Roundup: Old Tibetan drawings, new photos from land and sea

Posted by on Sep 5, 2016

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This Week’s Roundup: A monk’s drawings and photos from land and sea

Drawings from the 1850s provide detail on Tibetan history and culture

From British Library blogs:

Detail of map in the Wise Collection at the British Library, showing Mt. Kailash and surroundings in great detail with the circumambulation path, monasteries, a lake, streams and a tall prayer flag pole

Detail of map in the Wise Collection at the British Library, showing Mt. Kailash and surroundings in great detail with the circumambulation path, monasteries, a lake, streams and a tall prayer flag pole. (Source: British Library)

“The drawings in the British Library’s Wise Collection probably form the most comprehensive set of large-scale visual representations of mid-nineteenth century Tibet and the Western Himalayan kingdoms of Ladakh and Zangskar. These drawings were made in the late 1850s – at a time when the mapping of British India was largely complete, but before or around the time when Tibet began to be mapped for the first time by Indian Pundits.”  Depicting landscapes, buildings, people and many activities, this collection “reflects a complex interpretation of Tibet commissioned by a Scotsman and created by a Buddhist monk. The result of their collaboration represents a ‘visible history’ of the exploration of Tibet.”

Click here to learn more about these striking images and the research on them being conducted by Dr. Diana Lange of Humboldt University, Berlin.

Elephant seals document impact of glacier melt on ocean circulation

From Nature Communications:

Elephant seals, with sensors glued to their heads (source: Clive R. McMahon)

Elephant seals, with sensors glued to their heads (source: Clive R. McMahon)

“New observations from instrumented elephant seals in 2011–2013 … provide the first complete assessment of the formation of dense water in Prydz Bay off Antarctica.”  Until recent, large flows of this dense water have contributed to the formation of a layer of water,  known as Antarctic bottom water, which contributes to global ocean circulation. This new work documents the importance of ” freshwater input from the Amery Glacier and Amery and West Ice Shelves … and highlights the susceptibility of Antarctic bottom water to increased freshwater input from the enhanced melting of ice shelves, and ultimately the potential collapse of Antarctic bottom water formation in a warming climate.”

Click here to read more about the valuable data provided by elephant seals

New images depict water conflicts in post-Soviet Central Asia

From Foreign Affairs:

Tortkul Reservoir on border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (source: David Trilling)

Tortkul Reservoir on border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (source: David Trilling)

“The relations of the five former Soviet Republics in Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are, more often than not, defined by water. ” Tensions have increased “since the dissolution of the Soviet Union over a quarter century ago.” Moreover, “there is one glaring issue: the region’s glaciers, the source of huge and once predictable water supplies, are melting at record rates.”

Click here to see the striking images of water use and misuse in Central Asia, and to learn the historical background of water conflicts

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