1 January 2007 – The environmental condition of the fragile Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is worsening mainly due to global warming, which could adversely result in dwindling of water resources in China and India.
According to a geological survey conducted by the Remote Sensing Department of the China Aero Geophysical Survey, showed the plateau, seen as a barometer for the world’s health, has shrinking glaciers, a rising snow line, dwindling wetlands, and more serious desertification compared with 30 years ago.
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which accounts for nearly one quarter of China’s landmass, stretches into the Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The landscape is the highest and youngest plateau in the world and has been dubbed ‘the third pole’. It is also home to the source of many big rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Bhramaputra and Ganges.
“As the ‘thermometer’ of the global environment, any slight environmental change in the plateau is a reflection for the globe,” Deputy Director of the China Geological Survey, Zhang Hongtao said.
The survey, which used remote sensor technology, is intended to provide an overview of the plateau’s geological conditions and help its future economic development, Zhang said.
“The direct harm is the threat of the loss of the country’s fresh water resources,” Senior Engineer at the Remote Sensing Department, Fang Hongbin was quoted as saying by China Daily.