Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Glaciers In China And Tibet Fading Fast

Date:
February 22, 2009
Source:
World Wildlife Fund
Summary:
Glaciers that serve as water sources to one of the most ecologically diverse alpine communities on earth are melting at an alarming rate, according to a recent report.

Open boats on Shennong Stream, in the Three Gorges off the Yangtze River in China. Glaciers in the Yangtze source area, central to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in south-western China, have receded 196 square kilometres over the past 40 years.
Credit: iStockphoto/Ivor Clarke

Glaciers that serve as water sources to one of the most ecologically diverse alpine communities on earth are melting at an alarming rate, according to a recent report.

A three-year study, to be used by the China Geological Survey Institute, shows that glaciers in the Yangtze source area, central to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in south-western China, have receded 196 square kilometres over the past 40 years.

Glaciers at the headwaters of the Yangtze, China's longest river, now cover 1,051 square kilometres compared to 1,247 square kilometres in 1971, a loss of nearly a billion cubic metres of water, while the tongue of the Yuzhu glacier, the highest in the Kunlun Mountains fell by 1,500 metres over the same period.

Melting glacier water will replenish rivers in the short term, but as the resource diminishes drought will dominate the river reaches in the long term. Several major rivers including the Yangtze, Mekong and Indus begin their journeys to the sea from the Tibetan Plateau Steppe, one of the largest land-based wilderness areas left in the world.

“Once destroyed it will be extremely difficult to restore the high-altitude ecosystems,” said Dr Li Lin, head of Conservation Strategies for WWF-China. “If industrialized and developing countries do not focus their efforts on cutting emissions, some of this land will be lost forever and local populations will be displaced.”

Glacier retreat has become a major environmental issue in Tibet, particularly in the Chang Tang region of northern Tibet. The glacier melting poses severe threats to local nomads’ livelihoods and the local economy.

The most common impact is that lakes are increasing due to glacier melting and some of the best pastures are submerged. Meanwhile small glaciers are disappearing due to the speed of glacier melting and drinking water has become a major issue.

“This problem should convince governments to adopt a ‘mountain-to-sea’ approach to manage their rivers, the so-called integrated river basin management, and to ratify the UN Water Convention as the only international agreement by which to manage transboundary rivers,” said Li Lifeng, Director of Freshwater, WWF International.

“It should also convince countries to make more effort to protect and sustainably use their high altitude wetlands in the river source areas that WWF has been working on.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Wildlife Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Wildlife Fund. "Glaciers In China And Tibet Fading Fast." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220185537.htm>.
World Wildlife Fund. (2009, February 22). Glaciers In China And Tibet Fading Fast. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220185537.htm
World Wildlife Fund. "Glaciers In China And Tibet Fading Fast." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220185537.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins