April, 2007

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China¡¯s Glacier Shrunk by 3,248 Square Kilometers over Past 40 Years

Recently, a great fundamental research project ¨C " Survey on Glacier Distribution and Resource in China " was honored with the National S&T Progress Award (second class). This 24-year study was conducted by a group of China¡¯s top glaciologists headed by Shi Yafeng, a leading researcher from the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS. The result of a series of field trekking surveys reveals that there are a total of 46,298 glaciers throughout the country, occupying a total area of 59,406 square kilometers. They boast 5,590 cubic kilometers of ice, equivalent to 5.03 trillion cubic meters of water. Scientists estimate that water running off from melting measures 61.6 billion cubic meters.
An analysis made by the researchers shows that the total area of China's glaciers has shrunken by 3,248 square kilometers over the past four decades - about 5.5 per cent of the total acreage of China's glaciers in the 1960s. The ice shrunk by 7 per cent, or 389 cubic kilometers, during the same time. And the shrinking shows no signs of slowing down, moreover, it is speeding up the process.


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