LHASA - China has succeeded in creating artificial snow in the northern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region for the first time, according to the local meteorological department.

Taking advantage of suitable weather conditions, the Tibet meteorological station carried out an artificial snowfall operation in Nagqu County in northern Tibet on April 10 at an altitude of about 4.500 meters.

"This proves it's possible for humans to change the weather on the world's highest plateau," said Yu Zhongshui, an engineer with the meteorological station.

Just 1 cm of snow lay on the ground after the artificial snowfall.

In human history, weather control has traditionally been reserved for ancient sky "gods" but, over the last sixty years, scientists have become increasingly interested in tampering with the weather, claiming that they can benefit mankind.

As well as China, countries such as the United States, Australia, Russia, Pakistan, India and Thailand have all carried out artificial rain-making projects.

The approaches involve the use of chemicals like silver iodide to precipitate rain. They may be released from aircraft, or fired from the ground as flares.

The jury is still out on the long-term effects of this kind of climate engineering, or "pluviculture".

Chuffed by the Chinese 'success', Yu said that it is considered difficult to generate artificial snow or rain in high altitude areas, because the conditions are not conducive to the formation of hydrometeors -- such as rain, snow, fog or clouds -- formed by the condensation of water vapor in the atmosphere.

"Artificial precipitation can help alleviate summer droughts on the northern Tibet grasslands," Yu argued.

"It will benefit people raising livestock," he added.

Tibet experienced a warmer winter this year --- a result of the global warming trend. The average temperature on the plateau was 2.7 degrees higher than in normal years.

Global warming has led to the acceleration of glacial melt in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, dubbed as the "Roof of the World."

The plateau, regarded as a barometer of world climate conditions, has seen its glaciers melt at an annual average rate of 131.4 square kilometers over the past three decades.

Shrinking of glaciers as well as drought of lakes and decrease of grassland are threatening the plateau, geologists said.

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the cradle of three main Chinese rivers, the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers. Most of the Chinese civilization emerged along the valleys of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers.