Report On the State
of the Environment In China
Climate and Natural Disasters
General Climate Situation in China
In 2004 (from January to December), the average annual precipitation of the country was a little less than historical average. The annual average temperature was higher than the historical average for the eighth consecutive year. In 2004, most parts of mainland China received abundant sunshine with evenly distributed precipitation. Climactic disasters were less serious than the previous several years, and the climate was normal on the whole. The climatic situation in 2004 was in general
"better than normal level".
Changes in Average Annual Precipitation of China (in millimeter)
Distribution of Precipitation in China in 2004 (in millimeter)
Percentage Gap Distribution of Precipitation to the National Average in 2004 (%)
Temperature Distribution The national annual average temperature in 2004 (from January to December) was 9.6℃, 0.8℃ higher than the historical average. It was also the forth warmest year after 1998, 1999 and 2002 in over 4 decades since 1961. Besides, the annual temperature was higher than the historical average for the 8th consecutive year but with evident stage fluctuations. Some areas were subject to low temperature, freeze damage or snow disasters while South China witnessed continuous high temperature period in midsummer.
Changes of Annual Average Temperature of China (℃)
Percentage Gap Distribution of Annual Average Temperature to the National Average in 2004(%)
Climate Disasters In 2004, China experienced various kinds of climatic disasters such as drought, rainstorm and flood, typhoon, hail, high temperature, snow disaster, low temperature and freeze damage, etc. The climatic disasters were characterized by "various kinds, high frequency, starting early and ending late, widespread and with great influence". Judging from the area of disaster-afflicted farmland, we could see that the main climatic disasters were drought, rainstorm and flood, accounting for 70% of the total affected areas.
【Drought】Eastern part of Inner Mongolia and western part of Northeast China had very little precipitation (snow) from January to the early June in 2004 with total precipitation less than 100 mm, 50% to 80% less than the historical average at the same period. The average regional precipitation was the least since 1951, causing the most severe drought in the region at the same period of the year for the past 50 years. Most parts of South China had seen continuous less precipitation since autumn. The average regional precipitation of some provinces in South China and the regions along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in September and October was as low as 98 mm., the least amount since 1951. At the beginning of November, the drought-afflicted area expanded to almost the entire region of South China and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Among them, some regions such as Guangxi, most of Guangdong, Hainan, southwestern Fujian, southern part of Hunan, eastern part of Hubei, most of Jiangxi, central and southern parts of Jiangsu and Anhui and northern part of Zhejiang were suffering from heavy drought with some areas experiencing very heavy drought.
【Typhoon and Tropical Storm】 There were 8 typhoons or tropical storms landed in China in 2004. The economic loss caused by these typhoons was less than the average level since 1990. However, No. 0414 typhoon of "Yunna" was very strong and hit Zhejiang province destructively. It was the strongest among all those landed in China during the past 8 years since the No. 15 typhoon in 1996.
【Storm and Flood】The city of Beijing was hit by a big storm on July 10th of 2004. The maximum hourly precipitation of Fengtai District was 52 mm, and the 10 min. maximum precipitation reached 23 mm. As a result, water pooled heavily in some road sections, severely paralyzing the city traffic. In the evening of July 12th, a furious storm suddenly hit Shanghai. Although it lasted for less than an hour, the precipitation was 30 mm, and the maximum wind scale reached about 9 to 11. From September 3rd to 6th, storm and heavy storm hit the eastern part of Sichuan, Chongqing and other places. It was the heaviest in the northeastern part of Sichuan in history and also the heaviest regional precipitation for Chongqing Municipality since 1982. From September 7th to 10th, a strong storm swept the coastal areas of central and southern parts of Fujian. Among those affected areas, the total precipitation in Pingtan of Fujian Province during the storm was 420.1 mm, and the 24-hour precipitation reached 250.8 mm, breaking the historical record of heaviest daily precipitation in September since 1951. This strong rainstorm caused such disasters as regional floods and local landslides. On November 9th, a storm seldom seen in late autumn hit Taizhou and Wenzhou cities of Zhejiang Province. The 24-hour precipitation in Wenling amounted to 253.1 mm, setting a new record of maximum daily precipitation in November in Zhejiang.
【Sand Storm】 During the spring of 2004, 15 sand and dust storms occurred in across China, an apparent increase than the same period of the previous year. However, the number of days with sand and dust storms declined compared with the same period in past years.
【Thunderstorm】Regional thunder strikes appeared in China frequently in 2004. According to statistics from July to December of 2004, some provinces such as Zhejiang, Guangdong, Yunnan, Hebei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hubei, Sichuan, Shanxi and Xinjiang reported cases of thunder strikes, causing at least 234 deaths. Among them, 17 were hit by thunder and lightning in Linhai of Zhejiang on June 26th. In another case, when some local residents took shelters from the rain at the Fengfeng coal mines in Handan City of Hebei Province, they were hit by thunder and lighting, causing 5 death and 13 injured.
Earthquake Disasters In 2004, China had experienced 34 earthquakes at or over the scale of Richter 5, five of which were of Richter scale 6 ~ 7 and the remaining 29 were of Richter 5 ~ 6. Mainland China was hit by 22 earthquakes and Taiwan by12 quakes.
Note: item  included the economic losses caused to Guizhou Province of RMB 12.36 million yuan.
Geological Disasters In 2004, a total of 13,555 geological disasters happened in China, 976 of which had caused casualty or economic loss over 500,000 yuan. Those disasters led to overall casualty of 1,407 with 734 dead, 124 missing, 549 injured and the direct economic loss of 4.09 billion yuan RMB. Since disaster prevention and control work during the rain season of 2004 attained evident effects, 723 geological disasters were successfully forecasted across China, avoiding the potential casualty of 47,614 people.
Note: The damage of coastal wave disasters was included in that of the storm surge.
Countermeasures and Actions
【Prevention of Geological Disasters】 The Central Government promulgated the
Regulations on the Prevention and control of Geological Disasters and formulated the
National Plan for Geological Disaster Prevention and Control and the
National Emergency Plan for Unexpected Geological Disaster. It has further improved the meteorological pre-warning work on geological disasters.
Climate and Natural Disasters