Thursday, March 25, 2010

Future droughts probably serious threat to Taiwan

China Post: Taiwan will possibly follow the steps of mainland China and some Southeast Asia countries and face constant drought threats, said Liu Shaw-chen, distinguished research fellow and lab director of Academia Sinica Research Center for Environmental Changes.

Although Taiwan has already entered the wet season of spring, until March 22, the total rainfall of Tainan in March is only 0.3 mm. Tainan's average rainfall in March in previous years is 35.4mm. Kaohsiung records only one mm of rainfall in March till March 22. If there is no rain before the end of March, the two areas will have the lowest amount of rain in history, according to Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

…Liu said the decrease in rainfall in Taiwan is influenced by the global climate change. In the past century, the surface temperature of the earth had increased by 0.6 degree Celsius and that had changed the raining patterns. “The most pressing impact of climate change in Taiwan is the extreme rainfalls,” said Liu. “Central and southern districts of Taiwan had already suffered from draft for eight years in the last decade.”

According a research done by Liu and his team, in the last 45 years, the days with drizzles in Taiwan are halved. For central and southern districts in Taiwan, where the main water source is drizzles, would face drought much more often. And as the days with torrential rain are doubled that of 45 years ago, the risks of water hazard and landslides are also doubled.

In an interview with United Evening News, Liu said digging reservoirs could solve the extreme rainfall problem. “I really admire the wisdom of the Hakka ancestors,” Liu said. “They lived in mountain areas that cannot access water sources easily. So they dig lakes near their farmlands, which could store rainwater when there were downpours to avoid water hazards, and could provide water for irrigation in dry seasons.”…

Mount Yu, Taiwan, circa 1929

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