Reduced snow cover on the Tibetan Plateau has caused more summer heatwaves in parts of Europe and Asia, a study has found.

The study, by Chinese scientists at the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, revealed the amount of snow on the “roof of the world” is one of the major factors inducing heatwaves in southern Europe and northeastern Asia. Other factors included ocean temperature, soil moisture, changes in land use and greenhouse gases.

File photo: HKFP.

The study was published on Climate Dynamics in July.

Experiments showed thinning snow on the Tibetan Plateau causes high pressure centres in the atmosphere above the region, which could lead to a reduction of cloud formation. This in turn could cause the weather to be drier and warmer, the report said.

Snow in Tibet. Photo: Wikicommons.

Parts of Europe experienced the worst drought in over a decade this summer as temperatures across the continent rose, the Guardian reported.

The situation is expected to get even worse as the world gets warmer. Thinning snow on the Tibetan Plateau will play an increasingly bigger role in shaping Europe’s heatwaves over the coming decades, scientists concluded.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.