The changing face of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Yunnan province can be seen in this combination photo. [Xinhua]
The spectacular panoramic views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain have long drawn visitors to capture one of China's most natural scenic spots.
Located in Yunnan province, the worldwide tourist spot is famed for the snow-capped glacier that has dazzled tourists and photographers for years.
But global warming is changing this once picture perfect site as the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere is melting away.
The sanctuary for rare animals and wild plants is almost covered by sand.
Lack of snow in the winter and more rain in summer is accelerating the loss, according to staff with the local weather bureau cited by China News Service.
"The shrinking is speeding. Between 1994 and 2002, Mingyong Glacier has shrunk just 50 meters. But since 2006, it has shrunk 200 meters."
The change is also obvious to tourists.
"Last time I saw frozen snow on the mountain but this time I just see plants, " said Yin Li from Shandong province.
Dwindling snow on mountains is not just a problem unique to China. The snow line of the Alps has evaporated 100 meters in the past fifty years due to global warming.
Experts believe the speed of the shrinking ice cap is due to global warming caused by a rising world population, increased industrial activities and the growing discharge of pollutants.
Even in the mountains without footsteps, glaciers are melting, but local human activity can speed the melting, said Yang Shiyu, an ecology professor with Kunming University of Science and Technology.