High Mountain Asia

High Mountain Asia (HMA) is a geographic region that includes the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountain ranges, i.e., the Himalayas, the Karakoram, and the Tian Shan. Climate-related natural hazards, e.g. landslides (see CaTeNA) and Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), pose a threat to human lives in HMA. Here, climate data with high spatial and temporal resolution are crucial for a better understanding of the climatic triggering mechanisms of local hazards, as well as for deepening our knowledge of the coupling of climate and hydrological cycles (see WET). However, meteorological in-situ observations are uneven and sparsely distributed due to the harsh environment and complex terrain in HMA. Therefore, our knowledge of the climate in this region, especially at high mountain elevations, is still limited. In our research within HMA, we use regional climate models (RCMs) for dynamic downscaling (see High Asia Refined Analysis - HAR) to address the above aspects in different research areas (hydrology, cryosphere, natural hazards).

Lead and contact person


Marco Otto

© TU Berlin


The Halji River (Halji Khola, Nepal) drains the source area of GLOFs (Glacial Lake Outburst Flood). A GLOF is a sudden release of water from a glacial lake that forms episodically during snowmelt. GLOFs can cause a large number of casualties and enormous economic damage by flooding downstream areas.

© GFZ, Potsdam


Climatic and Tectonic Natural Hazards in Central Asia (CaTeNA) is part of the CLIENT II program, focusing on natural hazards: Modeling and provision of high-resolution climate data as input data for a landslide susceptibility model developed by project partners from Education and Research (BMBF).

© TU Berlin


Research on coupling processes between climate and the water cycle within catchments of structural features typical for the Tibetan Plateau.

(Project completed)

© TU Berlin


Quaternary Tipping Points (Q-TiP) of Lake Systems in the Arid Zone of Central Asia is part of the CAME II program funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

(Project completed)

© TU Berlin


Dynamic Response of Glaciers of the Tibetan Plateau to climate change (DynRG-TiP) to improve our understanding of interactions between the atmosphere and the cryosphere on the Tibetan Plateau, with a focus on the glaciers of the Nyainqentanglha Mountains.

(Project completed)

Selected Publications


Botsyun, Svetlana; Mutz, Sebastian G.; Ehlers, Todd A.; Koptev, Alexander; Wang, Xun; Schmidt, Benjamin; Appel, Erwin; Scherer, Dieter E.
Influence of Large‐Scale Atmospheric Dynamics on Precipitation Seasonality of the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia in Cold and Warm Climates During the Late Cenozoic
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127 (12)
June 2022
ISSN: 2169-897X, 2169-8996


Wang, Xun; Schmidt, Benjamin; Otto, Marco; Ehlers, Todd A.; Mutz, Sebastian G.; Botsyun, Svetlana; Scherer, Dieter
Sensitivity of Water Balance in the Qaidam Basin to the Mid‐Pliocene Climate
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126 (16)
August 2021
ISSN: 2169-897X, 2169-8996
Wang, Xun; Otto, Marco; Scherer, Dieter
Atmospheric triggering conditions and climatic disposition of landslides in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan at the beginning of the 21st century
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 21 (7) :2125–2144
July 2021
ISSN: 1684-9981
Lin, Qian; Chen, Jie; Chen, Deliang; Wang, Xun; Li, Wei; Scherer, Dieter
Impacts of Bias-Corrected ERA5 Initial Snow Depth on Dynamical Downscaling Simulations for the Tibetan Plateau
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126 (23)
Wang, Xun; Schmidt, Benjamin; Scherer, Dieter; Otto, Marco
WRF dynamical downscaling of present-day and mid-Pliocene atmospheric conditions over High Mountain Asia


Hamm, Alexandra; Arndt, Anselm; Kolbe, Christine; Wang, Xun; Thies, Boris; Boyko, Oleksiy; Reggiani, Paolo; Scherer, Dieter; Bendix, Jörg; Schneider, Christoph
Intercomparison of Gridded Precipitation Datasets over a Sub-Region of the Central Himalaya and the Southwestern Tibetan Plateau
Water, 12 (11) :3271
Scherer, Dieter
Survival of the Qaidam mega-lake system under mid-Pliocene climates and its restoration under future climates
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24 (7) :3835-3850
Wang, Xun; Tolksdorf, Vanessa; Otto, Marco; Scherer, Dieter
WRF–based dynamical downscaling of ERA5 reanalysis data for High Mountain Asia: Towards a new version of the High Asia Refined analysis
International Journal of Climatology, 41 :743–762


Curio, Julia; Scherer, Dieter
Seasonality and spatial variability of dynamic precipitation controls on the Tibetan Plateau
Earth System Dynamics, 7 (3) :767-782


Neckel, Niklas; Kropávcek, Jan; Schröter, Benjamin; Scherer, Dieter
Effects of Cyclone Hudhud captured by a high altitude Automatic Weather Station in northwestern Nepal
Weather, 70 (7) :208–210
ISSN: 00431656


Mölg, Thomas; Maussion, Fabien; Scherer, Dieter
Mid-latitude westerlies as a driver of glacier variability in monsoonal High Asia
Nature Climate Change, 4 (1) :68–73
ISSN: 1758-678X
Maussion, Fabien; Scherer, Dieter; Mölg, Thomas; Collier, Emily; Curio, Julia; Finkelnburg, Roman
Precipitation Seasonality and Variability over the Tibetan Plateau as Resolved by the High Asia Reanalysis
Journal of Climate, 27 (5) :1910-1927


Zhang, Guoshuai; Kang, Shichang; Fujita, Koji; Huintjes, Eva; Xu, Jianqing; Yamazaki, Takeshi; Haginoya, Shigenori; Wei, Yang; Scherer, Dieter; Schneider, Christoph; Yao, Tandong
Energy and mass balance of Zhadang glacier surface, central Tibetan Plateau
Journal of Glaciology, 59 (213) :137–148
ISSN: 0022-1430
Collier, E.; Mölg, T.; Maussion, F.; Scherer, Dieter; Mayer, C.; Bush, A. B. G.
High-resolution interactive modelling of the mountain glacier–atmosphere interface: an application over the Karakoram
The Cryosphere, 7 (3) :779-795


Mölg, T.; Maussion, F.; Yang, W.; Scherer, Dieter
The footprint of Asian monsoon dynamics in the mass and energy balance of a Tibetan glacier
The Cryosphere, 6 (6) :1445-1461


Maussion, F.; Scherer, Dieter; Finkelnburg, R.; Richters, J.; Yang, W.; Yao, T.
WRF simulation of a precipitation event over the Tibetan Plateau, China – an assessment using remote sensing and ground observations
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15 (6) :1795-1817