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Black carbon seen to affect water sustainability of Tibetan Plateau

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(TibetanReview.net, Dec10’22) – An international research team has found that black carbon is affecting the water sustainability of the Tibetan Plateau, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Dec 9, citing the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Kang Shichang, NIEER researcher and leader of the study, has said the recent study revealed that black carbon had an indirect effect on the shrinkage of the Tibetan Plateau’s glaciers.

The report said an NIEER research team and researchers from other institutions in China, Sweden and the United States had carried out the study by applying integrative analysis (which refers to a set of strategies in which two or more independent data sets are pooled or combined into one and then statistically analyzed).

The study was stated to provide evidence that black carbon conceivably reduces precipitation over the southern Tibetan Plateau, and in turn diminishes the water supply on the plateau.

The water supply reduction was reported to have increased the glacier mass deficit, which will affect the water balance of the plateau and its water supply to downstream regions in the future.

Known as the “Water Tower of Asia,” the Tibetan Plateau supplies water to many Asian rivers which sustain almost 2 billion people – about a quarter of the world’s population.

The results of the study have been published in the journal Nature Communication, a multidisciplinary journal which covers the natural sciences, including physics, chemistry, earth sciences, medicine, and biology.

As regards the source of the black carbon pollution, the study has focused on South Asia, saying on its https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-35128-1 posting: “The integrative analysis presented here highlights the effects of historically increasing black carbon emissions that originate from the heavily industrialized and densely populated regions of South Asia; if such emissions persist, they will continue to reduce the southern Tibetan plateau summer precipitation.”

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