Global warming takes toll on nation

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-02 06:57

Global warming has caused China to experience its second warmest winter in 50 years. It has also caused sandstorms, heavy fog and severe drought.

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said yesterday the winter season from December 2006 to February 2007 recorded a national average temperature of -2.4 C, following the warmest winter in the country between 1998 and 1999, with an average temperature of -2.3 C.

Song Lianchun, spokesman of CMA, told a press conference that the national average temperature and the regional average temperature in 19 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities last month were the highest compared to the corresponding periods each year since 1951.

High winter temperatures have an adverse affect on agricultural production. Pests are able to survive and breed rampantly.

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Song said this winter the country has also been hit by heavy fog, sandstorms and drought.

In some areas of north and south China fog lasted for up to 10 days, causing chaos to transportation and worsening air pollution.

By the end of last month, a large part of north, northwest and southwest China had been stricken by severe drought.

Six million people in Chongqing could be facing water shortages by the beginning of May due to drought along the Yangtze River, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Song warned that Sichuan Province and Chongqing, which suffered from drought and scorching-high temperatures last year, could possibly be hit by drought again this year.

He said the northern part of the country has experienced four sandstorms since the start of the year.

On Wednesday, wind gusts from a sandstorm derailed a train in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, leaving three dead and more than 30 people injured.

Song said another expected cold front over the weekend could possibly cause more sandstorms in Xinjiang, Gansu and Inner Mongolia.

The good news, however, is that the CMA expects fewer sandstorms this year, compared with 2006.

It said there might be 11 to 15 sandstorms in the north in spring, compared to 18 in 2006.

Snow and rain can be expected in the middle and eastern areas of the country in the next few days with the drop in temperatures.

(China Daily 03/02/2007 page2)

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