Scientists Find China's Glaciers Melting at an Alarming Pace

China's glaciers are melting 50% faster than they had been 20 years ago.
Irmak Bayrakdar

China's glaciers in the Qilian Mountains are melting at an alarming pace, bringing the question of global warming to mind. Scientists say that if glaciers keep melting at their current pace, the long-term water shortages and irreversible climate change effects will be inevitable in the near future, Reuters reported.

The Qilian Mountains — that is 500-mile (800-km) wide — scientists are working on, is home to China's largest glaciers. These mountains are located in Gansu and Qinghai areas on a Tibetan plateau which is known as the world's third pole with its large ice reserves at high-altitudes. 

Studying a fast-melting glacier

The team conducted research on one large glacier named "Laohugou No. 12" which spans 7.7 square miles (20 square km) and is located on the Northeast chain of the Qilian Mountains. This glacier had also been the subject of another similar research back in the 1950s around the time China's monitoring station in the mountains was first set up. After careful examination, Laohugou No. 12 was found to have shrunk 7% compared to when it was first studied, per Reuters.


This was not the scientists' only clue. After taking a look at the surroundings, the team has found that the amount of water flowing in a stream near the Laohugou No. 12 has also doubled in 60 years, according to Qin Xiang, the director at the monitoring station.

Glaciers are melting 50% faster than they did in the past 

Another research that compared the data between the years of 1990-2010 to that of 1956-1990 from the China Academy of Sciences shows that the glaciers' melting pace across the mountains is 50% faster today than it was in the past.

Qin also stated that "The speed that this glacier has been shrinking is really shocking," according to Reuters. 

With the current state of our Earth and the warming temperatures, the melting of the glaciers all around the world, sadly, is nothing new. However, this particular finding puts forward something new, and hopefully, we can work on reversing the detrimental effects of global warming and reclaim what once was. 

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