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Tibet's 1st state-level climate observatory set up
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China has completed construction of a state-level modernized climate observatory in Xigaze City, southern Tibet Autonomous Region, also the first of its kind in Tibet, to better monitor climatic changesĀ on the "roof of the world."

The observatory features such modern equipment as a GPS/MET observation system, atmospheric element observation system, lightning positioning observation facility and a meteorological satellite remote sensing receival system, said Dainzin, chief of the general office with Xigaze Prefectural Bureau of Meteorology.

"The new modernized observatory will play an important role in improving the accuracy of weather forecasts in Xigaze region," Dainzin said. The observatory began construction early this year and costs 1.8 million yuan (about 240,000 U.S. dollars).

In accordance with a China Meteorological Administration development plan, similar facilities will be constructed in other areas of Tibet if conditions warrant.

Tibet experienced its third warm winter in the last seven years between December 2006 and February 2007, with a temperature rise of nine degrees in some areas, the Tibet Autonomous Regional Meteorological Bureau said.

Global warming has led to the acceleration of glacial melting in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which, regarded as a barometer for the world's climatic conditions, has seen its glaciers melt at an annual average rate of 131.4 square kilometers over the past three decades, scientists said.

They also warned that Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, which sits in the southern part of Xigaze and 8844.43 meters above sea level, will eventually become naked without the cover of snow and ice if global warming continues to melt the glaciers in the plateau.

(Xinhua News Agency November 17, 2007)

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