East Asia: Exceptional water surpluses will persist in Guangdong

17 June 2019

The 12-month forecast for East Asia through February 2020 indicates widespread water surpluses in southern China including exceptional surpluses in Guangdong. Surpluses will also be widespread in Qinghai and in western Tibet (Xizang), with exceptional surpluses along parts of the Yarlung (Brahmaputra) River.

Intense deficits are forecast for Henan in central China and in western Inner Mongolia. Moderate to severe deficits are expected in the Shandong Peninsula in the east and in Yunnan in the south.

Some moderate to severe deficits are forecast for southern North Korea. In Japan, nearly normal conditions are forecast.

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

The forecast through August indicates that surpluses in southeastern China will shrink, particularly along the Yangtze, but will remain widespread and intense in the Pearl River Basin in the south. Exceptional surpluses are forecast for Guangdong and southern Guangxi. Surpluses will shrink and downgrade in Qinghai and western Tibet (Xizang) but will remain exceptional along the Yarlung (Brahmaputra) River. Moderate surpluses are forecast for the Yellow (Huang He) River. Surpluses in northeastern China will shrink considerably though surpluses are forecast for Heilongjiang. Surpluses will increase in northern Taiwan.

Conditions in the Shandong Peninsula will be normal, transitioning from intense deficit. Deficits will shrink and downgrade overall in Henan and Hubei but will be severe to exceptional. Eastern Yunnan will transition from deficit to moderate surplus, but deficits will increase in the south and west.

On the Korean Peninsula and in Japan, deficits will shrink considerably leaving some areas of primarily moderate deficit in northern Japan and from southern North Korea across the border into South Korea.

From September through November, normal conditions will return to much of East Asia. Moderate surpluses will persist in Guangdong and Jiangxi in southeastern China. Deficits will emerge around the Bohai Sea. In western China, moderate to severe surpluses are forecast for Qinghai and more intense surpluses in western Tibet (Xizang), though of decreased extent.

The forecast for the final three months – December 2019 through February 2020 – indicates deficits from western Inner Mongolia, China across the central breadth of Xinjiang with exceptional deficits in the eastern Tarim Basin. Surpluses are forecast for Qinghai and western Tibet (Xizang).

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

Downpours swept over central and southeastern China this month, causing flooding that killed at least 61 people and caused 356,000 others to evacuate. Over 9,000 homes collapsed and 3.71 million hectares of farmland were damaged, contributing to the estimated 13.35 billion yuan (USD $1.93 billion) in direct economic losses. The first round of storms in several days of rain knocked out power to many testing centers administering the nation-wide college entrance exam.

Severe drought over an area of one million hectares (2.47 million acres) in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province has completely dried the Heinigou Reservoir, causing a water shortage for over two million people.  The drought is expected to reduce national sugar output by about 3 percent. In conjunction with pest infestations, the Yunnan drought also prompted China’s top natural rubber producer to suspend tapping at some plantations. Shanghai rubber futures climbed 2 percent in response.

Heavy rains pelted central and eastern Japan with up to 23 mm (0.9 inches) per hour of rainfall late last month, prompting the government to issue flood and landslide warnings. In early June the deluge moved to western Japan, prompting more than 800 people to evacuate and disrupting regional train service.

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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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