Global warming makes China's glaciers shrink by equivalent of Yellow River
BEIJING (AFP) Aug 23, 2004
Global warming is causing China's highland glaciers, including those covering Mount Everest, to shrink by an amount equivalent to all the water in the Yellow River every year, state media said Monday.

A staggering seven percent of the country's glaciers vanish annually under the sweltering sun, enough to fill its second-largest river to the brim, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua, quoting leading glacier expert Yan Tandong, said this has been going on for the past four decades.

This would seem to imply that the glaciers regain some of their losses during the cold months of the year, or there would be very little of them left by now.

The issue is of particular concern to Tibet, home to nearly all the country's glaciers, and even Mount Everest has been found to be suffering, Xinhua reported.

A potential silver lining in the form of additional water for China's arid north and west has not materialized, according to the agency.

Much of the melted glacier water vaporizes long before it reaches the country's drought-stricken farmers and again global warming is to blame, it reported.

Yao previously told local media that as many as 64 percent of China's glaciers may be gone by 2050 if current trends continue.

The human cost could be immense, since 300 million Chinese live in the country's arid west and depend on water from the glaciers for their survival.