East Asia: Water surpluses to persist on middle & lower reaches of Yangtze

The Big Picture
The water anomaly index for the 12-month period ending March 2017 shows widespread moderate to exceptional water surpluses in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in China. Both deficits and surpluses are forecast in western regions of China including the Tibetan Plateau. Moderate deficits are forecast in eastern Mongolia and exceptional deficits in northeast Inner Mongolia. Deficits are forecast for Honshu, Japan.

Flooding along the Yangzte River Valley in central and eastern China has killed 237 people and cost $22 billion in damages, making it the 2nd costliest weather disaster on record in China and the 5th costliest non-US weather disaster in history. Over 21,000 square miles of farmland have been inundated and 147,200 houses destroyed in the worst flooding since 1998.

The Xinhua Road Sports Centre Stadium along the Yangtze in Wuhan, Hubei province filled up like a soup bowl. In Huarong County, Hunan eight rock-laden trucks were deliberately crashed into the river in a harrowing attempt to fill a gap where the Hedu had breached its banks, flooding villages downstream and forcing the hasty evacuation of 10,000 people.

The city of Xinxiang along the Yellow River in Henan province recorded its heaviest rainfall since 1949 - 370mm. Shoes, handbags and other merchandise bobbed through the lower level of a flooded shopping mall.

Forecast Breakdown
Water surpluses are expected to persist in many provinces of China along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, as seen in the July through September map below, though surpluses will not be as severe or widespread as in previous months. Widespread mostly moderate deficits are expected in Mongolia which will persist through March. Deficits are also forecast in Honshu, Japan. Moderate to extreme deficits are forecast in southeastern Yunnan.

In November southeast China will begin to transition from surplus to moderate deficit which will gradually encompass much of the country. Deficits will emerge on the Korean Peninsula in October, persist through March, and be especially severe in South Korea in November. By November deficits in Japan will spread in Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)


Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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