XINING, July 28 (Xinhua) — Glaciers covering almost 233 square kilometers have melted over the past 30 years in the source area of the Yangtze River, China’s longest waterway, due to global warming and the melting is accelerating, experts said Tuesday.
By last year, the total area of glaciers had decreased to 1,051 square kilometers from 1,283 square kilometers in 1971. Nearly 1 billion cubic meters of glaciers were melting yearly, said Xin Yuanhong, senior engineer at the Water Resources and Geology Institute of western Qinghai Province.
About 164 square kilometers of glaciers melted in the source area in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from 2002 to 2008. However, the figure was only 68 square kilometers from 1971 to 2002, said Xin, who participated in the ecological and geological survey on the source area of the Yangtze River.
The melt can reduce water in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, dry up lakes and trigger desertification, said Xin.
He said the rising temperatures in the area due to continuing global warm were the major cause of the glacier melt.