East Asia: Intense water surpluses forecast to persist in Guangxi & Guangdong

28 May 2019

The 12-month forecast for East Asia through January 2020 indicates widespread surpluses in southeastern China including exceptional surpluses in the south. Surpluses will also be widespread in much of the Tibetan Plateau. Intense deficits are forecast from western Inner Mongolia across central Xinjiang, and in northwestern Mongolia.

Moderate deficits are expected in a large block of China from eastern Sichuan through Henan and will reach extreme intensity at the border of Shaanxi and Henan.

Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for Mongolia, and moderate deficits in pockets of Northeast China and on the Korean Peninsula.

In Japan, surpluses are forecast for Kyushu, moderate deficits in Honshu, and moderate to severe deficits in Hokkaido.

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

The forecast through July indicates that widespread surpluses will nearly disappear in southeastern China but will persist in the south and will include exceptional anomalies from eastern Guangxi into western Guangdong. Taiwan will transition from deficit to moderate surplus and moderate surpluses are forecast along portions of the Lower and Middle Yangtze River. Intense surpluses are forecast for western Sichuan, southern Qinghai, and western Tibet. Exceptional deficits will persist in western Inner Mongolia but will downgrade in regions to the west. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast between the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, and some moderate surpluses will emerge along the Lower Yellow River. In Mongolia, moderate to severe deficits are expected in much of the country. In Japan, moderate surpluses are forecast for Kyushu and severe deficits in northern Honshu and Hokkaido.

From August through October, anomalies will downgrade significantly throughout the region. Exceptional deficits will, however, persist in a pocket of western Inner Mongolia and will increase across Xinjiang through the Tarim Basin. Some moderate deficits are forecast across central Mongolia and in Japan from northern Honshu through Hokkaido. Surpluses in southern and southeastern China will continue to shrink and downgrade leaving some moderate surpluses in, primarily, southern Hunan and Jiangxi.

The forecast for the final three months – November 2019 through January 2020 – indicates that exceptional deficits will increase in a vast stretch from western Inner Mongolia through northern Qinghai and across the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang. Some moderate deficits are forecast in Mongolia, North Korea, the northern portion of the Lower and Middle Yangtze Basin, and Taiwan. Moderate surpluses will persist in Jiangxi in southeastern China.

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

The United Nations reported the worst harvest in a decade in North Korea, warning of a food crisis there resulting from the confluence of drought, heat, floods, and international policy. The official Korean Central News Agency reported that an average of 54.4mm (2.1 inches) of rain fell on the country since the start of the year, the lowest seasonal rainfall since 1982.

At least four people were killed in a flood in south China’s Guangdong Province last month. The flooding triggered a landslide in Niujiao Village in the city of Qingyuan.

A severe drought in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province has affected over 300,000 people and 273,000 hectares (674,600 acres) of croplands. Nearly 100,000 domestic animals are also facing water shortages.

Precipitation in the Pearl River valley is higher than average, and officials are warning of summer floods amid predictions of seasonal typhoons in the area.

A massive forest fire burned over 1,757 hectares (4,341 acres) of land in the mountains of Gangwon Province, South Korea in early April. Experts warn that the now-cleared mountainscapes create a threat of deadly flooding in the event of heavy rain until the trees grow back - a period of nearly 30 years.

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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