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El Nino to continue, raising prospects of natural disasters

By Li Hongyang | | Updated: 2023-12-11 16:25
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Photo taken on Dec 11, 2023 shows a worker cleaning snow on a road in Beijing's Chaoyang district. [Photo by Du Lianyi/]

A moderate El Nino is expected to continue until spring and may lead to a higher risk of natural disasters due to warmer global temperatures and more extreme weather events, according to a recent analysis by Chinese authorities.

The National Disaster Reduction Committee and the Ministry of Emergency Management held a consultation meeting on Dec 5 to assess the national natural disaster risk situation for this winter. The meeting involved various departments, including natural resources, water resources, agriculture, meteorology, energy and forestry.

The analysis said that southern regions may experience higher than usual precipitation this winter, while northern regions could face cold-weather disasters and heavy snow.

The prospects of temporary rain, snow and cold-weather disasters in the southern regions are high. However, the possibility of prolonged and widespread disasters is low.

The risks of forest fires are high in the southwestern regions of the country this winter. Temporary drought conditions are expected to hit southwestern and northwestern areas including Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces and Chongqing.

Strong cold air may affect power lines in northeastern parts of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Heilongjiang province as well as some southern regions, the analysis said.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, El Nino is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon that starts with unusually warm surface water in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, which then goes on to affect the weather worldwide. On average, it occurs every two to seven years, and one episode typically lasts nine to 12 months.

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