Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tibet challenged by global warming

Xinhua: Tibet has felt some of the largest impact of global warming, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) chief Zheng Guoguang said here Wednesday. "In Tibet, the mercury has climbed an average 0.32 degrees Celsius every decade since records began in 1961," Zheng told more than 500 officials at a meeting in Lhasa on climate change. "This is much higher than the national average temperature rise of 0.05-0.08 degrees Celsius every 10 years."

Temperatures in Tibet have risen continuously over the past 48 years at a rate much higher than the national level, a meteorologist said Monday. Tibet's temperature rise had also topped the global average of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade.

The plateau region, with an average altitude above 4,000 meters, is a "magnifier" of global warming as it is more sensitive to temperature changes, Zheng said. He said greenhouse gas tends to affect higher altitudes, but Tibet, given its underdeveloped industries, produces little greenhouse gas itself.

“The impact of global warming has accelerated glacial shrinkage and the melting glaciers have swollen Tibet's lakes," he said. "If the warming continues, millions of people in western China would face floods in the short term and drought in the long run." Further, extreme weather conditions often cause geological disasters including mud-rock flows and landslides, he said…..

Sand dunes and snowy mountains near Samye monastery, shot by Nathan Freitas, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License

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