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Report: Tibet's Glaciers at Their Warmest

Jan 06, 2015     Email"> PrintText Size

 

[video:20150105-Tibet's glaciers at their warmest]

Recent decades have likely been the warmest and wettest on record in the Tibetan Plateau, known as the 'Third Pole' for its ice fields.

The Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountains represent one of the largest ice masses on earth. But the glaciers are retreating rapidly, according to a report published by the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"We have studied dozens of glaciers on the Tibetan plateau in the past decades, and found that they have been shrinking, especially in the most recent decade. The rate of retreat has been accelerating," said Yao Tandong, director of Institute Of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS.

The report says temperature rises on the Tibetan plateau in the past 50 years have been two times faster than most places on earth. It predicts the glaciers in the region will shrink another 10-30 percent by 2050.

A report published in May said the glaciers had already shrunk around 8,000 square kilometers over the past 30 years.

Glacier retreat could disrupt water supply to several of Asia's main rivers that originate from the plateau, including China's Yellow and Yangtze rivers, and India's Brahmaputra.

But the new report also shows the ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau is moving in a positive direction.

"We made the judgment based on two things. First, the local government and central government have paid close attention to environmental protection in the Tibetan region. This shows that humans are actively responding to climate change. Also, we simulated the ecosystem in the region for the next hundred years based on what we know about past patterns and current natural and human activities. It also shows a positive curve," Yao said.

The Tibetan Plateau is now one of the cleanest places on earth. Scientists have urged the government to work to reduce human impact on the region's fragile environment. (cntv.cn)

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(Editor: CHEN Na)

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