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Glacier melt speeds up at major sites in western China

Posted November. 22, 2018 07:30,   

Updated November. 22, 2018 07:30


Reports suggest that the glaciers at major sites in western China, known as Asia’s drinking water source, have been melting at an alarming speed, raising the risk of floods and other disasters.

An article published on Hong Kong newspaper media Ming Pao quoted a Greenpeace analysis that “the amount of water that melts from glaciers in western plateaus in China is reaching 70 billion cubic meters each year, which is melting twice as fast as before.” According to Greenpeace, China’s glaciers covers 51,800 square kilometers and accounts for 30 percent of glaciers in the low and middle latitude areas across the globe. “Glaciers in China provide freshwater for 1.8 billion people. The melting of glaciers raises an alarm for China and the rest of the world,” explained Greenpeace.

We are already experiencing floods caused by melting glaciers. In October, the glaciers in the upper part of the Brahmaputra River melted, causing a massive flood of 25 million cubic meters and created victims of 6,600 people. The river originates from Mount Kailash in the southern part of the Tibet plateau and flows into India and Bangladesh. In August last year, the glaciers of the western plateau melted and caused a flood in Yarkand River in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China. Scientists warned that the rapid melting of glaciers could increase risk of flood in the region.

“Glaciers in the Qinghai region of the Tibetan plateau are decreased by about 15 percent compared with 50 years ago,” said the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “The temperature is rising faster than the global average.”

Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com