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March 28, 2011

Storms over China

In the village of Longbaoshan, northwest of Beijing, the inhabitants are trying to prevent their village from being engulfed by dust caused by ferocious sandstorms. This ecological disaster has shocked the villagers whose crops have failed for five years. Many have abandoned their farms, moving to neighboring villages or cities after selling their livestock. The meteorologist, Hao Yan, points out that the sand moves from northwest China in increasingly thick clouds at a rate of 90,000 tons per year. Some storms are so powerful that they carry over to Korea, Japan and even California. As described by a scientist at the International Institute of Geo-information in the Netherlands, an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to the rise in temperature on the planet. This warming, combined with Chinese agricultural practices, few rainstorms, and violent winds have produced the increasingly intense sandstorms which lead to desertification. China emits a huge amount of greenhouse gases, second only to the U.S. The Chinese government is well aware of the situation which the country's unbridled industrialization has produced. They announced an enormous reforestation plan, called the Great Green Wall of China to prevent desertification. Over eight million dollars will be invested over the next few years, leading up
to the Olympics.

The amount of sand is overwhelming. Villages are being buried under tons of sand. The winds constantly push the sand from Siberia to China, Korea, Japan and eventually the Western United States. One solution being tried is planting trees. They plant "sand cypress" trees to hold the top soil. This has worked in areas but can it hold back the tide? I have to wonder if this is what has happened on Mars.

Released in 2005

Askwith Media Library 46846-D 53 minutes

Posted by mcmike at March 28, 2011 08:59 AM


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