High-mountain Asia

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Tibet and surrounding areas

High-mountain Asia is a high[1] geographic region that includes the Asian mountain ranges surrounding the Tibetan Plateau. The region is the "world's largest reservoir of perennial glaciers and snow outside of the Earth's polar ice sheets".[2] These headwaters support more than 1 billion people, and changes in the mountains affect "ecosystem services, agriculture, energy and livelihood"[3] for the surrounding areas.[4][5] NASA has a High Mountain Asia Team (HiMAT) to study the area.[3]


High-mountain Asia (HMA) extends from the Himalayas in the south and east to the Hindu Kush in the west and Tien Shan in the north.[6] Karakoram, Pamir-Alay, and the Kunlun Mountains are further important mountain ranges in this region.[5]

These ranges surround the mountainous Chinese provinces of Tibet and Xinjiang,[7] including Xinjiang's large Tarim Basin desert. The nations of Nepal and Bhutan are located within this region, and HMA abuts Pakistan and India.


  1. ^ Qiu, Jane (January 27, 2015). "High-Altitude Forests in the Himalayas Harder Hit by Droughts". Scientific American. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Arendt, Anthony (December 2, 2016). "NASA Research Announcement: Understanding Changes in High Mountain Asia". NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Dr. Viviana Maggioni Receives Two Awards from NASA to Study Hyper-Resolution in Soil Moisture Land Modeling and Data Assimilation". George Mason University. 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  4. ^ International Symposium on Glaciology in High-Mountain Asia (PDF), International Glaciological Society, July 2014, retrieved July 25, 2017
  5. ^ a b Pritchard, Hamish D. (May 22, 2017). "Asia's glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought". Nature. 545 (7653): 169–174. doi:10.1038/nature22062. PMID 28492255.
  6. ^ "NASA High Mountain Asia Project". University of Washington eScience Institute: NASA High-Mountain Asia Project. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  7. ^ Song, Chunqia; Huang, Bo; Ke, Linghong; Ye, Qinghua (October 2016). "Precipitation variability in High Mountain Asia from multiple datasets and implication for water balance analysis in large lake basins". Global and Planetary Change. 145: 20–29. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2016.08.005.