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Mercury Rising on Qinghai Plateau
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New research undertaken by the Qinghai Provincial Climate Center has shone light on the abnormal rise in temperatures experienced on the Qinghai Plateau over the past decade with worrying extremes frequently being reported, Xinhua News Agency reported on April 2.


This phenomenon is all the more significant since China is currently battling climate change with Qinghai and the Qinghai-Tibet plateaus particularly vulnerable to global warming, noted Wang Qingchun, senior engineer with the Qinghai Provincial Climate Center.

According to Wang, the annual average temperature of Qinghai Plateau has risen consistently for 46 years, although the trend worsened in the 1990s. The average temperature from 1998 to 2006 marked nine successive record increases, registering 1.5 degrees higher than that in the 1960s.


Qinghai Plateau


A characteristic of this trend has been the reduction of the gap between traditionally warmer and colder areas. For example, the colder north of the Qinghai plateau has seen its temperature difference with the warmer south shrink with also less of a temperature drop being felt at night-time or in winter.


From September 1998 to May 1999, the average temperatures registered by 97.3 percent of meteorological observatories in the province all broke existing records. In the second half of July 2000, most northern reaches saw unprecedented hot weather. Jainca County saw a staggering 40.3 degrees Celsius during the daytime, the first time the 40 degree barrier was topped in the plateau.


Wang revealed that studying the Qinghai Plateau's climate patterns could help predict further temperature rises in the Chinese mainland since the plateau’s particular susceptibility to global warming places it five or six years ahead of the rest of China.


(China.org.cn by Zhang Tingting, April 4, 2007)

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