Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS

Address: 16 Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, P.R. China


Phone: 010-64833041

BAMS: National Tibetan Plateau Data Center: Promoting Earth System Science on the Third Pole

Recently, Prof. Xiaoduo Pan (the first author) and Prof. Xin Li (the corresponding author) from the National Tibetan Plateau Data Center, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences published a paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), entitled as "National Tibetan Plateau Data Center: Promoting Earth System Science on the Third Pole". This paper comprehensive introduces the technical measures and achievements of the data center in scientific data resource integration, data intellectual property protection, data open sharing, international data interoperability capacity-building, online big data analysis and visualization in order to break the data bottleneck of the scientific research over the Third Pole Earth System.

The Tibetan Plateau, known as the world’s “Third Pole” due to its high altitude, is experiencing rapid, intense climate change, similar to and even far more than that occurring in the Arctic and Antarctic. Scientific data sharing is very important to address the challenges of better understanding the unprecedented changes in the Third Pole and their impacts on the global environment and humans. The National Tibetan Plateau Data Center (TPDC, is one of the first 20 national data centers endorsed by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China in 2019 and features the most complete scientific data for the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding regions, hosting more than 4,500 datasets in diverse disciplines under the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) principles (Figure 1). Fifty datasets featuring high-mountain observations, land surface parameters, near-surface atmospheric forcing, cryospheric variables, and high-profile article-associated data over the Tibetan Plateau, frequently being used to quantify the hydrological cycle and water security, early warning assessments of glacier avalanche disasters, and other geoscience studies on the Tibetan Plateau, are highlighted in this manuscript (Figure 2). The TPDC provides a cloud-based platform with integrated online data acquisition, quality control, analysis, and visualization capability to maximize the efficiency of data sharing. The TPDC shifts from the traditional centralized architecture to a decentralized deployment to effectively connect Third Pole–related data from other domestic and international data sources. As an embryo of data sharing and management over extreme environment in the upcoming “big data” era, the TPDC is dedicated to filling the gaps in data collection, discovery, and consumption in the Third Pole, facilitating scientific activities, particularly those featuring extensive interdisciplinary data use (Figure 3).

This work was supported by Basic Science Center for Tibetan Plateau Earth System (BCTPES, NSFC project 41988101) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences under Grant XDA20060600. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their very helpful comments.


Pan, X. D., Guo, X.J., Li, X.*, Niu, X.L., Yang X.J., Feng, M.,Che, T., Jin, R., Ran, Y.H., Guo, J.W., Hu, X.L., Wu, A.D., 2021. National Tibetan Plateau Data Center: Promoting Earth System Science on the Third Pole. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, E2062–E2078, DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-21-0004.1

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Figure 1 Data sharing principles of the Tibetan Plateau Data Center

Figure 2 Some examples of featured datasets. (a) Multiscale high-elevation river basin observation network (fromChe et al. 2019;Li et al. 2013). (b) Water body distribution across the Tibetan Plateau (Zhang et al. 2013). (c) China meteorological forcing dataset (1979–2018) (He et al. 2020). (d) Plant functional type map of the Tibetan Plateau (Ran and Ma 2016). (e) A permafrost type map over the Tibetan Plateau in the past 50 years (fromRan et al. 2021). (f) A late Middle Pleistocene Denisovan mandible from the Tibetan Plateau (Chen et al. 2019). (g) Spatial and temporal patterns of glacier status in the Tibetan Plateau and surroundings (Yao et al. 2012)

Figure 3 Vision of the Tibetan Plateau Data Center to promote Earth System Science on the Third Pole