Contrary to what many experts say, Chinese scientists have found
no evidence in the middle and eastern part of the Himalayas that
glaciers are either receding rapidly or melting fast.
The glaciers in the region are melting comparatively slowly,
said Zhang Wenjing, a leading scientist from an international
Himalaya expedition team.
In the 1980s, some overseas experts forecast that the Himalayan
glaciers would melt away completely in 50 years, and experts in
China predicted that glaciers in west China would disappear around
the year 2020.
Zhang, who works with the Chengdu Institute of Mountain Hazards
and Environment under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: "Those
predictions may be excessively pessimistic -- so far glaciers in
the middle and eastern part of Himalayas have not shrunk on any
"If that was the situation, the lakes under the glaciers would
be flooded," Zhang said.
Although acknowledging the effects of global warming, Zhang said
the glaciers in the Himalayas and other parts of western China will
not melt in the coming decades or even centuries.
Zhang said that another widely reported forecast -- that the
icecap in the South Pole would soon melt totally -- is also too
The Antarctica icecap measures 13 million square kilometers.
With average temperatures at 30 degrees centigrade below zero, a
lot of heat is needed to make it melt, Zhang said.
He said that the Earth's temperature will not continue to rise
indefinitely, and a new "cold period" will come in several hundred
At the end of 2004, China had more than 47,000 glaciers,
covering an area of 59,000 square kilometers.
The team launched a month-long expedition on Monday with a team
of 12 Chinese and seven scientists from India, Nepal and
The researchers will compare the physical geography,
physiognomy, geology, ecosystem and economic development of the
southern and northern slopes of the Himalayas.
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2006)