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The Unprecedented Freezing Disaster in January 2008 in Southern China and Its Possible Association with the Global Warming
Author(s): 
Pages: 538-558
Year: Issue:  4
Journal: Acta Meteorologica Sinica

Keyword:  low temperature freezing rain rain and snow storms global warming the southern China2008 freezing disaster;
Abstract: The unprecedented disaster of low temperature and persistent rain, snow, and ice storms, causing widespread freezing in the Yangtze River Basin and southern China in January 2008, is not a local or regional event, but a part of the chain events of large-scale low temperature and snow storms in the same period in Asia. The severity and impacts of the southern China 2008 freezing disaster were the most signif-icant among others. This disastrous event was characterized by three major features: (1) snowfall, freezing rain, and rainfall, the three forms of precipitation, coexisted with freezing rain being the dominant pro-ducer responsible for the disaster; (2) low temperature, rain and snow, and freezing rain exhibited extremely great intensity, with record-breaking measurements observed for eight meteorological variables based on the statistics made by China National Climate Center and the provincial meteorological services in the Yangtze River Basin and southern China; (3) the disastrous weathers persisted for an exceptionally long time period, unrecorded before in the meteorological observation history of China.The southern China 2008 freezing disaster may be resulted from multiple different factors that superim-pose on and interlink with one another at the right time and place. Among them, the La Nina situation is a climate background that provided conducive conditions for the intrusions of cold air into southern China; the persistent anomaly of the atmospheric circulation in Eurasia is the direct cause for a succession of cold air incursions into southern China; and the northward transport of warm and moist airflows from the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea finally warranted the formation of the freezing rain and snow storms and their prolonged dominance in the southern areas of China. A preliminary discussion of a possible association of this disastrous event with the global warming is resented. This event may be viewed as a short-term regional perturbation to the global warming. There is not any possibility for this event to divert the long-term trend and the overall pattern of the global warming.
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