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China Continues to Get Warmer
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Chinese meteorologists warned that in the 21st century China will become increasingly warmer, with increased precipitation in some parts of the country.

A recent report from the China Meteorological Administration said that in the past 50 years, China's surface temperature rose 0.22 degrees Celsius for every 10 years on average, higher than the increases in global and Northern Hemisphere temperatures.

Compared with the average temperature during the 30 years between 1961 and 1990, China's annual average temperature will possibly rise 1.3-2.1 degrees Celsius by 2020, 1.5-2.8 degrees by 2030, 2.3-3.3 degrees by 2050, and 3.9-6.0 degrees by 2100.

The report also said that the country's precipitation will also be on a rising trend. By 2020, the national average annual precipitation will increase 2 to 3 percent, by 2050, 5 to 7 percent, and by 2100, 11-17 percent.

The sea level will continue to rise, by 2050 it will rise 12-50 centimeters. In the coming 100 years, extreme weather events will possibly increase; drought areas will expand and desertification will be more serious; glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Tianshan Mountains will recede at accelerating speed and some small glaciers will disappear.

By 2050, the area of glaciers in China's northwest will shrink by 27 percent, the report warned.

In the coming four to five years, chances of extremely strong rainfall in east China will be four to six times that of the 1980s and 1990s, and there will be more frequent and stronger typhoons in coastal areas, the report said.

Qin Dahe, director of the China Meteorological Administration, said in a recent press conference that meteorological disasters caused direct economic losses of 200 to 300 billion yuan (US$25 to 37.5 billion) in China annually, which was equivalent to 2 to 5 percent of China's gross domestic product.

Greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon dioxide discharges in particular, are widely considered to be the prime factor in global warming. The Chinese government has backed the UN-brokered Kyoto treaty, and committed itself to improving its energy efficiency by setting the goal of cutting its energy consumption by 20 percent per unit of GDP in the period from 2006 to 2010, Qin noted.

China reduced emissions by some 800 million tons of coal equivalent from 1991 to 2005. The country's forests, grasslands and natural reserves have helped absorb another 3.06 billion tons, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2007)

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