ao Tandong, a mainland geographer and academician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was awarded the 2017 Vega Medal, the “Nobel Prize in geography,” on January 4, the first Asian scientist to receive the prize.
Established in 1881 by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG) after Finnish-Swedish geographer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld discovered the Northeast Passage through the Arctic to Russia with his ship, the Vega, the Vega Medal is given every three years to the scientist who has made the biggest contribution to geography.
Yao’s win, according to media reports, was based on his discoveries on the environmental and climatic changes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau which his team has studied for 20 years in cooperation with other countries.
Yao told media that his team found that the vanishing of the glaciers on the plateau was caused by global warming and the interaction of the Indian monsoon and west wind. His team will continue to study how the cryosphere on the plateau is influencing the local geographical environment.