The Three Gorges reservoir, the largest man-made lake in the world now being built on the Yangtze River, will become an "air-conditioner" once full to capacity, according to the findings of a scientific research program.
Scientists in the program, organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and carried out in the past five years, say theoretical research shows that when completed the Three Gorges reservoir can store 39.3 billion cubic meters of water.
They believe the huge lake will function as an "air-conditioner," lowering the temperature in nearby Chongqing Municipality by 5 C during summer and raising its temperature by 3-5 C during winter.
The research program has passed expert appraisals, local newspapers reported.
CAS sent scientists from six fields of science to study the meteorology, geography, geology, biology and other natural phenomena in the reservoir area from Chongqing to Yichang city in central China's Hubei Province.
Research shows that with a storage capacity of 39.3 billion cubic metres, the reservoir will submerge 632 square kilometers of land, originally belonging to Chongqing and Hubei Province respectively, causing noticeable changes to the hydrology, chemical properties and sediment of the rivers in the reservoir area.
The reservoir will also make local air more moist and will bring more rain to the area. As a result, the number of games and plants will multiply, according to researchers.
Yu Xiaogan, who led the research program, said wild birds could not find any landing sites in the Three Gorges area in the past due to the rapid flow of this section of the Yangtze River, China's longest.
When completed, the reservoir's wide water surface and warm climate would form a "paradise" for birds. And the reservoir would also store abundant food for fish washed down from local streams and rivers, Yu said.
(China Daily July 10, 2002)