The Tibetan Plateau
December 7, 2010
The water resource is perhaps the single most important resource on the planet. It is necessary for the proliferation of life, food production, economic and social development, and has profound effects on the planet at every level of the global cosmos. Water is also one of the most readily manageable resources on the planet. Water may be diverged to areas for any number of positive reasons. It is also a relatively reliable source of clean energy for mankind. The biosphere relies on the hydrologic cycle to keep life and civilizations turning.
Asia is quickly turning into the economically valuable hub on the planet. It has already established itself as the highest human populated region on Earth. Collectively, the watershed provides a substantial amount of water for about 41.5% of the world’s population (China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). Most of the aforementioned countries have some stake in the Plateau and therefore have conditioned thought of privilege to the water resources. At the heart of the continent is the world’s tallest mountain range. The Himalayan Mountain range and Tibetan Plateau is one of the most important and fragile watersheds on the planet. The average elevation of the plateau varies throughout but is 16,500 feet above sea level. It is the source of freshwater for a significant region and population on the planet. For the world’s second most populous country, India, the Tibetan Plateau provides approximately 50% of the countries water resources and 80% of the potable water.
Qin Dahe, the former head of the China Meteorological Administration sums up the holistic issue of climate change and the effects in the region by saying: "Temperatures are rising four times faster than elsewhere in China, and the Tibetan glaciers are retreating at a higher speed than in any other part of the world. In the short term, this will cause lakes to expand and bring floods...
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