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Characteristics of Meteorological Disasters in China

2019-01-24  |   Editor : houxue2018  

Most of China belong to the Asian monsoon climate zone, and the precipitation is affected by the distribution of land and sea, topography and other factors, and the distribution is very uneven among regions, seasons and years. It is one of the few countries with the most typical and the most significant monsoon climate in the world. China has a vast territory and complex topography, which has not only the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as the "Roof of the World", but also a large area of desert and arid and semi-arid areas in Northwest China, the Yangtze River Basin and its southern region are flood-prone areas, which are one of the main "climate vulnerable areas" in the world, natural disasters are frequent, widely distributed with great losses, which are one of the most serious natural disasters in the world(Fig. 6-1).

China is strongly affected by the monsoon climate with frequent meteorological disasters, local or regional drought disasters occur almost every year, on average, about seven Tropical Cyclones Landed in the eastern coastal areas every year.

Meteorological disasters in China have the following characteristics:


There are rainstorm, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, frost, low temperature and other freezing damages, wind and hail, sandstorm and so on.

Wide range

All the year round, there are meteorological disasters in mountains, plains, rivers, lakes, seas and the air.

High frequency

During the 38 years from 1950 to 1988, droughts, floods and typhoons occurred every year in China, with an average of 7.5 droughts, 5.8 floods and 6.9 tropical cyclones landing in China.

Long duration

The same kind of disaster often occurs seasonally and year after year. For example, from 1951 to 1980, there were 14 years of continuous drought in spring and summer or in summer and autumn in North China.

Continuous generation prominence

Some disasters often occur in the same period, severe convective weather, such as thunderstorm, hail, gale and tornado, often occurs in groups from March to May every year.

Significant chain reaction

Weather and climate conditions can often form or cause, aggravate natural disasters such as floods, debris flows and plant diseases and insect pests, and produce a chain reaction.

Serious disasters

The economic losses caused by meteorological disasters account for more than 70% of the total economic losses caused by all natural disasters in China. According to statistics from 1990 to 2004, the economic losses caused by meteorological disasters in China averaged 176.2 billion yuan per year in the past 15 years, of which 30.7 billion yuan was lost in 1998. Each year, about 380 million people are affected by meteorological disasters, resulting in economic losses of about 2%〜6% of GDP, equivalent to 10%〜20% of GDP added value. The average area affected by meteorological disasters is over 49.4 million hm² per year, the affected crops account for 20%〜35% of all crops with about 20 billion kg of grain loss. Meteorological disasters have become one of the important constraints of sustainable economic and social development in China.

Figure 6-1 Comprehensive sketch map of main meteorological disasters distribution in China (1961-2006)

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