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Lake's Rise Fed by Warming
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The Nam Co Lake in southwest Tibet Autonomous Region has expanded by more than three percent in the past three decades due to global warming, local observers report.


Nam Co, meaning "heavenly lake" in Tibetan, has expanded from 1,920 square kilometers in 1976 to 1,980 square kilometers, said Kang Shichang, head of the Nam Co Observation Station under the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Research Institute.


The water level of Nam Co Lake, the world's highest saltwater lake, rose over 60 centimeters in 2005, and it has risen another 20 centimeters this year, said Huang Zonghu, deputy director of the station, which was set up in 2005 to monitor glacial, aquatic and atmospheric changes in the area.


"The increased water comes from nearby glaciers, which have continued to shrink over the past few decades as global warming has worsened," said Huang.


Located at the foot of the Nyainqentanglha Mountain at an elevation of 4,718 meters, Nam Co is about 190 km northwest of Lhasa, the regional capital.


Although Nam Co has seen little rainfall this year, water levels have continued to rise, said Cering Doje, a station watcher who keeps daily records of the water level.


"It is an important signal that global warming is affecting the ecosystem of the plateau," said Huang.


(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2006)

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