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Chinese Academy of Sciences: Global Warming May Be Very Good For China

Stephen Chen, South China Morning Post

Global warming will benefit China by increasing rainfall in its dry northern regions while reducing flooding in the hotter southern areas, according to a new study by scientists in the country.

The research team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that if the phenomenon continues, the planet’s thermal equator will move northward and push the rain belt associated with the monsoons in East Asia from the southern to northern part of the country.

The thermal equator is made up of a set of locations encircling the planet that have the highest mean annual temperatures at each longitude.

If such climatic change were to occur in China, bamboo forests would reappear along the banks of the Yellow River, which runs from Qinghai province in the far west and empties into the Bohai Sea in Shandong province on the eastern coast, pundits predict.

Moreover, rice paddies would likely expand to the Great Wall, which runs along the dry northern part of China, and Beijing, which faces chronic water shortages, would no longer need to channel water from the south.

In their recent paper published in the influential research journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a team of scientists led by Professor Yang Shiling reported that such a paradigm shift would “soon occur” in China.

Northern China would “eventually become wet as global warming advances,” the team concluded in the paper.The evidence supporting their claim is buried deeply under the Loess Plateau, the cradle of Chinese civilization in the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River.The team analysed the carbon signatures of plant biomass after the last Ice Age, which ended about 20,000 years ago, and found the monsoon belt had moved northward as much as 300 kilometres as temperatures rose globally.

The scientists predicted that the same trend will be repeated in the future as the planet again heats up. However it should spell good news for China as the dry climate plaguing the northern parts of the country will be alleviated by more rainfall if global warming continues, they said.

The new finding challenges the traditional view that global warming will exacerbate water shortages in this part of the world. […]

Debate about the trade-off between the costs and benefits of climate change continues to rage to this day.

While large international authorities such as the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have vowed to tackle climate change head-on, some scientists and organisations believe it may help boost the production of crops and forests, among other benefits.

In a report published Monday the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a London-based think tank, said that all the carbon dioxide being dumped in the atmosphere has helped boost crop production to the tune of US$140 billion a year in recent times.

The foundation has called for a reassessment of the impact brought on by greenhouse gas emissions.

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