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Tag: Tibetan Plateau

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Global warming reaches Tibet; extreme weather on plateau

Global warming has reached the snow-capped Himalayas in southwest China’s Tibet region as the Tibetan plateau is registering rising temperatures and extreme weather, an official climate report said.

The report on climate change and environmental monitoring in Tibet was published by Tibet Climate Centre said that the average temperature in Tibet has been rising by 0.31 degrees celsius every decade.

The report is based on analysis of climate data collected between 1961 and 2013.

Tibet is the highest region in the mid-latitudes, and seen as a barometer of global warming, Du Jun, deputy director of the centre, said.

Rising temperatures have been accompanied by increased precipitation, up by 6.6 millimetres every 10 years for the past five decades, state—run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

There is also a trend of more severe extreme weather as the record low temperature of —36.7 degrees celsius and the record high temperature of 32.3 degrees celsius were logged in Tibet last year.

Du said with the pace of global warming, the average temperature in Tibet would rise by 1.96 degrees celsius from 2011 to 2100, which would be mainly through a rise of winter temperatures.

Warmer temperatures and increased precipitation are likely to add greenery to the plateau region, he said.

source: Hindu Business Line, 23 Mar 2014

Saving the legends of Tibet

In the Tibetan regions of China, ancient legends are kept alive by traditional folk singers. This oral art form dates back centuries and is widely celebrated. And the greatest example is the “Legend of King Gesar”. It’s been called the oriental Homer’s epic. Our reporter He Bei Bei, has been to meet one of the region’s greatest singers, who strives to protect this thousand-year-old tradition.

The wandering melody brings us back to the 11th Century. The people of the Tibetan plateau lived a life dominated by natural disasters and calamities. The son of the God of Heaven, King Gesar, descended to the earth and became the king of the Tibetan people. He defeated the demons, helped the poor and benefited the common people.

Since that time, the Tibetan people singing songs to show their respect and love for him. Dege county in Sichuan Province is the birth place of King Gesar. It is also the birthplace of Arnie – one of the most outstanding Tibetan folk artists.

Like the epic itself, the story that how Arnie knew King Gesar was also mystical.

Arnie, King Gesar Singer, said, “At that time I was 12. I fell asleep when I was pasturing cattle and I dreamed about King Gesar dressed in white on a white horse. He gave me three tasks: the first is to take care of my health; second, protect my throat and the third one is keeping on singing his legendary stories. I bowed three times and promised him. ”

After then, Arnie treated singing King Gesar as a mission of his whole life. Relying on his beautiful voice and the sacred significance of King Gesar, Arnie’s singing has been widely acclaimed and has won several awards. Of course, Arnie’s singing is well loved by Tibetan people.

Neighbour of Arnie, said, “King Gesar is our hero. He is as precious as our hearts and eyes for we Tibetan people. All of us enjoy his legend very much. When we hear some emotional parts we will cry.”

Arnie, King Gesar Singer, said, “I have sung the legend of King Gesar for over 40 years, but it’s not enough to pass it down orally. My biggest wish is to have the stories translated into many languages so that the legend of King Gesar will be heard and understood over the world.”

Arnie and the historic Dege Sutra-Printing House have signed an agreement that three most classic stories of King Gesar will be carved on printing blocks and stored at the Tibetan cultural library forever.

Whenever someone asks Arnie to sing, he sings with passion and energy, linking the generations from ancient times to today.

He Beibei, Dege, Sichuan, said, Arnie told me that 30 years ago, he could sing all 80 singing styles of King Gesar, but now he’s almost 64 years old, and he has to recover some of his memories with the help of audio-tapes. Arnie will keep on singing the epic, but what he hopes for most is that more young artists will join him, so that the legend of King Gesar will always be remembered.

source: CCTV-News, 06 OCT 2012

Tibet, home to diverse wildlife

Tibet, despite being known as the roof of the world due to its high altitude, is home to diverse wildlife. But as human activity in the area increases, the future of animals that roam the plateau is in doubt. Our reporter Liao Ruochen brings us a story from the Chiangtang National Nature Reserve where conservationists are making sure that doesn’t happen.

Chiang Tang lies in the western corner of the Tibetan Plateau. To the south and west, the Himalaya mountain range provides a natural barrier, separating China with the Indian Sub Continent.

And with deserts in the north, this has become one of the most remote and isolated places in the world.

This seemingly bleak plateau has become a safe haven for the animals that have adapted to this harsh land, where the air pressure is only about half of that at sea level.

Few visitors ever come to disturb the peace of this place.

Liao Ruochen, Chiang Tang, Tibet, said, “The natural reserve of Hoh Xil in Qinghai province has made a name for itself, but in fact, a large part of the natural reserve stretches all the way south into Tibet, this is the highest natural reserve in the world, and home to the largest group of endangered animals such as the Tibetan antelope.”

Responsibility of protecting this land rests on the county of Ali. For a sparsely populated small town where the average annual income is less than 3,800 yuan or about 600 US dollars per year, this burden falls heavy on the local Forestry Bureau, who needs to watch over an area about half the size of Germany with only a small group of people.

Gama Zizhu, Vice Director of Forestry Bereau of Ali Couty, Tibet, said, The Chiang Tang nature reserve was established in 2001 to protect the wild animals living in the area. Over a total area of 156 thousand square kilometers, we have 16 kinds of mammals, including the Tibetan antelope, wild yaks and wild donkeys, and hundreds of birds. Before, the Tibetan antelope population was near extinction, and dropped below 10 thousand. After years of efforts, the number has grown to an estimated 70 thousand. The nature reserve currently have 130 conservationists, which means each of them have to patrol an area covering thousands of square kilometers.

And that is no small feat, given the shortage in funds and personnel. These conservationists played a critical role in the whole program, and although they are low on funds, the local government is working with wildlife protection organizations to make sure that they are adequately equipped in terms of knowledge.

Tsering Paldron, Wildlife Conservation Society, China, said, “These conservationist have all been recruited from local villages, they will be excellent examples to other people around them, so that more people will volunteer to help protect the animals and report poachers and other illegal huntings. Through them, we hope to build up overall awareness in local communities. Also, they are used to the environment in the wilderness, and know the area better than anyone else, they can gather informations that no others can, and make experienced observations such as seasonal changes. We are training them to record and locate each group of animals they see to help us in statistical research.”

Zhao Huai Dong, Project Officer, Wildlife Conservation Society, China, said, “The most difficult thing now is that few people know of this place, people don’t even know there is a natural reserve up here, and that most Tibetan antelopes are not in Hoh Xil, not in Qinghai, but in Tibet.”

And this is only the first step. This place is like no other, and sometimes the hardest thing to do to protect this land, is not to keep outsiders out, but keeping the peace between humans and animals that shared this place.

source: CCTV-News, 01 OCT 2012