China’s autumn harvest is under “severe threat” from high temperatures and drought, authorities have warned, urging action to safeguard crops when confronted with the country’s hottest summer on record.
The world’s second-largest economy has been hit by record temperatures, flash floods and droughts this summerphenomena that scientists have warned have become more frequent and intense because of climate change.
Southern China has recorded its longest sustained amount of high temperatures and sparse rain since records began a lot more than 60 years back, the agriculture ministry said.
Four government departments issued a notice on Tuesday urging the conservation of “every unit of water” to safeguard crops.
“The rapid development of drought superimposed with high temperatures and heat damage has caused a severe threat to autumn crop production,” the statement said.
China produces a lot more than 95 percent of the rice, wheat and maize it consumes, but a lower life expectancy harvest could mean increased demand for imports in the world’s most populous countryputting further pressure on global supplies already strained by the conflict in Ukraine.
Temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) have led multiple Chinese provinces to impose power cuts, as cities battle to deal with a surge popular for electricity that’s partly driven by people cranking up the air-con.
The megacities of Shanghai and Chongqing have cut outdoor decorative lighting, while authorities in Sichuan province have imposed industrial power cuts after water levels dropped at key hydroelectric plants.
The searing heat can be drying up the critical Yangtze River, with water flow on its main trunk about 50 percent less than the average during the last five years, state media outlet China News Service reported the other day.
‘Worst heatwave ever’
In Chongqing, where a lot more than 1,500 individuals were evacuated after hot and dry conditions sparked multiple wildfires, locals were struggling.
“Personally i think too hot to sleep every evening, and I’m awakened by heat each morning,” Xu Jinxin, a 20-year-old student, told AFP.
“Due to the electricity shortage, we don’t leave the air conditioning equipment on all day long but rather transform it off once it’s cooled off a little.”
The national meteorological service renewed its warnings for drought and high temperatures on Tuesday, calling for 11 provincial governments to activate emergency responses.
Authorities have previously considered cloud seedinga solution to induce rainfallin places.
State broadcaster CCTV published footage this month showing meteorological staff shooting catalyst rockets in to the sky and firefighters transporting water to farmers in need.
“This is actually the worst heatwave ever recorded,” climate and energy expert Liu Junyan of Greenpeace East Asia told AFP.
“Climate science shows extreme heat is now exponentially worse,” she said.
“So it is much more likely that next year could have record-breaking heat.”
This year’s extreme weather is raising public knowing of climate change in China, with state media “now coming around to covering climate impacts” with unprecedented urgency, Liu said.
Government climate expert Zhou Bing warned on the weekend of mass displacement due to climate change, describing extreme weather as nature’s “revenge” on humanity.
China has experienced three other episodes of intense heat up to now this centuryin 2003, 2013, 2017.
The gap between heatwaves is “significantly shortening”, in accordance with Zhou.
For all those coping with the sweltering summer, “life continues on with some endurance”, said Xu, the Chongqing resident.
Citation: China warns of ‘severe’ threat to harvest from worst heatwave on record (2022, August 24) retrieved 24 August 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-china-severe-threat-harvest-worst.html
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