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Rising Temperature On Tibet Plateau To Have Global Impact

Beijing, Feb 2. (PTI): Chinese scientists have warned that rising temperatures on the fragile Qinghai-Tibet plateau could trigger more disasters in China as well as globally as it will hasten melting of glaciers, drying up major rivers like the Yangtze and Bhramaputra and triggering droughts and desertification.

The rising temperatures on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau also known as the "Roof of the World" will have a rippling effect on climate and environmental changes, Chinese researchers said.

Quoting data collected from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the scientists said that the region's temperature has risen by up to 0.42 C each decade since 1980s.

"The rising temperature has made us look for answers to a series of questions-- how will the change affect the climate in the vicinity, the rest of China, Asia and even the world?", Xu Xiangde, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, was quoted as saying by "China Daily."

Xu's warning comes at a time when some 500 scientists and officials were meeting in Paris to iron out a report on how fast the world was warming, how serious global warming was and how much were humans to blame for that, the official newspaper noted.

Xu said decades of research on the plateau had found that a change or move in water vapour or clouds above the plateau would create an impact, immediate or remote, on weather conditions in other parts of China, and even the world.

For instance, based on analyses of satellite data, Chinese scientists have traced the cloud clusters that caused the floods in the summer of 1998, the worst in decades in China, back to the strong movement of clouds above the plateau in July that year.

Researchers have partly attributed the scorching weather to the temperature on the plateau, which was 2 to 4 C higher in 2005-06 winter and the plateau's snow cover dropped up to 10 per cent compared with other years, according to a report of the National Meteorological Centre.

One of the worst results of the rising temperature on the plateau could be an ultimate change in the volume of water flowing into the Yangtze, the Yellow, the Bhramaputra and other rivers that originate in the mountainous region, Xu said adding that the meteorological data from the Qinghai-Tibet region were not sufficient.

China and Japan are cooperating on a four-year meteorological research project to build new generation observation stations on and around the plateau to get a forewarning on possible climatic disasters.

Aside from Japan, China has also worked with the United States, South Korea and other countries to better understand climatic changes on the plateau, Li Yueqing, director of the Chengdu Institute of Plateau Meteorology under the China Meteorological Administration, said.

Already, researchers at the China Aero Geophysical Survey and Remote Sensing Centre for Land and Resources have found that the plateau's glaciers have been melting at an average of 131.4 square kilometres a year over the past three decades.

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