China to build observation station to study melting of glacier range

December 26th, 2007 - 3:31 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Dec 26 (ANI): China is building an observation station at the foot of the Qilianshan Mountains to monitor the melting of its longest glacier range, which has been significantly receding because of global warming.

The observation station will track atmospheric conditions, glacial melting, tundra, frozen earth plants and hydrological conditions near the mountains.

The authorities previously organized large-scale scientific surveys of the glaciers in the late 1950s, 1984 and earlier this year.

The latest survey revealed the worst glacial recession appearing at the Yanglonghe glacier No 1 at the Qilianshan Mountains.

It had receded 260 m when compared with data obtained from a similar survey 23 years ago, the Science Times quoted Liu Shiyin, a principal investigator from the CAS as saying.

After using radar to measure the thickness of the Qiyi Glacier in the Qilianshan Mountains, the research team observed that the whole glacier had been shortened by an average of 19.6 m, with the thickness at its edges reduced by at least 50 m in the past two decades.

The glaciers in the region, said to be the most studied glacial area in the country, had receded 7.4 percent compared with the 1984 measurements, said Liu.

The Ili River Valley, the Junggar Basin and the upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbu River saw the most rapid glacial recession, 18 percent less than those measured in 1984, the newspaper reported.

“The glaciers were significantly reduced by global warming resulting from continuous human-activity-related climate change,” said Liu. The receding glaciers will affect farm irrigation systems and people’s livelihood in a vast area covering north and central China, he added.

According to Qin Xiang, a senior researcher at the CAS institute, the west section of the mountain range was an ideal place to observe the ecological and environmental systems of the glaciers. (ANI)

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