The heaviest and longest snow on record has caused tremendous difficulties in people's lives, but it may help forestation efforts on the southern edge of Takla Makan Desert, China's largest desert.
The snow since mid-January has covered a remarkable area of 750,000 square kilometers in the south of the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Nearly 60 percent of the area has been covered with over 10-centimeter-deep snow until early February.
The snow will help ease the spring drought in the driest area in the country, said Zhang Ximing, researcher with Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Continuous snow around Kunlun mountain, which will increase the amount of melting snow and floods in summer. The flood can be channeled to nourish trees in the southern Takla Makan Desert, said Zhang.
Scientists and residents in south Xinjiang have invented a way to channel the flood in spring and summer from the mountains to nourish Chinese Tamarisks, a kind of deep-rooted tree valued for their adaptability to extreme desert climates, since the 1950s.
In Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, about 300,000 people around the Taklamakan Desert had been affected by the snow and 44,600 livestock had died.
(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2008)