation stations were set up by Prof. TanDong Yao etc. At that time, the observation focused on the 16.40 km2 Dongkemadi Glacier, which lies in Dongkemadi River Basin, the backland of the Tibetan Plateau over the mid part of Tanggula Mountain (92°04'E, 33°05'N). In 2005, a modern monitoring system focused on multi sphere was built by Prof. Baisheng YE, which is covering the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the biosphere and the cryosphere.

Measurement Methods Used

Data Information


Zhang Y, Yao T, Pu J. 1997. The features of hydrological processes in the Dongkemadi River Basin , Tanggula Pass , Tibetan Plateau. Journal of glaciology and Geocryology 19: 214-222
Fujita K, Ageta Y. 2000. Effect of summer accumulation on glacier mass balance on the Tibetan Plateau revealed by mass-balance model. Journal of Glaciology 46: 244-252.
Pu Jianchen, Yao Tandong. 2008, Rapid decrease of mass balance observed in the Xiao (Lesser) Dongkemadi Glacier, in the central Tibetan Plateau. Hydrology Process, 22: 2953-2958.
Shangguan DH, Liu SY, Ding YJ, Zhang YS, Du EJ, Wu Z. 2008. Thinning and retreat of Xiao Dongkemadi glacier, Tibetan Plateau, since 1993. Journal of Glaciology 54: 949-951
Yao Tandong, Thompson L, Yang Wei. 2012,Different glacier status with atmospheric circulations in Tibetan Plateau and surroundings. Nature Climate Change, 2: 663-667.


The measurements made at Tanggula Cryosphere and Environment Observation Station are listed in the following tables. This is a combination of measurements made at the stations within the site, where the start and end years in the tables are the earliest and latest years of measurement. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
SnowSnow on the ground (WMO code 0957)2005
SnowSnow water equivalent2007
SnowSnowpack profile2007
SnowSnowfall depth2005
SnowWater equivalent of snowfall2005
SnowSurface temperature2005
PermafrostSoil temperature2005
PermafrostActive layer depth2005
PermafrostAnnual surface elevation change2018
PermafrostSoil moisture2005
PermafrostThermal state2005
PermafrostDuration of thaw2005
GlacierAnnual mass balance1989
GlacierWinter mass balance1989
GlacierGlacial runoff2005
GlacierGlacial discharge2005
GlacierSurface topography2005
GlacierFacies, snowline2005
GlacierSurface temperature2005
GlacierSurface albedo2005
GlacierIce/firn temperature2005

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
MetAir temperature2005
MetHumidity/vapour pressure2005
MetWind speed and direction2005
MetAir pressure2005
MetTotal precipitation2005
MetSensible and latent heat2011
RadiationDownwelling shortwave2005
RadiationUpwelling shortwave2005
RadiationDownwelling longwave2005
RadiationUpwelling longwave2005
RadiationSunshine duration2005

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
HydrologyEvaporation, Precipitation, Runoff
EcologyEvapotranspiration, Vegetation cover, NDVI

Last updated: 9 August 2018