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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Swelling Lakes Threaten Disaster in Tibet?

August 23, 2010

Web Editor: Zhang
August 21, 2010

Chinese experts have warned that swelling lakes
on the Tibetan Plateau created by thawing
glaciers may lead to major disasters.

The water level at Zigetang Co Lake in northern
Tibet has risen 1.8 meters in the past four
years, while the world's highest salty lake,
Namtso, has also risen 20 to 30 centimeters each
of the last five years, according to the
Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, .

The expanding lakes have affected the lives of
locals and posed further geological threats.
Science Times magazine says more than 10,000
hectares of grasslands in 6 counties in Nagqu
Prefecture, northern Tibet, have been submerged
as a result of ten nearby lakes swelling their banks.

Zhu Liping, from the Institute of Tibetan Plateau
Research, attributed the lake expansions mainly
to glaciers that melt at an unprecedented speed due to the warming climate.

"The surface of Namtso Lake has continued to
expand since the 1970s sustained by increasing
rainfall and water flow from glaciers. Although
rainfall contributes most, the accelerating
melting of glaciers is also boosting lake level."

Kang Shichang, head of an observation station at
Namtso from the Institute of Tibetan Plateau
Research, said temperature on the plateau has
increased steadily over the past five decades,
faster than the worldwide rise in the same period.

Kang said swelling lakes in valleys posed an even
greater threat than lakes in flat terrains.
"Severe geological calamities such as mudslides
and floods will follow if water breaches lake banks," he explained.
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