China Confronted by Unusually Active Typhoon Season, with Global Warming Threatening More of the Same

Global warming is contributing to an unusually harsh typhoon season in China. Instead of late July, this year the first typhoon hit Guangdong province in mid-May—the earliest recorded typhoon in that region since 1949. The head of the China Meteorological Administration, Qin Dahe, said that the strength of typhoons is increasing, the destructive power of typhoons that have made landfall is greater, and they seem to cover a wider geographical area than normal. Natural disasters in China this year have killed 1,699 people in 2006 so far and left another 415 missing, according to the its Red Cross Society.

The higher temperatures associated with global warming are likely to bring more frequent and more destructive storms in coming years. Even as some areas of China are hit by typhoons and resulting floods, other parts of the country are suffering from intense drought, another by-product of global warming. In Sichuan province, nearly seven million people are currently in urgent need of drinking water due to a severe drought. In the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, the drought is threatening the water supply for 17 million people.

“Global Warming Behind Killer Typhoon Season in China: Experts,” Agence France Presse, 14 August 2006.