Research Area - Lake Nam Co

The catchment of Nam Co is located in the transition zone between the Himalayas and the arid central part of the TP with glaciers covering parts of the Nyaingentanglha mountain range in the South. This area is especially sensitive to climate change related to the monsoon systems and the arid northern zone. Geomorphodynamics of this area are characterized by glacial, fluvial and eolian processes as well as mass movements including rock falls, landslides, rock glaciers and debris flows and thus provide abundant and diverse aspects for both research and teaching.

For our work program we selected two sub-catchments; one in the eastern part of the lake characterized by low gradients and lack of glacier meltwater input (SC1, 408 km²), and the other in the south-western part of the lake (SC2, 60 km²), characterized by steep gradients and glacier meltwater input. Furthermore, the catchment hosts numerous small, hydrologically closed as well as open (proglacial) lake basins that provide abundant records of sedimentary and ecological processes on different scales.


Characteristics of Nam Co

Latitude: 30°30' - 30°56' N Longitude: 90°16' - 91°03' E Altitude: 4719 m a.s.l.
Lake area: 1962 km² Catchment area: 10.776 km²
Maximum depth: 99 m Salinity: 1.3 ‰


Research Station NAMORS

At the south-eastern shore, the ITP has set up NAMORS (Nam Co Monitoring and Research Station for Multisphere Interactions), a research station that monitors, in addition to basic meteorological parameters, aerosols, lake level, run off, and glacier mass balance as well as ecological processes since 2005. Along with the excellent infrastructure at Nam Co, a wealth of data is therefore available and can be used for further research.

NAMORS is part of the Tibetan Observation and Research Platform (TORP) that focuses on research on the TP’s land surface, land–atmosphere coupling, and environmental processes. TORP will provide a set of surface and near-surface hydro-meteorological observations. In addition, further lab infrastructure is available at the ITP campuses in Lhasa and Beijing.



GLIMS, NSIDC [National Snow and Ice Data Center]. 2005, updated 2012. GLIMS Glacier Database, Version 1. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC. doi: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.7265/N5V98602. [accessed: 2013-08-13].

  last changed 16.05.2018
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