East Asia: Widespread waters deficits forecast for Mongolia

28 February 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast for East Asia through October 2019 indicates widespread surpluses in the Lower and Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River Basin extending south into Guangxi. Surpluses will be intense in southern Hunan and northern Guangxi. Widespread surpluses are also forecast for the Tibetan Plateau, and pockets of surplus are expected in Northeast China.

Deficits reaching exceptional intensity are forecast for western Inner Mongolia and southeastern Mongolia, along with conditions of both deficit and surplus (purple) as transitions occur.

Severe deficits are forecast for western Jilin in Northeast China, with moderate deficits trailing southwest from there through Liaoning, Beijing, Shaanxi, and into eastern Sichuan. Deficits in Taiwan could reach exceptional intensity.

Moderate deficits are expected in North Korea. In Japan, primarily moderate deficits are forecast for Honshu and Hokkaido, and moderate surpluses for Kyushu.

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

The forecast through April indicates the emergence of a vast stretch of extreme to exceptional water deficits in southern and eastern Mongolia and into Inner Mongolia, China, interspersed with conditions of both deficit and surplus as transitions occur. Deficits will increase and intensify in western Jilin, becoming exceptional. Primarily moderate deficits will form a broken path from Beijing through Shanxi and southern Shaanxi into eastern Sichuan. Moderate surpluses will emerge on the Lower Reaches of the Yellow River.

In the southeast, widespread surpluses of varying intensity will persist in the Yangtze Basin’s Lower Reaches and in the southern portion of the Middle Reaches, reaching into Guangxi. Surpluses will be exceptional in Shanghai and Jiangsu. However, moderate deficits are forecast on the Han River, a northern tributary of the Yangtze. Intense surpluses are also forecast for much of the Tibetan Plateau.

On the Korean Peninsula moderate deficits are forecast in North Korea, and some pockets of moderate surplus in South Korea. In Japan, moderate to extreme deficits are forecast for northern Honshu, and moderate surpluses in Kyushu and in Hokkaido near Sapporo.

From May through July, surpluses in southeastern China will diminish considerably leaving some moderate surpluses along the Lower and Middle Yangtze and nearly normal conditions from Hunan to the coast. Moderate surpluses will persist, however, in Guangxi and along the Xi and Xun Rivers in the south. Surpluses will downgrade in the Tibetan Plateau but will become severe along the Lower Yellow River and will emerge along the Middle Yellow River. Deficits will moderate in Northeast China and surpluses there will nearly disappear. Deficits in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia are expected to downgrade, but an intense pocket will persist in western Inner Mongolia along with conditions of both deficit and surplus. Relatively mild anomalies are expected on the Korean Peninsula and in Japan.

The forecast for the final three months – August through October – indicates persistent deficits in southeastern Mongolia and western Inner Mongolia, an increase in the extent of intense deficits in Xinjiang in the west, and emerging moderate surpluses in the Pearl River Basin (Zhujiang) in the south.

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

IMPACTS
By public vote, Japan declared the Chinese character for “disaster” as its “defining symbol” for the year of 2018. Over the course of the year the country suffered deadly floods, a typhoon, an earthquake, and a deadly summer heatwave.

Many western Japan residents have been living in temporary housing since floods swept through parts of western Japan six months ago. In towns that were ravaged by what the mayor of Saka called an "unprecedented disaster" populations are declining, forcing local businesses to close. The number of contractors available to tear down heavily damaged properties under a subsidy program has been inadequate to keep up with the number of claims filed; in some towns only 1.4 percent of filed properties were torn down.

A severe cold spell lasting three days caused residential water use meters in Seoul, South Korea to freeze and burst. Temperatures bottomed out around minus 11 degrees Celsius (12.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

An unseasonable warm spell in Heilongjiang, China melted sculptures created by 10,000 artists as part of the country’s largest winter festival. The meltdown forced park authorities to close the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 10 days early and refund tickets to anticipating tourists from around the world. Since this season’s opening in late December, the park has attracted over a million visitors.

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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