China is expected to experience continuous warm weather during the next 50 to 100 years, and the weather in the north will become still drier, posing serious threats to the country's ecosystem and economy, warned a Chinese scientist.
Climate changes in China over the past century reflected the pattern of global warming seen around the world. This trend will continue for the next 50 to 100 years, said Qin Dahe, a leading Chinese glacier researcher and meteorologist.
Qin, also director of the China Meteorological Administration, predicts that the average temperature in China will rise 1.7 degrees centigrade between the years 2020 and 2030, and 2.2 degrees between 2030 and 2050. Northern areas may record warmer weather than the south.
The southern parts of northeast China and north China, a densely-populated area featuring large cities such as Beijing and Tianjin, which is also important as an agricultural center, could experience dry weather during this period, he noted.
This area has been suffering from increasingly dry weather as total rainfall has gradually decreased since the 1950s. The signs of global warming have become more significant since the entire country has undergone 16 consecutive "warm winters" since 1985.
The effects of warm weather on the ecosystem and on the country's economy could be "unbearable, irreversible and persistent," he said at the annual session of the China Association for Science and Technology.
The sea level has kept rising at an average rate of 2.6 millimeters during the past half century in China, making the country's long coastal areas more vulnerable to floods and storms.
The farming industry in this country may see simultaneous increases in investment and output reductions if the bad weather persists.
Excessive emission of greenhouse gases as a result of the burning of fossil fuels was cited as the major cause of global warming, Qin said.
At the recently-concluded Earth Summit, Premier Zhu Rongji announced that China has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement which expresses the commitment and strategies of countries aroundthe world to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases.
As the world's second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, China should adopt the correct policies in the future to encourage the efficient use of energy and the use of clean energy sources in order to reduce emissions from coal burning.
(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2002)