Extreme droughts in China:
Dry conditions occur in China almost every year, but extreme droughts with high intensity, long duration and large extent are far more rare. Based on various meteorological indices, about 5-6 extreme droughts have been observed in various regions of China since the mid-20th century.
These extreme events were strongly favored in their formation, duration and intensity by atmospheric anomalies. The influence of El Niño, the Madden-Julian Oscillation, and the South and East Asian Monsoons has been proven for most of the pronounced drought events in China.
For the last 50 years, no significant trend in the intensity, duration or extent of extreme droughts has been detected. On the basis of global and regional climate models, an increase in intensity is more likely until the end of the 21st century. However, this projection involves high uncertainties and should be considered with caution.
The effects of drought, such as crop failures, economic losses and water shortages, are likely to worsen over the coming decades. In order to adapt effectively, China needs to take far-reaching measures. For this a sustainable optimization of China’s water resource management seems to be absolutely necessary.