July 12, 2007
Photo: A woman carries her baby at the foot of the 7,191 metre Nojing Kangtsang glacier. Massive glaciers in northwest China have melted at an alarming rate over the past 40 years, with global warming believed to be the culprit,
BEIJING (AFP) - Massive glaciers in northwest China have melted at an alarming rate over the past 40 years, with global warming believed to be the culprit, scientists said in published comments.
China's remote Xinjiang region is home to nearly half of the nation's glaciers that supply the rest of the country and other parts of Asia with water.
However they have shrunk by 20 percent and snow lines there have receded by about 60 metres (200 feet) since 1964, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a report, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Global warming is believed to be to blame, with the internal temperature of the glaciers rising by 10 percent over the past two decades, the academy said.
"Like the hard drive of a computer, glaciers record how the environment has changed. Warm weather has been the major cause of the glaciers' retreat," Xinhua quoted Wang Feiteng, a researcher with the academy, as saying.
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