Soot on Tibetan snow causes rainfall over India, China

March 4th, 2011 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 4 (IANS) Soot falling on the snow covered Tibetan Plateau causes more rainfall over India and China, says a new study.

Soot precipitates the plateau’s glacier to melt sooner than usual each year, causing farmers below it to have less water for their summer crops.

In a domino effect, the melting then prods two of the region’s monsoon systems to become stronger over India and China.

“On the global scale, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide cause the most concern related to climate change,” said Yun Qian, study co-author and atmospheric scientist at Pacific Northwest National Lab in the US.

“But our research shows that in some places like the Tibetan Plateau, soot can do more damage,” Qian was cited by the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics as saying.

Qian and colleagues focused their research on the Tibetan Plateau, a giant outcropping of land between China and India that’s nicknamed the “Roof of the World”, according to a Pacific Lab statement.

About five times the size of Texas and as much as eight km high in places, the Tibetan Plateau greatly influences Asia’s weather, including the annual deluge of rain and strong winds that come with monsoons.

Glaciers and snow on the plateau grow and melt as seasons change, providing runoff that feeds most of the region’s major rivers, including the Yangtze in China and the Ganges in India.

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