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CQU teacher publishes latest findings in Nature Geoscience

Recently, Associate Professor You Chao from the School of Environment and Ecology, Chongqing University, published an article "Himalayan glaciers threatened by frequent wildfires" in Nature Geoscience, a top journal in the field of geoscience as the first author and the corresponding author. It is brought forward for the first time that the recent frequent occurrence of forest wildfires in the Himalayas would aggravate the instability of glacier state, causing enhanced glacier ablation and triggering ice avalanches and other disasters.

Since the 1990s, the temperature rise rate of the Himalayan region has reached twice that of the global low-altitude region in the same period, causing rapid adjustment of major surface environmental factors such as glaciers, lakes and forest fires, and triggering frequent glacier disasters in recent years (Figure 1a). Whereas scientists generally believe that climate change (such as abnormal temperature and precipitation) is the main cause of Himalayan glacier disasters, it is pointed out in "Himalayan glaciers threatened by frequent wildfires" that other factors such as forest wildfires also play an important role. To put it another way, black carbon emissions from recent frequent forest wildfires (Figure 1b) in Himalayan mountain areas may further affect the stability of glaciers, and it should be taken into account in the subsequent assessment of glacier disasters. The author proposes that given the current climate change, the emissions from frequent forest wildfires may aggravate the glacier ablation and mass loss in the Himalayan region. Greater importance shall be attached to Himalayan forest wildfires, in an effort to reduce property losses and casualties and lower the risk of glacier disasters.

Nature Geoscience is a sub-journal of Nature. Its factor of influence in 2021 was 21.531, ranking the first place in the 191 SCI-indexed journals on geoscience. Associate Professor You Chao, the author of the article, has been engaged in the vegetation fire burning, global change and cryosphere environment for a long time.

More about the article: You C*, Xu C*. 2022. Himalayan glaciers threatened by frequent wildfires. Nature Geoscience. DOI

Figure 1. Himalayan region during 2003-2021 a) Glacier mass loss; b) Change of vegetation fire burning