China begins new survey on glaciers

China begins new survey on glaciers

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Beijing, China, 22 May 2007: China has launched a project for detailed survey of its glaciers on May 22 to discover the impact of global warming on them over the past three decades.

The previous survey on glaciers was made in China during 1978, which found that China had 46,298 glaciers covering a total area of 59,406 square kilometers.

China has conducted some research on glaciers in recent years, but it is said that it lacks overall picture of the health of glaciers, and cannot fully evaluate the impact of their shrinking on water resources in west China. According to results of some studies more than 82 percent of the glaciers in China have shrunk over the past three decades.

A new analysis by the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute under Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said that glaciers in China have shrunk by 3,248 square kilometers, or 5.5 percent, in the past 40 years. Their volume has declined by 389 cubic kilometers, about 7 percent of the total 40 years ago. The shrinkage of glaciers has brought great changes to the water and climate, and caused many natural disasters in west China, said scientists.