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Bodies of Water in the Western Half of Tibet’s Lakes Region

31.2N 83.5E

October 28th, 2009 Category: Climate Change, Lakes

Tibet, China - September 24th, 2009

Tibet, China - September 24th, 2009

Lakes of various colors interrupt the arid landscape of Tibet’s Lakes Region. The ones visible here, mainly salt or alkaline, are found at an altitude of about 4800 meters on the western side of the region.

Although the bodies of water visible here appear free of ice, lakes in this area often freeze solid due to the high altitude and low temperatures. In fact, the Tibetan Plateau contains the world’s third-largest store of ice.

The China Meteorological Administration has reported that temperatures in Tibet are rising four times faster than elsewhere in China, and that the Tibetan glaciers are retreating at a higher speed than in any other part of the world.

The administration noted that although this may be good for agriculture and tourism in the short term, it will cause also lakes to expand and bring floods and mudflows. In the long run the glaciers, which supply water to Asian rivers such as the Indus and the Ganges, could melt and disappear, putting water supplies in those regions in danger.

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