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|Monday, May 28, 2001, updated at 15:46(GMT+8)|
Weather Forecasters Help Detect SandstormsChina has been frequently able to provide relatively accurate and timely forecasts for sandstorms raging across the country's northern regions, particularly the drought-prone Northwest, in recent years, according to a leading weather official.
Li Huang, deputy director of China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said over the weekend that this year the Central Meteorological Station, under the CMA, has for the first time brought sandstorm forecasts into its regular weather forecast this spring. This information was relayed to the public via the media.
So far this year, the CMS has succeeded in predicting 16 sandstorms 24 to 48 hours ahead of their occurrences, Li confirmed.
Statistics from the CMA indicate that by mid-May this year, sandstorms have appeared 18 times, blowing sand or dust in the North, Northwest, and parts of Northeast China. No casualties were reported.
Sandstorms are strong windstorms, especially in semi-arid areas neighbouring deserts, that carry clouds of sand or dust, reducing visibility drastically, the CMA's experts say.
The sand and dust usually causes serious air pollution, difficulties in everyday life, and even casualties and economic losses. To tackle the problem, China set up its State-level sandstorm monitoring and alarm system on March 1, the beginning of the period of bad weather.
The system consists of 24-hour observation by ground meteorological stations across the country and remote sensing and data transmission by meteorological satellites.
Li urged his agencies throughout China to make further efforts to improve sandstorm early warning systems and carry out a series of research projects to promote sandstorm forecast technology.
World climate changes and the droughts in China over the past years are major reasons for more sandstorms, Li said.
At the same time, spreading desertification caused by overlogging or overgrazing, the random-use of water resources and large-scale construction projects for rapid urbanization have also resulted in bad weather.
Although China may face a new period of frequently occurring sandstorms, Li is confident that a series of effective counter-measures, including massive afforestation throughout China and turning lots of farmland into forests or grassland in western regions can help reduce the damage caused by sand or dust storms in the coming years.
Source: China Daily
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