Global warming could impact China's major rivers

Oct. 8, 2013 at 6:59 PM
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BEIJING, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The region of China where its three major rivers originate will continue to become warmer and wetter as a result of global warming, monitoring data shows.

The headwaters area on the remote Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has seen its temperature rise 3.5 degrees F along with increasing rainfall between 1961 and 2012, Li Lin of the Qianghai Provincial Meteorological Bureau said.

The average annual temperature rise in the region during this period was higher than the national and global average, Li said.

An advisory report by the bureau predicted by 2100 the temperature in the region will have risen 5.4 degrees F from current levels, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Experts said climate change could be a double-edged sword for the country's "water tower" region, the source of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers.

While melting ice from warming has disrupted the balance of water resources in East Asian rivers, sparking safety concerns, increasing rainfall in the next 50 years may benefit barren highlands and farming, Li said.

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