China’s Yangtze River shrinks as heatwave and drought threaten crops

Ships sail on the Yangtze River near Badong, 100 km (62 miles) from the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

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SHANGHAI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Regions that depend on the Yangtze, China’s longest river, are to deploy pumps and cloud-seeding rockets as a long drought depletes water levels and threatens crops, and that a heat wave is expected to last another two weeks.

The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze have faced temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past month, with experts blaming climate change-induced variations in the subtropical Western Pacific High, a determinant major summer weather throughout East Asia.

As the fall harvest is threatened, the Ministry of Agriculture has deployed 25 teams to key regions to take measures to protect crops, the Shanghai government’s Guangming Daily newspaper reported.

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The heat wave is expected to last another two weeks, making it the longest continuous period of extreme temperatures since records began in 1961, experts from China’s National Climate Center told the official Science and Technology Daily on Monday.

Rainfall in the Yangtze River drainage area fell about 30% in July and is 60% below normal in August, with the river’s tributaries “significantly below” historic levels, according to the Water Resources Commission. Yangtze River water.

Poyang Lake in central China’s Jiangxi Province, which plays a major role in regulating the Yangtze’s water flows in summer, has shrunk to levels normally seen in the winter dry season after a drop in 50% of the rains in July.

Villages that depend on water from the lake have been forced to deploy pumps to irrigate the paddy fields, media reported.

In the sprawling southwestern municipality of Chongqing, facing its second hottest summer since records began in 1961, 900 missiles were made available in an attempt to ‘sow’ the clouds and cause rain, media reported.

Other regions have launched their own weather modification operations.

China normally releases water from the Three Gorges Reservoir to relieve drought on the Yangtze, but flows downstream are half the level a year earlier, official data showed.

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Reporting by David Stanway

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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