Thursday, May 28, 2015

El Niño grows stronger, threatens floods in south, drought in north China

The El Niño weather pattern is growing stronger and threatens to create severe floods in southern China and drought in the north.

The deputy head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief headquarters, Zhang Jiatuan, warned recently that the El Nino phenomenon this year is likely to be stronger than before. It is expected that the southern regions along Taihu Lake, Huaihe River, Songhua River and midstream of the Yellow River will suffer severe flooding.

Meantime, China's northern regions will likely see drought and experience extremely high temperatures this year.

The El Niño phenomenon involves unusually long warm or cold periods in sea surface temperatures.

Li Yan, head of climate and energy at Greenpeace China, said on Thursday that cities in the south including rural areas should improve their drainage systems to prevent severe flooding while the northern regions should plan their water resources to prepare for drought.

"Cities that have never encountered serious flooding will need to be careful, while local governments in the north should plan their water resources as the regions have been suffering from water shortage," she said.

Chen Lei, the minister of water resources, said the El Niño weather phenomenon will result in radical weather conditions and the authority will activate its alarm system and implement preventive measures to reduce damage.

Zhang said flooding in the south has worsened this month. More than 7.8 million people from 15 provinces and autonomous regions have been affected, with 43 dead, 14 missing and 15,000 houses collapsed. The worst hit areas were Guangdong, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and Fujian provinces, he added.

Li told the Global Times that El Niño normally occurs every two to seven years and is formed because of the emission of greenhouse gases.

 She said radical weather conditions will occur more frequently in the future due to climate change.

Data shows that El Niño has occurred 15 times over the past 60 years. The Japan Meteorological Agency said it will continue into late 2015.

   [By Yuen Yeuk-laam Source:Global Times Published: 2015-5-29]

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