(TibetanReview.net, Feb 6) – The headwaters of Yangtze River in Qinghai Province had lost 196 sq km of glacier in the past nearly four decades in a trend of melting occurring at a “worrying speed” due to global warming, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 4. “The reduction means more than 989 million cubic meters of water melted away,” it quoted Xin Yuanhong, senior engineer in charge of a three-year field study of glaciers in the region, as saying.
The eastern side of the glaciers in the Tanggula Mountain Pass, which is traversed by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, saw the fastest melt rate, with the front receding 265 m annually, the report said.
“Melting glacier water will replenish rivers in the short run, but as the resource diminishes, drought will dominate the river reaches in the long term,” Xin was quoted as saying. However, apparently increased usage due to economic development, Yangtze river has already started shrinking. It now covers 1,051 sq km, down from 1,247 sq km in 1971, the report said.