(TibetanReview.net, Jan06, 2017) – A total of 99 new lakes had formed and there had been “extensive” lake expansions across the Tibetan Plateau over the last four decades due to climate change resulting from global warming, said a Xinhua news agency report posted on the china.org.cn website Jan 5. The findings were reported to have been published in the latest edition of the American journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The report cited Zhang Guoqing from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, the lead author of the paper, as saying that besides the north and south poles, the Tibetan and Mongolian plateaus were the most sensitive regions to climate change.
“We found 99 new lakes and extensive lake expansion on the Tibetan Plateau during the past four decades from 1970 to 2013,” Zhang was quoted as saying. The team was reported to have attributed this to increased precipitation and cryospheric (frozen water part of the Earth system) contributions to the region’s water balance.
In contrast, Zhang was cited as saying, on the Mongolian Plateau, 208 lakes had disappeared and 75 percent of those remaining had shrunk, with the shrinking being stated to be due mainly to activities by mankind.
A report released by the institute in 2015 had stated that the Tibetan Plateau region’s average annual temperature had risen by 0.3-0.4 degree Celsius every ten years from 1960 to 2012, about twice the average of the rest of the world. It added that the temperature had risen more sharply year on year in winter and in northern part of the plateau.
Climate change models have been cited as showing that the next 100 years may see the plateau warming by 4 degrees Celsius.