Friday, March 12, 2010

Drought in China Continues

This arrived today in my inbox, from SCIENCE News This Week:

Severe Drought Puts Spotlight on Chinese Dams
Richard Stone

"Southwest China's monsoon-driven climate doesn't bring much precipitation in autumn and winter. But this year's dry season—coupled with a late start and early end to last year's rainy season—has left the region parched. Environmental groups in Thailand and elsewhere lay at least part of the blame on China's doorstep. They claim that China's management of a series of dams on the Lancang River has aggravated the unfolding crisis. Yet Chinese engineers and some other scientists say the criticism is unfounded."

The news article concludes:
"Things may get worse due to climate change. After examining weather and tree ring data, Fan Ze-xin, a tree physiologist at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, has found that in the past 40 years Yunnan has grown warmer and drier—a trend that started long before the dams were built. In a nature reserve near the botanical garden, he grabs leaves from a seedling; dry as parchment, they disintegrate. "Some of these leaves are fresh," Fan says. "I haven't seen it as bad as this.""

Read more:
Science 12 March 2010. Vol. 327. no. 5971, p. 1311
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5971.1311
Sign up for the e-newsletter from Science.

Some relevant titles in the library's collection, each including information on drought or desertification in China:
Feb. 2009 News story from the BBC : Nearly 4 million people were said to suffer from water shortages in the prolonged drought, leading the government to declare a state of emergency more than a year ago.  More recently, 6 million people were reported as being affected by the drought [Straits Times, Singapore, March 3, 2010]

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