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Fewer, Milder Sandstorms Predicted for 2005
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On Thursday, China National Environment Monitoring Center published a network monitoring survey saying that the country can expect a lower frequency and intensity of sand and dust storms overall this year.


Due to low rainfall in the northwest of Gansu in 2004, the number of sandstorms initiated there is expected to increase, resulting in more storms in western regions but fewer in the east.


Since there were no dramatic changes in conditions in the north of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Alxa region of Inner Mongolia, sandstorms originating there should maintain a similar frequency and intensity as last year.


North central Inner Mongolia and the Onqin Daga desertified region are expected to produce fewer sandstorms this year as levels of vegetation improved there in 2003, helping to bind the soil.


Similar improvements in the condition of vegetation in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and northern Shaanxi Province will also have a positive effect, with areas "downstream" of them, including Beijing, seeing fewer and less severe sand and dust storms.


According to analysis of data from recent years, most of the north of the country, apart from areas of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and western Gansu Province in January, should not be affected by sand and dust storms.


(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2005)

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