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China Sees Big Global Warming Effects in Tibet

China's official Xinhua news agency reports the mountainous region of Tibet is warming faster than the rest of China - a climate change that could have a long-range negative impact on much of Asia's water supply.

Xinhua says a weather study in Tibet by the Tibet Meteorological Bureau concludes that the average annual temperature is rising faster than anywhere else in the world - going up three-tenths of a degree (0.3 Celsius) every 10 years.

Xinhua's report Sunday indicates that Tibet's average temperature is rising seven and one-half times as rapidly as in China, where measurements shows an average annual increase of four-tenths of one degree (0.4 Celsius) every 100 years. Worldwide, the temperature rise over the past century is only slightly higher.

This year's comprehensive international report on climate change by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says temperatures worldwide have risen less than three-quarters of one degree (0.74 Celsius) in the past 100 years.

Scientists say rising temperatures on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau mean that snow cover will decrease and glaciers will melt at an accelerated rate throughout the area known as "the roof of the world." This is expected to have a sharp impact on water supplies serving all countries in the region.

Although China itself is one of the world's biggest producers of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, scientists there have been warning for years that climate changes in Tibet could dry up major Chinese rivers and trigger drought, sandstorms and desertification.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.