The Diplomat In China, Climate Change Is Already Here The Diplomat The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fourth Assessment Report (issued in 2007) predicted an increase in extreme rains in western and southern China and a decrease…
Northern China is currently experiencing a severe drought. Xinhua reports that Henan Province, one of China’s top grain producers, has suffered economic losses of 7.3 billion renminbi ($1.2 billion) due to the drought, with agriculture representing 97 percent of those losses. Neighboring Hebei Province is also suffering, with rainfall levels in some areas at less than 50 percent of yearly averages. Liaoning Province, meanwhile, is in the midst of its worst drought since the province began keeping meteorological records in 1951.
Even as northern Chinese provinces dry up, southern China is experiencing devastating floods. In southwestern China, July flooding due to extreme rainfall killed at least 34 and caused 5.21 billion RMB ($839.8 million) in damages. In mid-July, Typhoon Rammasun, the largest to make landfall on China in 40 years, brought more rains and flooding. More recently, heavy rains have complicated efforts to rebuild after the August 3 Yunnan earthquake, and just this week more flooding in Guizhou province killed at least 12 people.
The droughts in the north and floods in the south may not be a coincidence, but part of a future trend caused by global climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fourth Assessment Report(issued in 2007) predicted an increase in extreme rains in western and southern China and a decrease in rainfall in the north. And changes in rainfall patterns are only one small part of the challenges climate change poses for China.