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Jade Dragon Snow Mountain shrinks as temperature rises

The first photo taken at an altitude of 4,506 meters on Yu Long Snow Mountain, or Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, in November 2004 shows a clear picture of the magnificent snowy mountain, while the second one taken at the same location in August 2009 shows a significant difference. [Photo: xinhua] 

Influenced by the global warming phenomenon, the melting of the glaciers at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang city of southwest China's Yunnan Province, has accelerated. Four of the total 19 glaciers at the site have already disappeared.

The observation station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain has indicated that the ice tongue of the largest glacier has receded 250 meters. The lowest point of the glacier has risen from 4,255 meters in 2004 to 4,320 meters in 2009, while the glacier has also 'lost its weight' in thickness.

According to a representative from the glacier research institute at the mountain, continual global warming has contributed the most to the shrinking of the glaciers.

Rainfall statistics for Lijiang over the past 20 years indicate a temperature increase from an average of 13.9 degrees Celsius in 2009 from 12.6 degrees Celsius in 1998. The temperature rise has eventually caused four glaciers to vanish and reduced the total area dramatically.

"The successive melting of glaciers will pose a great threat to the water supply in the region and will lead to the occurrence of geographic disasters and the distinction of some biological species," said He Xianzhong, Director of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Maintenance.

He suggested that under the current conditions, a research study examining the possible allocation of water from adjacent rivers should be conducted to augment the water supply in Lijiang, while giving priority to environmental protection.

Consisting of 13 peaks among which the highest, Shanzidou, has an altitude of 5,600 meters, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a must-see attraction in Lijiang. Noted as the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stretches 35 kilometers and is 20 kilometers wide.