Scientists are shocked by the rate at which glaciers in northern China’s Qilian mountains are disappearing as global warming brings unpredictable change and raises the prospect of crippling, long-term water shortages.The largest glacier in the 800km (500 mile) mountain chain on the arid northeastern edge of the Tibetan plateau has retreated about 450 metres since the 1950s, when researchers set up China’s first monitoring station to study it. The 20 sq km glacier, known as Laohugou No. 12, has…


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