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Global Warming Gives Rise to Global Warnings
Meteorologists called on society to protect the climate as a resource for present and future generations as they celebrated World Meteorological Day yesterday.

Global warming is expected to continue for the next five to 10 decades, Qin Dahe, director of China Meteorological Bureau, said yesterday at a ceremony to mark the event in Beijing.

The observed rise in the earth's temperatures was linked to the growing concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

As a result of global warming, the average sea level worldwide has risen by 10 to 20 centimeters since the beginning of the 20th century, Qin said.

"The economic development in China's coastal areas has been affected by the rising sea levels, which have climbed at an average speed of 2.6 millimeters annually in the past five decades," he said.

Initiated by the World Meteorological Organization in 1950, this year's World Meteorological Day's theme is "Our future climate."

In the past, climate changes were due to natural causes. However, recent changes are largely attributable to human activities.

Over the past 30 years, a number of unprecedented extreme weather events such as floods, tropical cyclones and droughts have occurred and caused huge economic losses, said Bi Baogui, director of the Weather Forecast Department under the bureau. "Agriculture will suffer the most due to climate change," Bi said.

The bureau opened its doors to the public yesterday to increase awareness of the impacts of climate change.

More than 3,000 residents - mostly students and young people - visited the bureau and attended its popular science lectures and shows.

"Through our continuing efforts in achieving a better understanding of our climate and the potential threats to it, we hope local governments, academia, the business sector and the public will join together to protect the climate," Qin said.

(China Daily March 24, 2003)

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