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First ozone observatory in Tibet starts operation

January 11, 2008

(Xinhua is the official press agency of the Chinese Communist Party and
the government of China)

LHASA, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- The first ozone measurement observatory in
Tibet Autonomous Region has became operational on the world's highest
plateau, according to local meteorological administration.

With an investment of 1.52 million yuan (208,000 U.S. dollars),
installment on the observatory began last December at an elevation of
3,648.9 meters in Lhasa, the regional capital. It is equipped the
cutting-edge Brewer Ozone Spectrophotometer which alone costs 1.40
million yuan (192,000 U.S. dollars).

"Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is a hot-spot area for international climate
change observation," said Zhang Yong, a senior engineer with Lhasa
Meteorological Bureau,"The comparison of ozone observation data in Tibet
with those in the baseline observatory in Qinghai Province will
accurately reflect the changes in the ozone layer over the plateau."

He said the observatory will provide precise information on the total
ozone amount and the Ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation.

"The sophisticated instrument will regularly send data to Chinese
meteorological departments for analysis, and will be further forwarded
to the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Center (WOUDC) based
in Canada to avail scientist from all over the world," said Zhang.

Lhasa is located in the low-level ozone layer region on western China's
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Chinese scientists have found the ozone layer was
thinner on the plateau during summer, compared with other regions of the
same latitude on the earth.

Ozone is one of the gases forming the Earth's atmosphere and is the
major shield against UVB radiation, absorbing approximately 90 percent
of solar UVB. Excessive exposure to UVB can cause skin cancer in humans
and is a major contributor to glacial melting.

China has installed five Brewer-equipped ozone observatories , including
one in the Zhongshan Station in Antarctica.

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