On Wednesday 19 April, The King presented the Vega Medal to Professor Tandong Yao at a ceremony at the Royal Palace of Stockholm.
The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG) awarded the Vega Medal 2017 to Professor Tandong Yao, Director of the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Director at the CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences.
Professor Yao received this distinction for his outstanding contribution to glacier research and society at large. His research concerns glaciers and the environment on the Tibetan Plateau, notably within cryospheric sciences. Over the last 20 years, he has led numerous research programmes – often in collaboration with American, French, German and Japanese investigators.
One of his recent studies demonstrates that global warming, which is causing the retreat of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, interacts with Indian monsoon winds and westerly winds. The Third Pole Environment (TPE) research programme led by Professor Yao is recognised for its international significance. In this programme, Professor Yao has also collaborated with Swedish researchers.
The Vega Medal was instituted in 1880 by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG) External link. and in accordance with the statues External link. is awarded to "individuals for outstanding achievements in advancing geographical research".
The medal is awarded on the anniversary of the arrival of the SS Vega in Stockholm on 24 April 1880. The Vega was the vessel on which Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld undertook the Vega Expedition External link. of 1878-1880. This was the first Arctic expedition to navigate through the Northeast Passage, and the first voyage to circumnavigate Eurasia. King Oscar II joined and financed the expedition, which is regarded as one of the highest achievements of Swedish science.
The King is the highest patron of SSAG.