Chinese state owned media, Xinjua quoted Zheng Gouguang, chief of China’s Meteorological Bureau as saying that the temperature in the Tibet rose an average of 0.32 degrees Celsius every decade since 1961 – considerably higher than the equivalent average national rise of 0.05 to 0.08 degrees, Xinhua said.
Zheng said, “the impact of global warming has accelerated glacial shrinkage, and the melting glaciers have swollen Tibet’s lakes.” Zheng continued “Tibet needs to tackle, and adapt to, the persisting climate change.”
The people of Tibet are adapting to the warmer weather, and for shepherds and those living off the land the warming is welcome, for now. "Yes, it's definitely getting warmer," said Tsawang Dumi, a Tibetan shepherd told the Telegraph "fewer animals died of the cold this winter," he continued.
Tashi, also a shepherd, told the Telegraph in the same report "I have heard of global warming, though I don't really understand what it means, but you can see there is less snow on the mountains. In the old days, all those rocks would be covered. I don't have to take my sheep so far away from the mountain.”
Longer summers and more mild winters mean temporary relief from bighting cold of the Tibetan Platue, but the warming that happens on the roof of the world will have a devastating trickle down effect. Snow melt from Tibet’s Himalaya’s feeds the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, which sustain China's population. The Mekong, the Salween, and the Brahmaputra which flow into India and south-east Asian, also originate in Tibet. If the glaciers continue to shrink at the current rate there will come a time when the two most populous countries in the world, China and India will be without their main water source.