Mount Qomolongma Environment Project Launched

An 11-strong scientific study group engaged in a 20-day project named Mount Qomolongma Environment 2001, arrived in Lhasa on May 29.

The field observation, co-sponsored by the Institute of Atmosphere under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Environmental Science Center of Peking University, includes collecting atmosphere samples in non-polluted areas, observing the situation of ozone loss, collecting river samples along the Rongbu River, and establishing an automatic earth meteorological observation system.

According to Prof. Zou Han from the CAS Institute of Atmosphere, Mount Qomolongma, as the world’s highest peak, witnesses the least amount of human activities. Observation and survey of the changing atmosphere and environment in the area will help scientists obtain important information on how it influences, and is influenced by, the global environment. For example, in 1992, CAS scientists observed pollution in the area caused by the Kuwait oil fires.

With the launching of the west China development program last year, Himalayan Mountains region have seen rapid increase in urban population, energy, chemical fertilizer and pesticide consumption, and industrial pollution. This will no doubt lead to great changes in the environment seldom appearing anywhere else in the world. The scientific data to be gathered will, therefore, be important materials for the study of the relationship between human development and the natural environment. They will also provide reasonable solutions to environmental problems arising in the process of developing the west China, said Zou.

Besides, by observing the structure of vertical distribution of ozone in the area scientists will have a deeper understanding of the mechanics of ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere and its influence on the environment. This will lay a solid foundation for scientists to forecast and find ways to cut ozone depletion in Tibet.

Since the 1970s, CAS has conducted a systematic study of weather and atmospheric environment in the area, including many comprehensive experiments. In 1999, as suggested by Ye Duzheng and Gao Dengyi, experts in atmospherics and meteorology, CAS established a 10-year-long project known as “Mount Qomolongma and Himalayan Mountains Environmental Monitoring”.

From May 25 to June 10, 2000, sponsored by CAS, 21 scientists and field explorers conducted the “Mount Qomolongma Environment 2000” project, the first field observation activity in the area.

( 05/31/2001)

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