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Climate change causes Tibet's glaciers to melt faster



May 2, 2006, 16:29 GMT (dpa) Beijing - Global warming is causing Tibet's glaciers to melt faster than expected at a rate of 7 per cent annually, triggering droughts, expanding desertification and increasing sandstorms in China, Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.

The study of meteorological data over four decades based on data from 681 Chinese weather stations prompted Professor Dong Guangrong and experts at the Beijing Academy of Sciences to warn that climate change would have 'serious' implications, the report said.

West China's Qinhai-Tibet plateau or the 'roof of the world,' which accounts for 47 per cent of China's total glacier coverage, is shrinking at 7 per cent annually, Dong said.

Global warming has caused deserts on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau to expand, Han Yongxiang of the National Meteorological Bureau Global said, according to the report.

Average temperatures in Tibet have risen 0.9 centigrade since the 1980s precipitating the melting of the glacier and tundra on the plateau, according to statistics from the Tibet weather bureau.

So far this year, north China has met with 13 sandstorms. In mid April, one such storm covered Beijing with an estimated 330,000 tons of sand. More than 10 million people mainly in north China have been enduring a severe drought and lack of drinking water since mid April.

Tibet has lost 3.4 billion yuan (around 425 million dollars) to 9.5 billion yuan (around 1.19 billion dollars) because of desertification, statistics by the Tibet regional government showed.


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