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Three Decades of Drought on the Huang Huai Hai Plain of China

Paper Reviewed
Wang, Q., Shi, P., Lei, T., Geng, G., Liu, J., Mo, X., Li, X., Zhou, H. and Wu, J. 2015. The alleviating trend of drought in the Huang-Huai-Hai plain of China based on the daily SPEI. International Journal of Climatology 35: 3760-3769.

Introducing their work, Wang et al. (2015) write that "drought is one of the costliest natural disasters (Wilhite, 2000; He et al., 2011), and it is also the most complex and the least understood natural disaster that affects humans (Hagman et al., 1984; Wilhite, 1996)." Therefore, hoping to learn more about the history of this phenomenon in the Huang-Huai-Hai (HHH) Plain of China, they calculated daily Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) values, which they used together with assessments of Annual Total Drought Severity (ATDS), Annual Total Drought Duration (ATDD) and Annual Drought Frequency (ADF) that they calculated from 1981 to 2010 based on data obtained at 28 meteorological stations scattered throughout the region of their study. And using these indices, along with Hovmoller diagrams, and by applying the Mann-Kendall test to them, they then went on to assess "the variability and pattern of drought characteristics for the period from 1981 to 2010 in the HHH plain."

This work revealed, as the nine scientists report, that (1) "severe drought occurred in the 1980s, the late 1990s and the early 2000s," while (2) "very severe" drought events "occurred in 1981, 1986, 1997 and 2002." In addition, they state that (3,4) "decreasing trends for both ATDS and ATDD were found," and that (5) "the drought situation did not worsen under global warming during the past 30 years." In fact, they determined that (6) "the drought situation is alleviating in the entire HHH plain"

So what do we have to "blame" for this spate of especially good news? Could it be atmospheric CO2 enrichment? ... a phenomenon that climate alarmists blame for a whole host of deleterious environmental phenomena? Well, it actually could be; for a number of studies have clearly demonstrated that as the air's CO2 content rises, so too does the efficiency with which water is used by almost all types of terrestrial vegetation, making what water that is available last longer and do more for a region's vegetation than it could under less CO2-"polluted" conditions.

Hagman, G., Beer, H., Bendz, M. and Wijkman, A. 1984. Prevention Better Than Cure. Report on Human and Environmental Disasters in the Third World, 2nd edition. Swedish Red Cross, Stockholm, Sweden.

He, B., Lu, A., Wu, J., Zhao, L. and Liu, M. 2011. Drought hazard assessment and spatial characteristics analysis in China. Journal of Geographic Science 21: 235-249.

Wilhite, D.A. 1996. A methodology for drought preparedness. Natural Hazards 13: 229-252.

Wilhite, D.A. (Ed.) 2000. Drought as a natural hazard: concepts and definitions. In: Drought: A Global Assessment, Vol. 1. Routledge Publishers: London, United Kingdom, 3-18.

Posted 14 March 2016