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Global warming drying out source of China's mighty Yellow River

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    ... Global warming drying out source of China s mighty Yellow River BEIJING (AFP) - Global warming is leading to widespread ecological decline at the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 10 6:33 AM
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      Global warming drying out source of China's mighty Yellow River

      BEIJING (AFP) - Global warming is leading to widespread ecological
      decline at the headwaters of the Yellow River, threatening water
      supplies to 120 million people, an environmental group said.

      In a study commissioned by Greenpeace, scientists said Monday global
      warming was melting glaciers and permafrost, which in turn was
      breaking up and drying out the land, turning grasslands into deserts
      and leaving lakes and rivers without water.

      "Climate change is wreaking havoc at the birthplace of China's mother
      river," said Greenpeace China climate change researcher Li Mo Xuan.

      "The plight of the Yellow River is a grave warning. Millions of
      people are at risk from climate change and the world must act now to
      reduce carbon dioxide emissions."

      The Tibetan Plateau, known as the "roof of the world" and the source
      of both the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers -- China's two longest -- has
      seen an overall temperature rise of nearly one degree Celsius during
      the past 30 years, the report said.

      "The higher the altitude, the faster the temperature rises," it said.

      The rise in temperature has resulted in the glacier area in the
      region decreasing by 17 percent in 2000 compared with 1966.

      In the last 30 years, the shrinkage rate of the glacier area has been
      10 times faster than that of the previous 300 years.

      "From here it is a domino effect that harms the flora, fauna,
      landscape and people of the Yellow River source region -- and
      ultimately the river itself," said Professor Liu Shiyin, the leading
      author of the report.

      Due to its particular hydrology, the Yellow River is very sensitive
      to even small changes in its water supply, the report said.

      Over 120 million people rely on the river's water for domestic as
      well as agricultural and industrial uses.

      The river's source region plays the major role in supplying the whole
      river basin, providing 55.6 percent of the water for the length of
      the river above the city of Lanzhou, about 550 kilometers (330 miles)
      from the river's source.

      "Water shortage and reduced run-off at the source will have far-
      reaching impacts upon the economy, society and people's life, not
      only in the source region but in the middle and low reaches of the
      Yellow River," Liu said.

      The Yellow River has historically devastated northern China with its
      frequent floods in the middle and lower reaches where Chinese
      civilization has flourished for thousands of years.

      Since the early 1990s, however, the river has increasingly dried up
      in the lower reaches, not only due to ecological imbalances in the
      headwaters but also because of growing demands for water and
      environmental degradation along its course.



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