Wednesday, December 26, 2007

China’s Glaciers (and People) are in Trouble

From Celsias Blog

Yes, more bad news about glaciers melting around the world, and this time it is from the “Third Pole” as the Tibet (or Himalayan) Plateau is known.

Western China is experiencing glacial melt in the 7 to 18 percent range in the last five years. The area is part of the so-called Third Pole as it is an area that reflects the sun’s heat, much like the North and South Polar regions. Of course, when the snow and ice melts, it exposes the darker Earth underneath, which then serves as a “heat sink”, which in turn exacerbates the melting and thus exposes more earth and rock, and well, you see where this is heading. A little something called the “Albedo Effect.”

The Third Pole may be even more crucial as it is on a part of the globe that receives much more sunlight than either the Arctic or Antarctic. We have been reading about the ever-quickening loss of ice at the Poles, but now a Chinese survey of the Western part of the country shows that things are much worse than previously thought.

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