Another Devastating Flood Season Predicted for China

Another Devastating Flood Season Predicted for China

According to forecasts from China’s National Climate Center, the coming flood season will be “relatively worse” and “more extreme” than average. It also predicts that the floods could be as devastating as last year, which cause hundreds of fatalities in the Henan province. Just last week, heavy rains affected over 27,000 people from 22 counties in Guangxi and caused $19 billion in economic losses.

Spotlight on China: South China becomes flooded, resembles an ocean, May 13, 2022.

Why This Matters

For each degree of warming, the atmosphere can hold 7% more moisture, making heavy rainfall more common and extreme. In addition to killing hundreds of people, last summer’s rainy season caused $25 billion worth of damage, the second-highest figure for flood damages worldwide.

The effects of extreme flooding are hitting elsewhere, too. Last week, torrential rains pounded northeast India, a region in the foothills of the Himalayas already prone to flooding. In the state of Assam alone, floods and mudslides have impacted 700 villages; a staggering 400,000 people have been displaced; 200,000 people are trapped in the Dima Hasao district with no way in or out; and 11 are reported dead.

“Scientists say the Earth's warming climate is speeding the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting, resulting in frequent floods,” CBS reports.

Guardian: Climate change is making floods worse | Here's how, October 19, 2021.

NASA: Climate Spiral, March 15, 2022.

Preparing For Floods

China is struggling to prepare for what is likely to be another catastrophic flood season. Last year, a lack of preparation caused a tragedy in the city of Zhengzhou, where flooding in a subway station killed 14 people. Experiencing these adverse effects should be a wake-up call, especially for countries like China, which emits more than all developed nations combined.

Unfortunately, this lack of adaptation is common throughout the world.Last September, Hurricane Ida flooded New York’s subway tunnels, and last July, London had to close tube stations due to “monsoon-like drenching,” AP reports. A study published last year showed that of 800 cities studied, 43% of them don’t have a system for managing extreme weather.

Cai Wenjia, associate professor at Tsinghua University’s Department of Earth System Science, told Bloomberg: “There will be more extreme weather events and global temperatures will keep rising. The Chinese public and governments at all levels don’t have sufficient understanding or preparation for climate adaptation, and have not paid enough attention to it.”

South China Morning Post: Zhengzhou residents mourn subway flood victims in China’s central Henan province, July 27, 2021.

The Telegraph: 2021 | A year of extreme weather, November 4, 2021.