Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 1999, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (1): 1-8.doi: 10.11821/xb199901001
Professor Shi Yafeng has been studying geographic sciences, especially in geomorphology, glaciology and Quaternary geology for more than five decades, and has been recognized as one of the organizers and leading scientists in interdisciplinary geosciences. In early 1950s, he organizing the studies on geomorphologic regionalization in China. He and his colleagues firstly proposed that three mega regions, i.e. the eastern fluvial landform region, the north western eolian and arid landform region and the Qinghsi Xizang Plateau glacial and cryogenic landform region, and 29 sub regions can be distincted. Since 1958, he had organized the glacier resource expeditions in Qilian and Tianshan mountainous areas. “Report of Expeditions on Modern Glaciers in Qilian Mountains” and “Glaciol and Hydrological Invention in the Urumuqi River, Tianshan” were published under his editorship, which was actually a formal proclamation of the staring of the studies in modern glaciology in China. In 1960s, he entended the glacier expedition into the highest mountains in the the world Himalaya. He firstly gave the systematical explanation about the characteristics of alpine glaciers in low latitudes, and the impacts of rapid uplifting of Himalaya on glacier history. These pioneering works were presented in two books edited by him namely “Scientific Expedition Report of the Oomolungma Peak Area: Modern glaciers and Geomorphology” and “Scientific Expedition Report of the Xixiabangma Peak”. In 1970s, he led a group to study on Batura Glacier in Pakistan and developed the method so called “Fluctuating ice discharge balance” in the prediction of the glacier termination change and sub stantially improved the accuracy of prediction. This was a key challenge for selecting a reasonable rehabilitation scheme for the International Karakorum Highway. In early 1980s, he collaborated with others questioned the long debated “Quaternary Glaciation Hypotheses in Eastern China” and provided extensive and reliable evidence to deny it. These works were reflected in the book “Problems on Quaternary Glacitions and Environments in Eastern China” chiefly edited by Professor Shi Yafeng. This book Marked the breathtaking progress and diversification of glaciology studies of China in late 1980s. Professor Shi also advocated and organized virginal studies in permafrost researches in the Qinghai Xizang Plateau, the debris flow in southwestern China, and hydrology in arid regions in northwestern China in 1960s. These studies contributed remarkably to regional development in China. During 1980s～1990s, Professor Shi Yafeng gained an insight into global change and enthusiastically promoted the research activities in China. He edited and published “Climate and Environments in China during the Holocene Megathermal Period” in which he suggested that precipitation from northern China to central Asia during mid Holocene was more plentiful than that at present due to the enhancement of summer monsoon. These viewpoints have been widely accepted in China. In recent years, Prof. Shi Yafent actively promoted and contributed to the studies on the hazards caused by the sea level reise and urged for more studies to seek countermeasures for the related problems.
Academic thinking of Professor Shi Yafeng,
geography and environment,
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