Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tibetan Plateau, Everest

Temperatures are rising fast at the top of the world.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly 2 billion people in Asia, from coastal city dwellers to yak-herding nomads, will begin suffering water shortages in coming decades as global warming shrinks glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, experts said.

The plateau has more than 45,000 glaciers that build up during the snowy season and then drain to the major rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Brahmanputra and Mekong.

Temperatures in the plateau, which some scientists call the "Third Pole" for its massive glacial ice sheets, are rising twice as fast as other parts of the world, said Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, who has collected ice cores from glaciers around the world for decades.

As glaciers melt at faster rates from the higher temperatures, a false sense of security about water supplies has developed across Asia, Thompson said on Friday.

It is going to be an interesting couple of decades. Picture of plateaus glaciers.

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