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Thursday, March 15, 2007 : 0320 Hrs

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  • International
    Global warming blamed for extreme weather in Qinghai-Tibet

    Beijing, March 15. (PTI): Unusually heavy snow in March in the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan plateau has prompted Chinese meteorologists to believe global warming is responsible for the extreme weather in the fragile Himalayan region.

    In early March, heavy snow fell on most areas east of the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province, bringing precipitations of 10 to 18 millimetres, 16 times more than the same period on average, a meteorologist at the Qinghai Provincial Climate Centre, Dai Sheng said.

    "There are no records of such a heavy snowfall for this area in a normally dry spring season, especially for many sandy areas," Dai said.

    The temperatures in northern Qinghai were also 0.1 to 4.4 degrees Celsius lower than average for early March.

    However, in October, the average temperatures in Qinghai was 1.4 degrees Celsius higher than average, the highest in 45 years.

    Dai said, global warming contributed to the occurrence of extreme weather on the plateau and forecast such weather will occur more often in the future.

    Tibet, which neighbours Qinghai, has also experienced several heavy snowfalls since the beginning of March.

    A snowstorm hit the southern and southwestern areas of the region on Monday and Tuesday, with precipitations of 10 to 16 millimetres forming snow drifts of up to 33 centimetres.

    China's average temperature for the 2006-2007 winter was minus 2.4 degrees Celsius, 1.9 degrees higher than normal years.

    The snowstorm which hit northeast China in early March -- the strongest March snowstorm in 56 years -- was a result of an overly warm winter, said a meteorological expert with the Central Meteorological Station.


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