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Scientists warn of less water supply over melting glaciers in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Time: 13-11-2018 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

Glacier in Tibet|
Glacier in Tibet

Scientists have warned that the melting glaciers in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as the world's Third Pole, will cause a reduced water supply in coming decades, affecting billions of people downstream.

The plateau, with tens of thousands of glaciers, is the headwaters of Asia's 10 largest rivers, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Indus, Yarlung Zangbo and Syr Darya rivers, which provide water for three billion people across Asia.

By 2060 to 2070, rising temperatures due to climate change will lead to ever-stronger glacier retreat on the plateau, and rivers fed by the seasonal melting will provide less freshwater, said Yao Tandong, an award-winning glaciologist and director of the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

A team of scientists led by Yao completed a research mission to the plateau in September. They found that from 1960 to 2012 temperature hikes in the polar region reached a staggering 0.3 to 0.4 degrees Celsius per decade, over two times that of the global average, and the glacier lost 15 percent of its mass.

"If temperatures increase two degrees Celsius globally as indicated by the Paris Conference on Climate Change, this region could see a temperature hike as high as four degrees Celsius," said Yao.

Though the glacier melting on the hotter plateau so far has not caused less river flow but created more water, it has resulted in ice avalanches, floods and other risks to the region.

In 2016, two glaciers collapsed and ravaged meadows, causing a lake tsunami and killing nine herders and hundreds of livestock at Aru village in Ngari Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Another glacier collapsed in October at the Yarlung Zangbo River in Tibet, blocking the river and forming a barrier lake. The backwater even destroyed a bridge above the river.

Without actions to mitigate global warming, the rise in temperatures will aggravate evaporation and accelerate glacier retreat, causing small glaciers that cover less than two square kilometers to disappear, large glaciers to shrink and main rivers to lose water, said Yao.

In October, 16 Chinese research institutions launched a project on the environmental study of the Pan-Third Pole, a 20-million-square kilometer region encompassing the Eurasian highlands.

Researchers will build an unprecedentedly integrated observation network with advanced facilities in air and space, such as polar-orbiting satellites, remote sensing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The project will provide support and management strategies for pushing forward the ecological protection of the plateau.

Yao also called for joint efforts with neighboring countries in scientific research "to explore pathways for sustainable development of the polar region."

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user portrait Mr. Mo*** from: Travelers' Questions Might Help

I'm interested in the 14 day trip from Lhasa to Nepal trip. In in January or February would be great. how much would that be? is there space?

best regards Mo***

Answered by Nancy

Dear Mo***,

Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. Sorry we do not have any group tour in Jan or Feb to Kailash as there will be heavy snow and the road will be blocked, and also the area would be closed, and no one do the business there, no hotel, no restaurants there. So from Nov to March we would not send any groups there.
If you would like to do this tour, you must plan it from April to Oct. and at present we have the group tour in next 6th May and 29th May, and we will have more available date in future. if you are interested in joining in this, please kindly let me know. Best regards.

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