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Three Gorges Project 'Not to Blame' for Severe Drought
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Chinese meteorologists on Friday denied that the Three Gorges Project was linked to the severe drought, the worst in 50 years, that is ravaging western areas of China.

Dong Wenjie, director of the climate research centre under the China Meteorological Administration, said in Beijing that there is no relation between the current drought and the Three Gorges Project, China's largest hydro-power project.

The global greenhouse effect is the chief reason for droughts, especially in upper latitude regions of the northern hemisphere, he said. China's Chongqing Municipality and Sichuan Province, the worst-hit areas, are located in these regions.

According to the expert, the global greenhouse effect had led to rising temperatures, abnormal climate change and severe drought, as well as a series of social problems, such as drought-triggered poverty.

The direct reason for the drought in western China is the impact of abnormal air movements over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the expert said.

Caused by booming human activities, deforestation and industrial projects in urban areas, the heat island effect around big cities also plays a role in producing the hot weather and rising temperatures. The heat island effect around Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, and Chongqing has partly led to a dry summer and a lack of rainfall.

According to experts at meteorological stations of Sichuan and Chongqing, constant typhoons, which have landed in coastal areas in southern and eastern China this summer, have prevented the entry of cold air fronts into the Sichuan Basin.

Without cold air, the basin is covered solely by high-pressure currents and has no chance to produce rainfall, experts said.

The dry weather over the basin will continue until August 20 due to a lack of moisture in the air currents.

The Three Gorges Project will not produce any negative influence on the local atmosphere, said Liu De, director of Chongqing municipal meteorological station.

(China Daily August 19, 2006)

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