Friday, May 23, 2014

Climate change melting Chinese glaciers

Tim Mayr in Austrian Tribune: According to state-run media report on Wednesday, climate change has caused shrinkage of thousands of square kilometers over the past 30 years in Chinese glaciers. Glaciers in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in western China have witnessed the shrinkage of 15%, or 8,000 square kilometers, said the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The researchers said climate change has played a big role in glacier melting in the region which includes the Chinese portion of the Himalayas. The rate of melt has accelerated since the 1990s. Ice on Mount Everest has experienced more and bigger cracks, which indicate a sign of rapidly melting glaciers, said Kang Shichang, a researcher with the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute of CAS.

A March report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has claimed that the issue of climate change must not be trivialized as it does not only threat humanity by inducing extreme weather conditions, but by disrupting water security worldwide as well.

According to the IPCC, shrinkage of Himalayan glaciers will nearly be half if global average temperatures seek a rise by 1.8 degrees C by 2100. Glaciers in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are known as home to several Himalayan rivers, like Brahamaputra. And these glaciers have shrunk 15% because of climate change.

Over a period of last 30 years, between 53,000 and 45,000 sq km shrinkage has been caused in glaciers. Climate change is highly likely to impact Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the highest place in the world's mid-latitude regions. Shrinkage started in glaciers since the 20the century and accelerated since the 1990s, said Kang....

NASA image of Himalayan glaciers in Southern China

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