Glaciers on Qinghai-Tibet plateau shrink 15 percent over last 50 years

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/9/6 23:33:40

Glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and neighboring regions have shrunk by 15 percent in the past half a century, a researcher said.

Meanwhile, the permafrost has shrunk by 16 percent, said Yao Tandong, chief scientist of China's second comprehensive scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, when releasing the initial expedition discoveries Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

Yao, also an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the melting glaciers - a result of rising temperatures - have expanded lakes and increased water flows in rivers originating from the area. The number of lakes larger than 1 square kilometer has increased to 1,236 from 1,081, he said.

In recent years, the climate on the plateau, which has a fragile ecosystem, is becoming warmer and more humid with temperatures rising at twice the global average.

Higher temperatures have brought more water resources, but this has broken the earlier balance on the plateau, resulting in more frequent disasters, including glacier collapses, said Yao.

In June 2017, China launched its second comprehensive scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau after more than 40 years. The expedition, which will last five to 10 years, aims to study changes in climate, biodiversity and environment over the past decades.


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