Drought in southwestern China caused by climate change: experts (2)

08:54, March 29, 2010      

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Zhang said the lingering cold air mass that formed last September in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau had fenced off the warm and moist currents from the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, and at the same time the cold air from the north has had difficulty reaching the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau hinterland.

"The cold and warm currents can't converge to produce rain, so there is little rain," Zhang said.

Sun Honglie, director of the national expert committee on climate change, told the magazine that he was inclined to believe that the drought was a result of anomalous atmospheric currents.

"It is not an environmental or ecological problem," he said. "But the drought is bound to have an impact on the ecological system."

Another expert, Chen Yiyu, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also said the year has seen anomalous climate conditions globally and that the drought in China is part of the phenomenon.

Globally, climate-related natural disasters have climbed from less than 50 a year in the 1950s to between 350 and 450 a year in the 2000s. In 2009, extreme weather events affected 55 million people around the world, according to figures released by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

Source: Xinhua
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