East Asia: Water surpluses forecast in Shanghai; deficits eastern Sichuan

31 January 2017

The Big Picture
As seen in the 12-month forecast map for East Asia ending September 2017 (below), water surpluses are forecast for Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui, Fujian, and Taiwan. Deficits are forecast for Sichuan, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and the Liaodong Peninsula. A patchwork of water conditions is forecast for western China. Primarily moderate deficits are expected in central Mongolia.

A drought in Inner Mongolia, one of China’s major beef production regions, contributed to higher slaughter rates overall, as well as to the highest level in 10 years for lamb output, as farmers moved stock to slaughter early rather than lose herds to starvation.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission has approved 1.15 billion yuan (US$170 million) for a cloud-seeding project that will produce rain for the drought-stricken northwest including Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, and Xinjiang provinces. Tangnaihai water station, near the source of the Yellow River, reported 2016 as the driest year since 2003.

New research from World Resource Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas indicates that water stress is on the rise in China, with 678 million people in highly water-stressed areas.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail.

Though surpluses are forecast to persist in a vast area in Southeast China from January through March, they will diminish in severity, except in Shanghai and Jiangsu where exceptional surpluses may persist. Surpluses are also forecast for southern Taiwan.

Moderate to extreme deficits will continue to emerge on the Liaodong Peninsula in Northeast China during this period. Deficits will continue to emerge in eastern Sichuan Province, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Ningxia in the center of the country, and in eastern Yunnan bordering Vietnam.

A vast expanse of exceptional deficit (dark red) intermingled with conditions of both deficit and surplus (purple) is expected across northern China from central Inner Mongolia west to Tajikistan and bleeding north into Mongolia.

Most noticeable in the April through June map is the transition to normal conditions in Southeast China and Taiwan where surpluses were forecast in prior months. The overall lightening of colors elsewhere on the map indicates a forecast of diminished severity of both deficits and surpluses. Moderate deficits are forecast to persist in eastern Sichuan Province, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Ningxia, and to emerge in northern Honshu, Japan. Moderate to extreme deficits will persist across northern China from central Inner Mongolia and trailing westward, as well as northward into Mongolia. Moderate surpluses and small pockets of exceptional surpluses are forecast in the Tibetan Plateau, along with conditions of both surplus and deficit (pink/purple).

The forecast for July through September is similar to April through June.

(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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