EAST ASIA: WATER DEFICITS EXPECTED TO INCREASE IN NORTHEAST CHINA

21 June 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast for East Asia (below) indicates widespread, intense deficits reaching exceptional severity in western Inner Mongolia stretching west through northern Gansu, northwestern Qinghai, and southern Xinjiang, and north through Mongolia. Conditions of both deficit and surplus are also indicated for these regions as transitions occur.

Moderate deficits are forecast in Northeast China with severe to extreme deficits in Liaoning and southern Heilongjiang. A vast stretch of Southeast China will also experience deficits, ranging from moderate to exceptional, including Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

A pocket of exceptional surplus is expected at the central border of Shaanxi and Shanxi along the eastern arm of the Yangtze River’s Ordos Loop. Moderate to severe surpluses are forecast in the Huai River Basin through Anhui and Henan, and moderate surpluses in eastern Qinghai. Surpluses are expected to reach exceptional intensity in western Tibet and along the western Yarlung River (Brahmaputra) north of Nepal. 

Severe deficits are forecast for western North Korea. Some scattered moderate deficits are forecast for Japan.

FORECAST BREAKDOWN
The 3-month time series maps below show the evolving conditions in more detail.

The near-term forecast through August indicates that the extent of exceptional deficits in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia through southern Xinjiang will diminish considerably, though widespread deficits of varying severity are expected and a large pocket of exceptional deficits will persist in western Inner Mongolia. Deficits will increase in Northeast China with some areas transitioning from surplus. Deficits are expected to be severe to extreme in Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. Though exceptional deficits will shrink in Southeast China, moderate to exceptional deficits are forecast for Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangxi, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Surpluses on the Lower and Middle Reaches of the Yellow River will nearly disappear, but moderate surpluses will persist in the Upper Reaches. Intense surpluses in the Yangtze Basin will retreat as well, but moderate to severe surpluses are forecast for the Huai River Basin. Moderate surpluses are forecast along Yunnan’s northern border and into northwestern Guangxi. Exceptional surpluses are forecast in western Tibet and along the western Yarlung (Brahmaputra) River, with deficits in eastern Tibet. Hainan will transition from surplus to mild deficit.

Severe deficits will persist north of Pyongyang, and moderate deficits are forecast for much of the remainder of North Korea. In Japan, deficits are expected to be severe in Okinawa while primarily mild anomalies, both deficits and surpluses, are forecast for the rest of the country.

The forecast for September through November indicates that deficits will shrink and moderate in Mongolia. Across the border in China, severe to exceptional deficits will persist from western Inner Mongolia through southern Xinjiang, with some areas exhibiting both deficit and surplus conditions. Deficits will shrink in Northeast China but severe deficits are forecast for Jilin and southern Heilongjiang. Deficits will persist in Southeast China, with moderate deficits spreading north through Zhejiang, west into Guizhou, Chongqing, and eastern Sichuan, and south through Hainan. Conditions in the Huai River Basin will transition from surplus to near-normal.

Moderate deficits are expected throughout North Korea, and will spread in Japan.

The forecast for the final months – December through February – indicates that conditions along China’s southeast coast will transition from deficit to near-normal, but deficits will persist elsewhere in China and will spread in Mongolia.

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

IMPACTS
Drought is persisting in Northeast China and has affected nearly 1.2 million hectares (2.95 million acres) of land in Heilongjiang Province, the country’s largest corn and soybean producer. At the end of May, the Songhua River, which flows through the capital of Heilongjiang, was at its lowest level in 11 yearshalting commercial boating operations including river cruises. 

Over 63,000 people in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region are affected by drought, according to its civil affairs department. Roughly 1,400 require subsidies for lost crops and 500 face shortages of drinking water. Economic losses due to crop damage are estimated at 7.6 million yuan (1.2 million USD).

Tropical Storm Ewiniar hit southern China in early June, dropping up to 112 mm (4.4 inches) of rain on the island province of Hainan. A rain-induced landslide killed five people in nearby western Guangdong Province on the mainland, and initial estimates of damages across the province total 300 million yuan (47 million USD). Floods closed schools and inundated vehicles in low-lying areas of several other cities in the region. Three people were killed in storms preceding Ewiniar when they were struck by lightning on the summit of a mountain in Guangxi.

Tropical Storm Gaemi battered the southern Japanese Okinawa prefecture, evacuating homes across one island when 500 mm (19.7 inches) of rain fell in 48 hours. Japanese weather officials say that the downpour was an event that is expected to occur on average only once every 50 years.

NOTE ON ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARIES
There are numerous regions around the world where country borders are contested. ISciences depicts country boundaries on these maps solely to provide some geographic context. The boundaries are nominal, not legal, descriptions of each entity. The use of these boundaries does not imply any judgement on the legal status of any territory, or any endorsement or acceptance of disputed boundaries on the part of ISciences or our data providers.

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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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